The Atomic Dust Bin: 10 Post-Apocalyptic Films You Never Heard Of: Part 1

Courtesy of the Italian and Philippine film industries creating a post-apocalyptic cottage industry — the ‘80s pasta-apocalypse — with their seemingly endless replications of the futuristic-western visions of George Miller’s Mad Max and John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, along with Charlton Heston’s The Omega Man and Soylent Green initiating a post-apoc boom in the ‘70s, there’s enough movies to keep us busy until, well, the real apocalypse arrives.

So, in B&S Movies’ quest to chronicle all of those “futures” for future generations, here’s our first part of 10 quick reviews of the flotsam and jetsam collected in our atomic dustbin.

The Collapsed (2011) aka Crazy World

In this mediocre, low-budget Canadian entry with Asylum Studio-like vibes, it’s the first day after our present-day end, with the usual, violent societal breakdown caused by an “undetermined event.” A family escapes the city, only to become woodland stalking victims. Trailer

Dikiy Vostok (1993) aka The Wild East

This excellent Russian/Kazakhstan-produced film concerns a group of circus dwarves and performers who set up a peaceful village in the post-new world, only to be besieged by bandits; they hire a gang of eclectic gunfighters to protect them in this interesting take on The Seven Samurai. Full Movie/Eng Sub

Driving Force (1989)

This low-budget-too-late Filipino Mad Max replication slop (killed by too much talky-drama) set in our not-too-far-ahead present day concerns rival breaker (tow truck) companies — the Black Knights and the Destroyers — battling on the “future” lawless roads for salvage rights. A lone breaker driver (instead of a police Interceptor), Sam Jones (Flash Gordon), protects “industrialist” Catherine Bach (TV’s The Dukes of Hazzard) and stands against the brother of Patrick Swayze, Don, a slobbering maniac who drives people off the road and salvages their cars. If you want to see Mad Max as an unemployed single dad with an annoying kid and battling her grandparents for custody — yes, ripped off from Stallone’s Over the Top — then this is your movie. Full Movie

Ever Since the World Ended (2001)

This intriguing, low-budget mockumentary — refreshingly devoid of Mad Max dressings, Armageddon hysterics, and zombie goo — is set twelve years after the plague; a filmmaker documents the physical and psychological effects experienced by San Francisco’s 186 survivors. They’re just regular, non-tech folk — no warriors, no saviors, or crazies — coping in a now silent world. Trailer

Hunting Grounds (2008) aka Zombie Hunters

This not-awful-just-mediocre award-winning canux flick has a few unique touches — killed by an Asylum Studios’ zombie vibe. After an “ecological collapse,” nature is banned for human enjoyment, with Québécois (and other cities) confined to “sealed cities.” Bored with virtual reality hunting for sport, a group of hunters break out for a real hunt. They soon discover a military-created zombie outbreak in the environs — and a nasty cyborg-zombie in a battle exo-skelton. Trailer

The Killing Edge (1984)

Another apocalypse — this one set in the present-day UK (rumored to have been shot-on-video in 1984 but not released on home video until 1988) — reminds of the later The Survivalist and Survival Zone, but it’s actually all non-action talk of the Survival 1990 variety set in the low-budget woods. When a run-of-the-mill family man hoofs home in the first days after a nuclear war, he finds his wife and child — soon murdered — in the clutches of rogue army unit, The Terminators (yuk-yuk, don’t sue, Mr. Cameron); he sets out for spaghetti western revenge. (We’ve reviewed another of director Lindsay Shonteff’s mid-’80s shot-on-video junkfests, the giallo hopeful known as Lipstick and Blood. We’ve since done a more, complete overview of ol’ Lind’s career — including review links ‘o plenty to the Shonteff canons — within our review of the robbery-gone-bad tedium that is The Fast Kill.) Trailer

Lunar Cop (1995) aka Solar Force

Boaz Davidson (The Last American Virgin) directs Michael Pare (Eddie and the Cruisers) in a $4 million-produced script written by Michael’s brother, Terrance. Michael is a “moon cop” sent down to battle the Earth’s road warrior hoards — led by requisite screen baddy, Billy Drago (Invasion USA) — and stop the production of a deadly serum that will kill mankind. A pedestrian romp that couldn’t call itself Omega Cop, as that title was already taken to chronicle the karate apocalypse. Trailer

Terminus (1987)

Iconic French-Euro musician Johnny Hallyday jumps into the Mad Max battle tanker, along with Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Jurgen Prochnow (Das Boot; the German apoc’er Operation Ganymed), in France’s very entertaining, big-budget knockoff of Death Race 2000 — and reminds one of that picture’s later, 2008 reboot. A genetically-engineered child genius creates a post-apocalyptic European sport where a driver of a 2001-Hal computerized truck must race across the country to an established terminus (the end of a railroad or other transportation route) and not be stopped by other vehicles. Trailer

The Trigger Effect (1996)

This directing debut for screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds), with an assist from Kyle MacLachlan, Dermot Mulroney and Elisabeth Shue, is pleasantly devoid of the usual, major studio Armageddon hysterics. In a not-awful-just mediocre world that leans heavily on the “love triangle” aspects of 1958’s The World, The Flesh, and the Devil (but the press indicates this is an expanded version of the 1959 Twilight Zone episode, “The Monsters Are Due”), the trio deals with a mysterious power grid failure that plunges the world into an apoc-darkness that “triggers” anarchy. Trailer

Unknown Beyond (2001) aka Maelstrom Il Figlio dell’attrove

This pretty cool Italian homage to Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond is set in a Lovecraftian apocalypse where the invading The Old Ones — instead of a boring bomb drop or seen-before plague-infected zombies and road warriors — return to Earth and force man underground. Instead of the usual quest for gas, water, and the need to make babies, the survivors search for an ancient grimoire to restore order. Trailer

Be sure to check out B&S Movies’ past “More/Even More Fucked Up Futures,” “10 End of the World Movies We Love,” and “Ten Post-Apocalyptic Vehicles” tribute weeks for more expansive reviews on your favorite post-apocalypse films.

Here’s the list from our September 2019 rally of post-apocalyptic film reviews:

Oh, we’re not done yet,  you uranium-scorched apoc-rat! There’s 10 more apoc-films you never heard of, along with a full list of the remaining films we reviewed for our September Apoc-Month, with “The Atomic Dust Bin: 10 Post-Apocalyptic Films You Never Heard Of: Part 2.”

˟ Reviews by R.D Francis

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.