In the wake of the Trump victory, a sign outside an American bookstore read: “Post-apocalyptic fiction has been moved to our Current Affairs section.” Because if you can’t joke about the apocalypse, what’s the world coming to?
Viewers have always been entertained by the end of the world, and the post-nuke movie is one of those subgenres where no matter how “bad” the movie, it’s still fun to watch. Maybe the ideas are third hand, the effects aren’t very special and only cult movie fans have heard of the actors, but whatever their faults, they never fail to be entertaining.
Every picture begins the same way: in the desolate wilderness, a rugged individualist’s attempts to survive bring him into conflict with a small group of survivors, with whom he eventually sides against a cackling, bug-eyed villain. Said villain turns out to be a sadistic psychopath with a penchant for torture (not to mention 80s fashions), and you can probably guess the rest.
For good measure, and because original ideas are as scarce in micro-budget cinema as they are in Hollywood, the filmmakers usually toss in a bunch of ‘homages’ to other hits. Action fans will enjoy Italian director Bruno Mattei’s films, which recreate entire scenes (and borrow footage) from Lethal Weapon, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Predator, among others.
There’s a good reason why you should track down these films – they’re fun. They’re not all “good”, but they do what popcorn cinema’s supposed to – they entertain.