Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Post Nuke 'Bots Kinda Rule In ...

Robot Holocaust
(1986/USA)

‘‘The Dark One has consumed your father’’


The Post Nuke genre has provided great entertainment from many a low budget filmmaking auteur, particularly during the Eighties when the cycle of Mad Max (1979) clones was most prevalent, but with Robot Holocaust something far more devastating than a global disaster brought this to be !.

The opening credits have the traditional serious toned foreboding voiceover, post script the nuclear devastation, and telling of the age of the Mechanoids and the great robot rebellion of 2033. Earth is now known as New Terra, after the robots turned on their masters. The planet is governed by an unseen being known as The Dark One. This all powerful entity rules by enslaving the surviving human race by controlling the planets oxygen. His source is a structure known as the power station. Here the mighty mechanical machinery siphons the atmosphere and The Dark One’s robotic minions, aided by the still human supreme bitch Valaria, in order to rule over the populace. The enslaved people are known as Air Slaves, as they are kept in order by The Dark One’s constant threat of any and all being intoxicated by air restriction, and lethal exposure to New Terra’s true toxic environment.


From the ashes of the destruction, and from out of the wastelands comes Neo, a new champion of the people and a nemesis to The Dark One. Oh dear lord, if only the premise could deliver !. In all honesty the best, and truly only way to derive any pleasure from this shot in a few days, on the budget of the revenue from a car boot sale, is to buy into the fact that this is trying it’s best to actually pay homage to the Italian Post Nuke movies of the Eighties, ironically putting a spin on the fact that the European market at that time was of course cashing in on the far bigger budgeted Hollywood movies.

Any true lover of the Italian futuristic Sci-Fi, after the bomb type delights such as 2019: After The Fall Of New York (1983), The Bronx Warriors (1982), Bronx Warriors II: Escape From The Bronx (1983) and The New Barbarians (1982), will be able to recognise many elements of plagiarism. Mutant gangs and characters, along with costume and defiant swagger are noticeable, but truly only if you are an aficionado of the genre, anyone else is going to wonder what the heck is this dreck !. And to be fair, that would perfectly sum it all up.


For a general audience, without the benefit of having glorified in the delights of Post Nuke goodness Robot Holocaust is like a puerile futuristic variation of The Wizard Of Oz (1939) . Certainly the overall experience is a brainless mess, the movie lacks any real heart and it surely took all the courage of those involved on screen to ever show their faces at the screen actors guild again !. Up on the celluloid though is Nero, who along with his humanoid robot companion Klyton, unites with various futuristic misfits, including a barbarian she wolf Amazonian, a Tarzan look alike and a scientists daughter with the ability to breathe both pure and contaminated air unaided.

The band of misfits come together during Neo’s trek to the power station, and not with the purpose of seeking out Robert Palmer to sign him up for a record label deal with a couple of disenchanted members of Duran Duran at that time, as Neo and new metallic tag along buddy Kryton seek to bring down The Dark One !.


It is genuinely laugh out loud hysterical clearly recognising that the journey undertaken is through Central Park in Manhattan, New York. There isn’t really any great attempt to disguise this fact, but it is stupefying brilliant that director Tim Kincaid still rallies proceedings along with interjected action silliness, and designer disaster characters to at least create the illusion of delivering entertainment.

Inferred bog creatures, and pool creatures in the Central Park scenic ponds is creative only to the degree that the camera is kept low level to hide the obvious fact of where they are actually filming. Shooting at a restricted degree at these times is often through conveniently placed reeds and plants to create the illusion of futuristic foliage. At times it most definitely is cringe worthy stuff, but gorilla film making at its most desperate for sure.


There are a few Fun moments to be had, one of which is the scene in which Neo and followers first enter the underground tract in order to gain undetected access into the realm of The Dark One, in order to storm the power station. Here they are beset by sewage worms, bloodthirsty oversized blind slither critters that dwell within the walls of the sewer. Okay so they’re hand puppets, but use your imagination and role with it for cripes sake.


The overall tone and colour of the under ground segments show the movie in its best light, now let’s not get too excited, we are not talking Mario Bava here, but clearly the Roger Corman school of lighting, set decoration, and good use of what is naturally at hand, is to be fair, put to good use. Look out for an inferred big spider creature effect as the scientists daughter is ensnared within a web, only to be teasingly pawed by an off screen beastie shyly reaching out to our maiden in distress with a briefly seen wobbly hairy leg with a clawed foot !, The Giant Claw (1957) should be considered an Oscar winning feature on the back of this display !.


Robot Holocaust, likely to cash in on its piggy back European veneer, even carries the title of, I Robot Conquistano Il Mondo, cleverly slipping out onto Eighties VHS no doubt to return a modest sum very much in line with the Italian faux film Xeroxed clones of the time. Due accolade to the film makers on that score, exporting American garbage cleverly packaged back to Italy as if produced in Europe, but overall Robot Holocaust is without doubt a Post ApoCRAPalyptic disaster.


If you truly need to experience then seek it out on the MGM HD channel, as it at least cleans up very nicely, and those underground scenes do look fresh and vibrant in colour and hue with a high definition enhancement. The movie also runs out at sub eighty minutes. Be sure to disengage brain, and imbue yourself with plenty of to hand cold brews if deciding to still pursue the Post Nuke abomination that is Robot Holocaust.


Movie Rating: 3/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source The MGM HD Movie Channel

Robot Holocaust (1986)

Director Tim Kincaid
With Norris Culf, Nadine Hartstein,
J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner, Jennifer Delora,
Andrew Howarth, Angelika Jager,
Michael Downend & Rick Gianasi

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