Hell For Leather: Warriors Of The Dystopian Wasteland

The Maximum Force Of The Future! Refueled and Revised…

MAD AS HELL: Take it to the Max
MAD AS HELL: Take it to the Max

“Where must we go… we who wander this Wasteland in search of our better selves?” – The First History Man. 

Extraordinary. Long before Fury Road (hands down: the best, most enjoyable movie of 2015) but trailing woefully in the skidmarks of The Road Warrior, the wasteland – created by the ravages of armageddon – brought forth a terror quite beyond imagining, revving, racing, screeching and tumbling from your neighbourhood video rental store during the 80s.

Here, in this blighted territory, i.e. a bargain bucket of dodgy old videos, some of the most horrendous post-apoc movies can be found. After the skills and thrills of the original Mad Max movies, how did their imitators manage to turn out so unbelievably crap? It’s nuts.

By definition, nothing should exist in the “wasteland.” It serves merely as a pitiful reminder of humankind’s inept irresponsibility when it comes to the physical environment; the corruption of moral values we (used to) hold most dear. It’s no more than a harsh representation of dreams shattered and hopes crushed. And yet it is a potent symbol destined to feature consistently as the bleak and unforgiving terrain on which dystopian adventures will unfold.

“The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your greed made a desert of it,” as one wise old ape will moan many centuries from now…

THE-NEW-BARBARIANS

“Mad Max is a movie about a post-disaster world, and its success has inspired oodles of disastrously bad films. Witness Grade-Z movies so execrable that you’ll be yearning for a couple of minutes in Thunderdome” – Cyriaque Lamar.  

Holy guacamole. And you thought the end-of the-world was bad! “Post-apocalyptic” truly is a byword for tosh!

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior has a lot to answer for! It inadvertently spawned a whole slew of dire rip-offs, mostly emanating from Italy – the hub of nearly all cheesy sci-fi ever produced. Those of you too young to remember: count yourself the lucky ones.  

What better example to throw in than Il Nuovi Barbari (The New Barbarians) – aka Warriors of The Wasteland (1982), a riotous piece of Italian crap featuring the Templars: a hilarious gang of gay roadsters in souped-up go-karts and dune-buggies (come on, the wasteland is a gas, isn’t it?!) terrorising any pitiful bands of apoc-survivors delirious enough to stray into their “territory.”

Then came The Atlantis Interceptors, aka The Raiders of Atlantis, aka Atlantis Inferno, aka call it what you will – it will always be crap. Someone had the nerve to distribute this fantastic rubbish. Nevertheless, you just could not take my eyes off it. More crazy, contrived vehicles (knives sticking out of the hubcaps, for goodness sake!), shoulder pads and helmets, but this time they came through a portal from another dimension to unleash havoc in a high octane bat-shit frenzy! Radical. 

Amazing to think how – on the other side of Armageddon – people will still rely on four wheels to get by. Not only that, apparently people willingly don American Football gear(!), have mohicans, and engage in other bonkers behaviour simply too ludicrous to elucidate here.

metalstorm-warriors

Mad-Max-Toecutter

“Maximise your madness, and shift into overdrive as we make the world safe for burning rubber” – Sybil Danning.  

Spare a thought for the much-maligned: Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn. This “High Noon at the end of the universe,” starring Jeffrey Byron, Tim Thomerson and Mrs. John Travolta was released in abominable 3-D. At the time, this was exactly the sort of madness worth cramming into my overworked and overheated VCR.

Say what you will about this universally-derided crud, for me it was an intensely enjoyable madhouse. Unlike it’s contemporaries, Metalstorm did not hail from Italy. It was produced by Charles Band, who – during the early 80s – carved out his own unique batch of ultra-cheap shoddy flicks.

Moreover, the vehicles seemed to be more practical armour-plated kubelwagens (with warped engine noises), and – what was more gratifying – there was no shitty American Football gear on show; heck no, these dudes looked like they were destined to duel in the desert. By 1983 standards, Metalstorm (in Standard format, not that tacky 3-D anaglyph version, thanks) is not as awful as most people would have you believe.

Thankfully, 2019: After The Fall Of New York never crossed my sensors. Just as well, sneaking a peak via Youtube now it looks more mediocre than The Atlantis Interceptors (if such an unenviable feat is possible). Still, at least deliberately setting it Stateside meant that the ubiquitous American Football clobber wouldn’t look so incongruous. 

Exterminators-finalfront

“Its in your nature to destroy yourselves” – T-800 Cyberdyne Systems Model 101. 

Extra tail-gating and hub-cap-hurling mayhem was to come via Exterminators Of The Year 3000, an Italian Mad Max rip-off (also from 1983) which, again, had to be rented to be believed. A heavy slab of (grilled) cheese – synonymous with the 80s, for sure. Gingerly rewatching it in the comfort of hindsight, actually, it ain’t half-bad; it grips from the get-go and has an amazing original score by Detto Mariani. 

In conclusion then, rather than contemplate whether we exist only to destroy the land and deplete our resources, we should question whether there is an unwritten law stipulating that these mixed-up denizens of the “wasteland” have to arse about in American Football gear. 

As we speed – indeterminately, (ignorantly?) and inexorably – towards an unknowing future: where must we go?

Wait!

Just had a groovy idea: turn down the volume of the above classic clip and run this grungy track from Amphetamine Reptile Records (below) instead.

Hardcore road-ripper! Pedal to the Metal!

“Dear Future Generations,

Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum” 

Kurt Vonnegut.  

Metalstorm_2_450_311

What a waste…

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5 thoughts on “Hell For Leather: Warriors Of The Dystopian Wasteland

  1. Fantastic post! I love Mad Max 2 soooooo much, and the slew of copycats that I managed to see were fantastic in their awfulness. Do like Tim Thomerson though, “Jack Deth is back, and he’s never even been here before” classic stuff. These posts bring back so much 80’s nostalgia, keep them coming my friend.

    • Thanks again, Bruce!
      I know u love Mad Max 2, that’s why I put up this scene and not something from any of its rip-offs.
      Actually, there r 1 or 2 other Thomerson classics out there I haven’t caught yet, so can assure u that there’s ALWAYS room for more 80s-related stuff in this quadrant of the blogosphere, amigo!
      Cheers!

  2. I can remember the first one of those dirt-cheap Mad Max ripoffs I saw as a kid…I had just bought Phantasm on VHS, only to get it home and find the wrong tape in the box. I don’t remember the name of the movie but it was ultra cheap…what a friend and I would later come to call a “gravel pit flick”. At the time I was unimpressed but as I got older I came to appreciate such films for the pure entertainment that they are…

    • That’s great!
      A friend and I rented Atlantis Interceptors once. Took out th tape @ home only to find th label marked: “Alien” (whatever that was).
      Curious, w watched – it turned out to b something completely different: 1 naked man & 2 naked women doing strange (dirt-cheap?) things to each other – no aliens, no gore, so just took it straight back.
      A “gravel pit flick” wld have sufficed.
      Cheers!

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