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Aftermath, The (1982)

Aftermath, The (1982)

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Product code: Steve Barkett

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"The Aftermath" (aka Aftermath) (1982) (Steve Barkett)

A small crew of Astronauts returns to Earth after a long radio silent mission in space. The two that survive the crash landing find Los Angeles, and apparently the rest of the world, an apocalyptic wasteland overrun by deranged radiation mutant/zombies and a local gang of merciless raping and murdering bandits (led by Sid Haig). The always interesting Astronauts-return-to-Earth set-up is a classic post-apocalyptic device that never gets old in my book (it was also used a few years later in Paul Donovan's grim, visually rich and intelligent "Def-Con 4" (1985)). Once on Earth, the fun, self-contained hypothetical apocalyptic situation is sustained better than most thanks to a large dose of great matte/miniature optical shots of apocalyptic cityscapes sprinkled throughout the film (courtesy of old school effects wizards Robert Skotak and Jim Danforth). The movie's one-man B-movie auteur, Steve Barkett, (who co-wrote, produced, starred in and directed the film) casts himself the lead, equal parts the solemn explorer with a sad past, the gentlemen knight who rescues the girl, the wise father figure who tutors the boychild, and the heroic vigilante with strong moral integrity (and a wicked dropkick), as the film varies wildly from thoughtful family drama to violent genre exploitation. Barkett's preachy father figure speeches come off as hokey afterschool special paternal endowments and he displays about as much athletic gracefulness and action charisma as a middle-aged Richard Dreyfuss (whom he resembles). Still the film has that late 70ís/early 80ís vintage genre B-movie charm and a certain watchable unpredictable predictableness about it (aside from the mostly awful, standard conventional dreck score, which easily could have lent the proceedings a more interesting feel in places if it had been more experimental), and Barkett himself, in the end, has a certain goofy charm and comes off like a harmless nice guy (even when heís gutting a chicano gang member with an 8-inch blade). Itís a fun afternoon video matinee for post-apocalyptic fanatics and vintage genre cinema fans.

1982 / 95mins. / English Language/ Color / USA

Picture Quality: A (Source: VHS)

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