(US - 1986)
Directed by Peter Maris. Written by Craig Land. Cast: Deborah Rennard, Garrick Dowhen, Daniel Radell, Frank Garret, Akut Duz, Richard Allen, Bruno Chambon. (Unrated, 87 mins)
We're really diving into the deep cuts of the '80s post-nuke craze if LAND OF DOOM and ROBOT HOLOCAUST have made it to Blu-ray, both courtesy of Scorpion (because physical media is dead). LAND OF DOOM was directed by Peter Maris, who had a somewhat prolific run as a C-list action guy in the late '80s into the early '90s, with video store staples like TERROR SQUAD, VIPER, and DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY. An American production shot in the Cappadocia region of Turkey, LAND OF DOOM gets some mileage out of the location work that lends some effective atmosphere, and it looks like it might've been filmed in some of the same spots as YOR: THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE. Otherwise, it's really just a Nick Nicholson or Henry Strzalkowski away from being a Cirio H. Santiago joint of the period, with the nominal "big" name being Deborah Rennard, then in the middle of a decade-long run as J.R. Ewing's secretary on DALLAS. Rennard, who would go on to be married to CRASH writer/director Paul Haggis from 1997 to 2015, stars as Harmony, a Mad Maxine-type badass fighting to survive in a desolate, dangerous, polluted wasteland ruled by the Raiders, a marauding, plague-infected band of goons led by burn-scarred Slater (Daniel Radell), a bellowing villain who looks like Ric Flair auditioning for Manowar. The fiercely-independent Harmony reluctantly hits the road with Anderson (Garrick Dowhen), who's on the run from the Raiders since he's the one who scarred Slater, and, seemingly immune to the plague, they head in the direction of a reported "safe zone" called Blue Lake.
(US - 1987)
Written and directed by Tim Kincaid. Cast: Norris Culf, Nadine Hart, Joel Von Ornsteiner, Jennifer Delora, Andrew Howarth, Angelika Jager, Michael Downend, Rick Gianisi, George Gray, Nicholas Reiner, Michael Azzolina, John Blaylock, Amy Brentano. (Unrated, 79 mins)
Terrible in an endearing way, the micro-budget post-nuke ROBOT HOLOCAUST makes effective use of basically two locations--the abandoned Brooklyn Navy Yard and some dirt trails on Roosevelt Island--with some cheap Ed French creature effects and sub-porn-level acting. That's oddly appropriate considering that writer/directer Tim Kincaid is better known as gay porn auteur "Joe Gage." As Gage (and "Mac Larson"), Kincaid has been an influential figure in gay porn since the late '70s, but for a few years in the mid-to-late '80s, he gave D-list, straight-to-video horror movies a shot with BREEDERS, MUTANT HUNT, and ROBOT HOLOCAUST, all three ghost-produced by Empire Pictures, apparently using some loose change from the cup holders in Charles Band's car. ROBOT HOLOCAUST looks surprisingly good on Scorpion's new Blu-ray and is even framed at 1:85:1 despite its 1.33:1 home video roots, and if nothing else, Kincaid's intentions seem earnest. Set in an post-apocalyptic NYC now known as "New Terra," the film deals with the after-effects of a robot uprising at the command of The Dark One, who now controls the atmosphere and enslaves humanity in a plot element that sounds suspiciously Cohaagen-esque for any TOTAL RECALL fans. Scientist Jorn (Michael Downend) creates a device that blocks out The Dark One's atmosphere control and is quickly taken prisoner by The Dark One's chief enforcer, a tentacle/Davy Jones-mouthed robot named Torque (Rick Gianisi). Jorn's daughter Deeja (Nadine Hart) assembles a motley crew to venture into the wasteland--South Point Park on Roosevelt Island--with nomadic warrior Neo (Norris Culf) and his robot sidekick Klyton (Joel Von Ornsteiner) on loan from the Rebel Society to lead the group and reclaim control of The Power Station, the stronghold of The Dark One.
|Angelika Jager as Valaria. Somehow, Olympia Dukakis
took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year.