Director – Steve Barkett (Empire of the Dark)
Starring – Steve Barkett, Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses, Bone Tomahawk), and Lynne Margulies (My Breakfast with Blassie, The Lost Journals of Huey Williams)
Release Date – 1982
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Tagline – “They returned from space expecting a heroes welcome. They were met by something very different”
I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic horror and sci-fi films. Night of the Living Dead is what jump started my horror obsession and the sequels only further embedded me in the genre. Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead are masterpieces in their own rights. I love films that follow mankind as a new threat emerges from the ruins of the old world.
Sometime ago I received the 1982 sci-fi horror film The Aftermath from VCI Entertainment and MVD. This was one I had never heard of and was not expecting. I tossed it in my review stack and completely forgot about it. After my home caught fire I was packing and discovered it. I decided it was time to finally check it out. I’m glad I did because I absolutely loved it.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows three astronauts who were in space and return to Earth only to discover that the world was mostly destroyed by a nuclear attack. As they wonder aimlessly they discover that some of those that were outside during the blast are now blood hungry cannibals while those that were inside are fighting to survive. Among those is the ruthless gang leader Cutter (Haig) who rapes and kills everyone that gets in his path. They cross paths with a young boy and eventually a woman who helps them but Cutter is two ruthless and calculating. He kills the woman and one of the astronauts. This ties the other’s hand and he is forced to hunt them all down or risk looking over his shoulder for the rest of his days.**Spoiler Alert**
I wasn’t expecting a lot from this one. I had never heard of it prior to getting it in for review and I was shocked seeing Haig’s name attached to it. He’s always promoting his older films on social media so it was weird never seeing him mention this one. Regardless of why, this film was so god damn fun. I honestly enjoyed it from beginning to end. I even loved the campy sci-fi aspect of it which is something I’m usually not a fan of.
The acting in this one is decent but the cast is not consistent. I really enjoyed director and star Steve Barkett’s performance. He was a solid lead and very dedicated to the role. You can tell he wrote this for himself and he was very thorough with the details. I also liked Sid Haig’s performance. He did a fantastic job as the psychotic Cutter who was an animal that always found the situation humorous. The supporting cast is decent but they are a little underwhelming in some of the scenes. Especially the action scenes.
The story for this one was great. It combines several elements from classic horror and sci-fi films while keeping the ton and atmosphere completely different. The sci-fi and horror mesh very well with this Omega Man like film. The scenes flow very well and the slower scenes are not wasted on boring dialogue. Instead, we get some character backstory and a better look at their personalities. With that being said, the ending ripped my heart out. As a father it hurt.
Finally, this one has several on screen kills and almost all of them are by gun. The effects for these kills are minimal but they work. Sadly, they are easily forgettable. I also really enjoyed the visual effects. It added some campiness to the film that I really dig. Overall, The Aftermath is a dangerously underrated 80s sci-fi horror film that needs to be on everyone’s must watch list. Check it out on blu from VCI Entertainment.
Original Laserdisc Extras
Night Caller Short