Badlands 2005: The Brides of Lizard Gulch (1988)

This unsold TV pilot — made in 1988 for ABC — tried to take advantage of the boom in all things post-apocalyptic. It was even shot in some of the same places that Max Rockatansky race across, like Bourke-Wilcannia Road, Broken Hills and The Barrier Highway in New South Wales, Australia. And directing it? George Miller.

No, not that George Miller.

The George Miller that directed The Man From Snowy River and The Journey to the Center of the Earth TV mini-series.

That said, this movie also features Hugh Keays-Byrne, who was Toecutter in Mad Max and would one day become Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s also got Gus Mercurio (he was in plenty of Australian films like Harlequin and Turkey Shoot), Justin Monjo (who was in the post-apocalyptic The Blood of Heroes), Debra Engle (who played Blanche’s daughter Rebecca on Golden Girls), Caitlin O’Heaney (He Knows You’re Alone) and even Sharon Stone in an early role.

It goes so far to be a Mad Max-style film that they used stunt coordinator Glen Boswell (The Road WarriorRazorback, Mad Max Beyond ThunderdomeDead End Drive-In). A lot of the crew — art director Rob Robinson and assistant directors Tony Wellington and Nikki Long — also worked on the end times film Sons of Steel.

It’s all about the aftermath of a severe drought that has pushed America away from the west and made water the most precious resource there is. As settlers move back into the destroyed cities, U.S. Marshalls like Garson MacBeth (Lewis Smith, Perfect Tommy from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai) and his cyborg partner, Rex (Miguel Ferrer, who a year earlier had helped build RoboCop) are there to protect them.

Sure, it’s kind of silly, but I loved the idea of MacBeth being obsessed with the idea of the west that he only knows from old movies and TV shows. And any post-apocalyptic movie that ends with Miguel Ferrer becoming a T-800 style robot and unleashing a barrage of bullets is something that I’m totally going to enjoy. Oh yeah — and it’s written by Rueben Leder, who also wrote A*P*E*!

You can watch this on YouTube.

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