The Post-Apocalyptic genre has brought forth some of the best and worst movies around. The various flicks can be found mostly in your now all too rare video store's Sci-Fi section, some of the worse ones in the "midnight movies" section if your local place has one of those. Below you'll find the videos that I (and most of the people in my gaming group) have seen. I have most of them in my own collection. Gotta do your research, right?
If you actually want to try to find some of these flicks, check your local video store first (if there's one in your area at all). Why go online when you can support your local economy, eh? Rent first, and if (and only if!) you want to buy but they don't have it for sale, you can always ask if they'll sell you the used rental copy. They might do it if the movie doesn't rent well .... and believe me, some of these don't because they're out-and-out cheese fests. If you can't find it there, try Amazon.com for used movies. People do sell used videos there for a decent price. As a last resort, maybe try eBay.
You'll find a brief synopsis of the varioius movies in my collection, with some additional commentary on how they could be used in post-apocalyptic wargaming and modelling. FYI: I will not be held responsible for lost hours of your life watching a movie that you thought was bad. You have been warned, so don't email me about this!
2020 Texas Gladiators
During the first 10 minutes of the film, five mangy looking guys take on a bunch of psycho raiders. After they brutally massacre them, the leader (Peter Hooten of "Dr. Strange" infamy) says "Let's make sure no one's left alive!"... and you think "What a bunch of FREAKIN' ANIMALS!" and that pretty much defines the quality level of the movie.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Not much, but you could take a look at the locations such as the saloon and costuming for paint schemes. One bike ganger gets killed three times in the flick, so feel free to use 3 of the same model in your gang painted slightly differently.
My buddy Von introduced me to this one. A post-nuke battle-of-the-sexes flick that doesn't take itself too seriously, it's a campy "B" movie that's actually quite fun. They really need to release this one on DVD. Anybody out there listening?
Gaming/Modelling ideas: For the campaign that takes place in the far-flung and extremely decayed future, this one offers some good ideas on creating your own little post-nuke village and other locations. The gate is kinda cool, as is the air raid siren crow's nest.
Yes, it's the kiddie show from the 70's. The "let's not hurt anyone out here in the screwed-up wasteland" one. That monkey got on my nerves, but at least the girl was cute.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: I actually modelled the Ark II, and the group took it out during a game called "The Fall of Pax" (see Planet Earth entry). Blew the crap out of it. The mutants ate the monkey after the battle. Indeed, very entertaining.
A lot of people rag on this movie. It is indeed a post-plague martial arts flick, but I've seen worse. A lot worse. Trust me on this one. I didn't feel my time was wasted.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: The overall decayed look of everything was great. The set design / backgrounds give the modeller and gamer plenty of textures and effects to try to emulate. Rust, old wood, you name it. The villain's gang is a great example of making a main character really stand out - i.e. Fender's chainmail hauberk (see photo) left while having the rest of the gang members become, in effect, a "background" for him to stand out against while looking nasty themselves.
This movie has nothing to do with Zelazny's story! REPEAT! This has nothing to do with Zelazny's story! Killer Cockroaches maybe, BUT NOT ZELAZNY'S STORY!
Gaming/Modelling ideas: The Landmaster is one cool vehicle, worthy of a modelling attempt. It's the classic tale of going from point A to point B in a post-holocaust survival context, a basis for many an extended campaign. Just don't put in any killer cockroaches. Please?
A really down-n-dirty, gritty, nasty post-nuke horror. Definitely not for the kiddies.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Wanna have a great reference for creating your own post-apocalyptic village? Then GET THIS MOVIE. Wow...their "town" is layed out like a rat warren, built out of piece of old junk and crap, filled with dirty smelly serfs and psychotic rulers that make Machiavelli look like an saint. Very useful in terms of set/game design.
This movie really pissed me off. They put a picture of some plate-armored mutant knight and ruined statue of liberty on the cover to make the movie look all gritty and nasty. Not in the movie. None of it. This is a grade B-minus "I need money" movie for Lance Henriksen (the synthetic in "aliens"). Sherilyn Fenn is too good looking to be in this flick. And the knight? I guess he's Sir Not Appearing In This Film.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: The only thing that might be useful from this flick is the treatment given to the psionic powers of some of the characters. For example someone who could "feel" where they are would make a great tracker, so it's not totally without merit. I wouldn't be shelling out any hard-earned cash for this one though. A "rental" at best.
Escape From New York
The John Carpenter classic. A definite must-see. Escape From LA wasn't as good as the original, even though Bruce Campbell was in it.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: What's not to like? It's got great sets to emulate, interesting characters that look like hell, and an idea that might make a great game - the rescue of an important prisoner with ruthless enemies everywhere. A masterpiece of the genre.
Exterminators of the Year 3000
"One of an endless succession of cheap Road-Warrior knock-offs" would be the best description of this one.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: You gotta be kidding, right? No, seriously, it really is that cheesy. The only thing I though was cool about this one is having the female character named "Trash". Other than that, this one's a definite ker-flush.
After the Fall of New York
Every woman is sterile except one. And two armed groups want her. Uh, yeah. The only bright spot in this one was Anna Kanakis. Guess she's sterile too. Darn shame.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: None that you can't get somewhere else and better.
Ghosts of Mars
More of a straight-up sci fi flick. I thought it wasn't bad, not bad at all. Lotsa action and the girls were cute, so what the hell.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: The set design was pretty good. Lots of industrial-looking pipes and coduits everywhere. Cheap pre-fab buildings alongside hastily-poured concrete blockhouses. Might make a good design to emulate some far-flung outpost of what passes for civilization after the collapse. Wanna make a mutant horde? This would be a good place to start looking for ideas and paint schemes.
Land of Doom
I think the picture of the main villain to the left speaks for itself.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Zip, zilch, nada. The one good battle scene it has doesn't even come close to outweighing the endless carnage and rape scenes at the beginning of the movie. Y'know, I really felt sorry for the stuntwomen who were in this flick. This puts it far out of the realm of any game and/or art for public consumption. Even private consumption. The rest of it is just boring. Bleeeaaahhh....
An interesting, well made, and thought-provoking movie set in a futuristic city where nobody is allowed to age past thirty. Another classic of the genre.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: So you have a high-tech city full of people who survived the cataclysm, cut off from what's "out there" for years, even generations. What if they start exploring? What if the denizens of the "outside" start infiltrating? This movie will give you plenty in the way of settings and scenario ideas. The ruins of [text deleted due to spoiler] are just incredible in the movie.
Mad Max / Road Warrior / Thunderdome
THE definitive, class-A movies that set the tone for the genre. They're the movies that started it all. The hard-edged, innovative filmaking in Mad Max and The Road Warrior burst onto the scene and basically opened up a whole new genre of film. Thunderdome was more "big budget hollywood" than the first two, but it successfully continued the tale of the lone wolf Max Rocketansky and his adventures after everything went to hell. From Mad Max to Road Warrior to Thunderdome, you get to see the lessening of the grip of civilization and technology on the world and it's people. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this series of films gets the highest possible accolades.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Indispensible. The whole look of all the movies is gritty and hard-edged. This series is a gigantic reference of textures, oddball design, slap-together construction, idiosycratic vehicles, interestingly strange characters, villains, home-made armor, ragged costuming, man's inhumanity to man and creativity in a crisis.
Night of the Comet
The Omega Man
"Here's your medicine you DAMN DIRTY APES!!"
Post-Apocalyptic action, Charlton Heston style! He's the only normal human left alive, the rest have been turned into anti-technological psychotics by a biological plague. And as a Scientist and military man, he's their favorite target. The cat-and-mouse game turns ugly several times throughout the movie. Classic of the genre.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: How's this for a game? The player gets only ONE character - Neville. The other player gets twenty or thirty of "The Family". The setting is a town-type setup in scale. He gets guns and bombs galore, they get numbers. Who will win?
This is the movie that inspired " The Fall of Pax" game . It's an old Gene Roddenberry property featuring the adventures of an "away team" of a liberal utopia called Pax, which is rather inconvenietly situated in a post-apocalyptic earth. Gene's fans will recognize some things that would be used in later works, such as the skull-ridged "kreegs". The rather militaristic looking gentleman to the left is a kreeg, presented side-by-side with a "new" Klingon from Star Trek the Motion Picture. Andromeda fans will easily recognize the names Dylan Hunt and Harper Smythe, both of whom were floating around in Gene's brain years earlier.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Well, for one, "the confederacy" (chuckle, chuckle) is a bunch of amazons who enslave men and live in post-apocalyptic village style. I've modelled the kreegs themselves in 25mm, as well as their rather slapped-together looking vehicles. Not bad, modelling wise, for a 70's pilot that didn't take off. Flicks available here: Planet Earth Genesis II.
Raiders of the Sun
This one was purchased at the grocery store for $1.99. What happened was Roger Corman bought the rights for Wheels of Fire (see reference below), and just like he did with Battle Beyond the Stars, he used a bunch of footage from Wheels, shot some different scenes, re-mixed it, and Bang! a new movie on the cheap. It does have some sort of appeal, though I can't quite put my finger on exactly what. See pic to the left.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Well, not much really. The leader of the "Hogs Head" gang actually wears a stuffed boar head on his own, so this might be a humorous addition to some gang somewhere.
The classic right-wing survivalist nightmare scenario. The Russians invade the U.S., and it's up to our brave high school teens to defend Freedom, Democracy and Lea Thompson.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Well, if the studios can make a decent go of converting and scratchbuilding Soviet vehicles and weapons, who says you can't? If you're running a campaign built on the premise of Soviet invasion, this is the one for you. The overall dirty and ragged look of the the teen guerillas is well worth emulating in miniature or CGI.
Pure Shite, this one is on my list of the worst 5 movies of all time. Yet I still laugh out loud watching it because it's so bad. See pic at left as to what to expect.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Wanna get really screwball stupid in your game or in your art? Boy, you'll get plenty of inspiration here! From the mummy-wrapped mutants, to the overly-made-up amazon hottie girls, to the wacko scientist to the militaristic Norks (or is that Dorks?), this one is grade B all the way, baby.
If you haven't already seen this, I won't explain it to you. You should not be on this page.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Everything is nuked-out and completely destroyed. Things we'd see in everyday life (such as playground equipment) is turned into a charred and ruined caricature of itself. Chromed death machines stalk the landscape. Great source material if you want to model ruins. A miniatures compay called Leading Edge (now defunct) made models of terminator endoskeletons back in the 90's. If you want to run a "Judgment Day" type of scenario, you may want to look around for these, possibly on eBay. Might be kinda fun to play this kind of heavy combat game.
Thundarr the Barbarian
Forget that Ark II nonsense, this is the fun, safe way to introduce your kids to the post-apocalyptic genre. Now available on DVD HERE .
Gaming/Modelling ideas: The world of Thundarr is a really off-the-wall and over-the top comic book type of ruined earth. A lot like the RIFTS role playing game. So if this is the style you want, look around for this animated classic. Check out the gallery, there's a picture of the three main characters that were converted from other miniatures (on the cheap, of course).
The Ultimate Warrior
If Heston could do it, why not Yul Brynner? I always wondered while I was watching: Why does't anybody have any guns? It's not like it's set 200 years "after" or anything.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Actually quite a bit here. Enclaves consist of several buildings in seperate parts of the city. The buildings themselves are like towers, with piles of junk filling the streets for walls. The villian finds a rather ingenius way of climbing the tower wall to get at the treasure - plants that actually grow. The merry chase continues underground through the sewers and subway system - a great setting for a trap-setting chase story or game.
V - The Miniseries, The Final Battle
Alien nazis invade earth to steal it's resources and eat its people.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: If you want to run an alien invasion type scenario where the humans actually have some sort of chance in combat, why not something like this? Plus the uniforms were really snappy.
Warlords of the 21st Century
Militaristic warlord uses his battle truck to terrorize the local villages after the Gas Wars.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: For post-apocalyptic modelling ideas, this is one of my favorites. Let's take set design first: the village and the hero's cabin looked very home-made and slapped together, yet functional for the intended purpose. It was like they hired a bunch of survivalists to get together and build their sets from whatever they could scrounge up. The costuming was superior also. Most of the stuff the peasants wore looked like it was home-spun. Only the warlord wore something half-way decent looking, in a military-surplus kind of way. A definite must see for reference.
Wheels of Fire
This one's another one of those road warrior knock-offs, but has a bit of merit for the gamer or modeller.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Well for one, this movie features an actual post-apocalyptic battle between an army (with real units!) of scumbags vs an army of good guys. So there's a real war going on here. The best actor in the movie is the villain, so if you're into roleplaying, you might get some "attitude" from his character. It also features some interesting characters (in concept) that could be done better by someone else. The vehicles weren't too bad either. Liked the flamethrower. A lot.
The review at "the agony booth" online started out with "everybody who worked on this movie must've been on drugs". This is Connery's "I need money" and "I don't wanna be typecast as Bond anymore" movies rolled into one. Really surreal. Read the agony booth review here and save yourself some money. It's long but worth it.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: So, what if, after the collapse, a bunch of people got together to form a community, but they were really ultra new-agey. Or if those folks were all a bunch of people with psionic powers. This movie might be what would happen. Like "The Fall of Pax", I will eventually probably run a game based on this turkey sending every dirtbag in the wasteland roaring through the place gutting it. Yeah, it's that annoying.
Warriors of the Wasteland (aka the New Barbarians)
Cheap Road Warrior knock-off. A spaghetti-road-warrior so to speak. Anna Kanakis was in this one also, and she's pretty much the only thing worth watching. Fred Williamson's pretty good too. Cool actor and character that deserves a better movie.
Gaming/Modelling ideas: Look elsewhere. This is one of the few post-nuke flicks where the vehicles just looked stupid. And they go really slow.
Hey, wait just a minute here... this is supposed to be a post-apocalyptic movie forum... how'd this get in here? This is Michael Crichton's "techno theme park gone bad" flick from the 70's. So I'm sitting there, watching Jurassic Park, wondering when Yul Brynner was going to show up shooting up the place....
Gaming/Modelling ideas: So you've got a bunch of old west buildings and figs that you don't know what to do with. Why not run a post-apocalyptic game with 'em! The premise is that the Delos resort survived whatever put the whammy on the world. The computer went AI, and lives out it's "life" through the androids in the theme park. And then along comes this party of post-apocalyptic adventurers, and before they can say "what the hell".....
C'mon folks, think outside the tube!