Writer/producer/director/lead actor Steve Barkett only would create one other movie — 1990’s Empire of the Dark, in which a private detective battles a Satanic cult, monsters and ninjas — but he lent his auteur spirit to this post-apocalyptic bit of strangeness.
Barkett was such an artist that while he originally filmed this in 1978, he wasn’t happy and re-shot most of the footage with different actors.
Just like Def Con 4 — or more to the point Planet of the Apes, as the film was shot in many of the same locations — Newman (Barkett) watches the world end from space and comes back to try and survive in the end times. Of course, he does that by undergoing a montage where he tidies up a mansion, so you’ll have that. Incidentally, that mansion belonged to Ted V. Mikels. It was literally the castle that he referred to when he kept a harem of women he called his “Castle Girls.”
Newman looks like every stepfather in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the kind of guy that takes you fishing even though you don’t really want to go and says stuff like, “I really care about your mother” and “You don’t have to call me dad, unless you want to” while at nights you ball your fists up and sob hot, wet tears while he and your beloved mother act out the next ten pages in Dr. Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex.
Yeah, Newman is no Snake Plissken. Or Max Rocktansky. Or even Paco Queruak. He is our bastard step-fathers of old.
Stop motion animator Jim Danforth plays a fellow astronaut and Forrest J. Ackerman — wearing the prop rings from Universal’s The Mummy and Dracula — shows up as a museum curator dying from radiation (he even plays Newman a tape with Dick Miller’s voice on it). And Sarah is played by Lynn Margulies. You may recognize her for her romantic involvement with comedian Andy Kaufman. However, the real star of the show is Sid Haig, who plays Cutter, the leader of a gang of cannibalistic mutants who kill all the men and children, only keeping the wives. All of the meanness and brutality of this whole sordid mess can directly be traced back to Cutter. For some reason, our hero is so stupid that he allows Cutter to escape — so Cutter can come back and kill everyone to get back at Newman.
Oh, and there’s also a laser gun that gets made in this movie and we’re just supposed to say, “Yeah, lasers exist.”
If you read our Section 3 video nasties article, you already know that this film was seized and confiscated, but not prosecuted for obscenity. And did former fill-in Duke boy Chip Mayer remake all this — with Richard Moll in the Sid Haig role — as Survivor in 1987? Yeah, pretty much. And if this all wasn’t weird enough: Aftermath was co-written by Stanley Livingston — Chip Douglas from My Three Sons — who also played Jeff in Paul Bartel’s astounding Private Parts, Russ in Smokey and the Hotwire Gang, and, somehow, ended up as a sidekick to Dolph Lundgren in Masters of the Universe, so as to diddle with the “cosmic key.”