Boy, if we have learned anything from cinema
in the 1980s its that when the shit hits the fan, when someone
brings the nuclear assault on our sorry asses, whatever is left
will look like rural Australia or Turkey, you have to modify your
automobile/motorcycle/semi-truck/helicopter/bicycle to a fucked
up version of its once normal self and your ass will forever be
on the run from the guys who somehow survived in the basement
of the leather bar. "What were you doing during the Apocalypse?"
"Oh, I was getting anally schupped at Tyrone's on
the Waterfront, and you?" It really started in 1979 when
some unknown named Mel Gibson stepped onto the screen as Max Rockatansky.
Max was "mad" because some of these faggoty leather
dudes offed his family. We've all seen it, it's a
classic and of course, it spawned a couple sequels and there's
still talk of a third. But along with the sequels there's
a list of rip-offs, inspired bys and homages as long as your leg.
LAND OF DOOM (LOD) is one of those, more akin in story to MAD
MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR than the original LOD aka THE LAST WARRIOR
WOMAN puts a female in the lead role even though she is flanked
by a Max-type leading man.
LOD begins with a rampage on a village in a remote desert. The
raiders are bedecked in the required amount of leather, their
rice-burning bikes adorned with what seems to be ornamental iron
shields and such, which seem to flap in the breeze like spray
painted cardboard. The raiders have a single notion, kill the
men and fuck the women. And they do. Most of LOD's budget you
will find was spent on this opening sequence, things explode,
there is a healthy number of extras, from rape victims to murderous
pillagers and it all just kind of works. We get our first glimpse
of our heroine, Harmony, as she hides and watches things play
out in her village. When it all finally calms down she makes haste
to leave the village, of course she is spotted and has to take
a couple guys out with her crossbow. She escapes into the night.
When she decides to bed down in a deserted cave type space, she
happens upon a man with a nasty wounded leg. He offers her quarter
and they share a little beef jerky--no, not that kind. Anderson,
who lacks the rugged looks of Mel Gibson, comes off as a likeable
guy upon Harmony's initial meeting, but she makes it clear that
she ain't down with men, all the ones she knows just take what
they want from women. Anderson pulls his handy sawed-off from
its thigh holster and blows a snake off the wall behind Harmony's
head--hmmm, maybe the Anderson is a different kind of man?
The next morning, Anderson explains to Harmony his plight, it
seems since the Apocalypse Anderson has worked to have a democratic
type society were folks work together for the betterment of civilization.
Of course some dickhead named Slater prefers his post apocalyptic
lifestyle to be ripe with the raping and pillaging, Anderson has
somehow screwed up Slater's face, he wear a half-mask and
some sort of bionic style arm as well. He also looks like he might
weight 150 lbs dripping wet with rocks in his pocket, has a rather
poofy head of reverse skunk style hair, and minces about rather
gaily while spewing orders at the leather clad set of S&M
flunky followers. But let's not let that get in the way
of our "drama" between our two leading men. Harmony
doesn't care about any of this shit and decides to head
out on her own, she don't need no stinking, injured man
to slow, her down. Finally after pausing for a couple beats at
the doorway, she gives in and the couple on their way to magical
place Anderson has heard about were everything is peachy keen.
But to get there they will have to hike across mountains and they
don't have any food or water, but hey, they'll get
there, after all they both have great hair.
Who are this pair on finely couiffed, post-apocalyptic peaceniks.
Harmony is captured in all her early 80s grandeur by actress Debbie
Rennard. A quick check of Debbie's career will shed some
light on why she is so good at hating men, wearing a headband
and using a crossbow. Well, Debbie was a DALLAS (you know Who
shot J.R.?) regular doing hard time as the bitchy cumstress Sly
Lovegren. No doubt seasons of peeling Larry Hagman's drunkened
mitts from her round ass gave her the tools necessary to handle
the anti-man swagger of Harmony without too much introspection.
Debbie is also known for her role in Mr. Van Damme's A.W.O.L
aka LOINHEART, where she is the lady in charge of an underground
prize-fighting set-up. Debbie is also married to Paul Haggis,
a name familiar to TV watcher folk as the director behind the
late 80s hit THIRTYSOMETHING.
Garrick Dowhen, LOD's Anderson, well his career hasn't
featured any plumb roles. After a couple lines in Ed Moinaro's
JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (which fetured Kristy McNichol as a flutist
with a gimp leg) he landed LAND OF DOOM. After LOD, his big vehicle
was the mini-series CROSSING, based on the Danielle Steel novel.
It had Dowhen pounding the boards with the likes of Jane Seymour
and Cheryl Ladd. Maybe that was enough to have him die a happy
man because short of a small part in the abysmal APPOINTMENT WITH
FEAR directed by Alan Smithee. Who is Alan Smithee you might ask?
Alan Smithee is the common pseudonym for directors who film was
clearly taken away from them and recut heavily against their wishes.
The Directors Guild contract generally does not permit a director
to remove their name from a film. The only exceptions they make
are cases in which a film was clearly taken way from a director
and altered to the point of being no longer the director's
work. If the DG approves a directors appeal to them the credit
then given is Alan Smithee, it is certain that film is not what
the director intended and more likely than not, it will suck ass.
Mr. Dowhen's last film did that for sure.
Harmony and Anderson make their way across the desolate expanse
of their barren waste world and there is no doubt they need some
grub. They decide to stop at a local domicile to see if they might
borrow a bite. The owner seems cordial enough and offers them
some grub. When Harmony decides to take a visit to the little
girls room she is accosted by a balding, ulcer faced and hungry
crust. Harmony doesn't have much trouble doing him in but
what she finds is a smoke house full of humans, the two men are
cannibals. When she gets back to the dinner table, Anderson is
just getting ready to chow down on a little man steak. Harmony
tries to get Anderson's attention before he grubs downs
but can't and finally throws the stew on the host before
they have to kill him. They steal some canned veggies and we are
given shots of pickled eyeballs and human brains before our loveable
couple head back to the hills.
The strange thing about the obvious budget constraints of LOD
is the fact that each scenario that Harmony and Anderson wind
up in is actually decently effective. Harmony does most of the
fighting, I guess because Anderson is wounded although Dowhen
seems to forget and remember to limp on an irregular schedule.
Harmony bashes in skulls, cross bows and generally can handle
anything her male adversaries might throw at her. LOD's cast of
characters is straight out of the formula ROAD WARRIOR perfected.
The odd chap, with the ultra flying contraption in ROAD WARRIOR
is replaced budgetarily with an odd Turkish bloke on a bicycle,
with a puppy. The scenes with the puppy crack me up because in
three different sequences it's obvious that it is three different
dogs, or it's the same dog and their was a space between filming
the scenes which allowed the pup to grow. In ROAD WARRIOR, fuel
is a main concern, in LOD, it is addressed in extreme moderation.
The baddies zoom around on alcohol burning bikes Anderson lets
us in on, when he and Harmony abscond on one but there isn't as
much as mention in the plot to battling for fuel supremacy or
anything. In ROAD WARRIOR, Max ends up with a sort of Feral Kid,
in LOD the kid is replaced with Jawas, yes, you heard me, Jawas.
That is the only way to refer to them. Someone got their hands
on leftover Jawa outfits and put them to use in LOD. The fact
that they are in a scene that also utilizes a sort of cheap insdustrial
flamethrower shows that someone involved had a near moment of
surreal inspiration. Was that someone director Peter Maris? Probably.
I wish I had the details of how this American production ended
up in some Turkish ruins in the early 80s, but I don't.
Maris a few years earlier, had a small hit with a decent little
picture called DELIRIUM. DELIRIUM features a crazed vet, who is
part of a group of war veteran vigilantes hired by local businessmen
to clean up the city streets. The crazy one starts freelancing
and it gets the cops involved. Overall DELIRIUM has moments of
brilliance which gets over should in a sort of TV like cop story,
but still delivers with a bit of 70s style exploitation as the
killer runs ripshod through a slew of female victims. He even
offs one broad when she comments on the size of his tool. He is
impotent and that causes his problems with the lasses. DELIRIUM
is best noted as an original Video Nasty, avoid the alternate
tile PSYCHO PUPPET it's cut to pieces. Maris took a little known
novel and with the help of chief writer from TV's TRANSFORMERS
cartoon and off he went to Turkey. It is safe to say the LAND
OF DOOM wasn't a hit for Maris but still made a decent amount
of money on the video market, as a cross between RED SONJA style
Amazonian fem-fighting and MAD MAX mayhem. Of course, I'm talking
more about the video box art than the actual movie. The art features
a read haired gal with large earrings and a leather headband garnishing
a pistol (harmony is dirty blond with a small headband under her
hair and she caries a cross bow) behind a muscular guy with a
leather mask and a leather, studded cross bow glove extended in
from him. He looks a little like Sam Jones from 1980s FLASH GORDON.
The whole thing looks a little Frazetta like and sez "rent
me" all over it. The girl on the box is no where in the film
and the guy on the front who looks like he might be the good guy
is actually a sort of toadie for Slater, he wear the same gloved
apparatus but lacks the chiseled features or windblown hair. Ah
video box marketing, it's an art. Over Maris does the best with
what he has to work with. His effects, limited to say the least,
but there is a nice finger hacking scene and the cannibal touch
is pretty nifty. Anderson is cardboard as the guy looking for
the rainbow but Harmony pulls it off as an aerobicized after-nuke
bimbo who is just running to keep from getting boffed. My guess
is with a tiny budget in an unknown country with actors who aren't
that good. Maris got what he got was glad when it wrapped.
Can I recommend LAND OF DOOM to anyone other than the most hardened
bad cinema-phile? Well, the Italians stake a huge claim to what
many consider the best MAD MAX rehashes. A favorite of mine being
the insane 1990: BRONX WARRIORS, Enzo Casterelli's crazy entry
into the "after the fall of civilization" flicks. Casterelli's
success probably helped LAND OF DOOM get financed, given that
it was obvious that these films would make cash no matter how
close to garbage they might be. There are many other films with
this same theme some serious and effective others goofy and throwaway.
A BOY AND HIS DOG and DESERT WARRIOR being two on opposite ends
of the spectrum. LOD gets a grin and a nod from me for adding
a slight bit of ingenuity to a retread premise and it over abundance
of visual cheese and bad dialogue. If the years after Dubya's
WW3 are as much fun as Maris's LAND OF DOOM makes it seem, count
me in. I can think of a couple villages to pillage but you can't
rape the willing. I just hope and can keep my thighs from chafing
in all that black leather and I've got to get used to this mask
and ball gag. Amazingly LAND OF DOOM is available just about everywhere,
but, where's the $5.99 DVD?
|Lovely Harmony gets
|There's that nifty
little hand operated cross bow gizmo.
of "I'll be back!" Where's the sequel?
Gestapo Black Exploitation?
From Tobacco Row It's Good!
Squad Join Today!
Meateater Do Not Touch!
Stranger Run Run Opie!
House On Hwy 5 Sheesh!
Locked Doors It's Dirty!
Massacre Some Like It.
Pussy It had to be done
Alley It is Rock.
Woman Truck. Woman.
Freak A Classic for You!
Geek Bigfoot Porn
School Ghosthustlers Wow!
Island You Must See!
Not that kinda Cock!
Alienator Feeling Alienated?
Island Vanity and the Beast
Spree Tim Ritter's $0 budget wonder
Prof. Tread still can't sleep.
Tramp She is sumpin' else.
Footmen Tire You...? Heavy religiosity!
Knievel Evel of Course!
Killing Of A Chinese Bookie! Smart Guy.
Pink Angels Gayness, and Bikes
Burning The 80's, ahhh the 80's.
- The Winged Serpant! Larry Cohen rules!
For Your Life! WARNING Racist content
Tall Buford Pusser in the Hizouse!
Camp Internet Geeks Unite!
Losers Ya Loser!
of the Mutilated Bro. George gets busy.
Me An Angel Gal Biker and more.
Grim Reaper Reap on.
One of William Girdler's triumphs.
At Dawn A Modern Classic.
Boy Carradine, Dress, Dourif!
Hollywood Rape-Slaughter Rare expose'.
Savage Weekend. Take
Dead and Buried.
A Should-be Classic.
Summer In Barefoot County. PeeUww!
Night Train To
Terror Choo Choo!
Drink Your Blood Glug, glug!
Russ Meyer and breasts!
Stop Women Honnnk HonnnnK!
Deadly Darling! Pigs!
the Germ Fighter! Clean up!
Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast? Why?!
County Express! Glug, Glug!
The Night God Screamed!
White Dog Racists
City Slickers get offed!
Times Five Sean MacGregor's Titantic!
at the Red Wolf Inn Burp!
Eyes See It
Greatest Sinner One of the best!
Baby! Goo Goo!
Camp Nightmare Viva the Revolution!
of the Beast Creatures Booga!
Play Dead Incest craziness!
of Death Vacation madness!
Come, Evil Go! Bye, Bye Sinners!
Strutters Get Black Sucker!
Pretty Eddie Deep South Craziness!
Golem Jewish Folklore or what?
NYC Apartment Blues
To Kill A Clown
Alan Alda Vietnam Vet!
Spook Who Sat Next To The Door Booya!
Woke Up Early The Day I Died Mr. Ed Wood.
Mutilation Man Andy Copp goes arty on us!
People Across The Lake Good TV!
Woman Hunt Load Up Gents.
Devil At You Heels Daring Devil.
Are The Damned Dammit!
Farm TV movie Classic!