Director – Matt O’Connor
Starring – Barry Gaines (Burglar from Hell, Jacker), Phil Herman (Earth Girls are Sleazy, Slimoids), and Matt O’Connor (Burglar from Hell, #KILLINIT)
Release Date – 1992
Rating – 2/5
If you’ve have been following my reviews over the years then you would know that I’m a sucker for old action flicks and post-apocalyptic movies. I fucking love digging into these kind of films and if I come across an old action post-apocalyptic flick then I’m double excited.
Sometime back I saw that my friends over at The Sleaze Box was releasing the 1992 s.o.v. post-apocalyptic action flick Hell on Earth: The Arena of Death. I saw that it starred Phil Herman and it really peaked my interest. I reached out to Chris at The Sleaze Box and he was kind enough to send a copy of this one my way. Thanks Chris!
**Spoiler alert** The film takes place sometime after a nuclear attack. The world is ravaged with those that were mutated by the radiation turning into Meanies while the humans fight to survive. **Spoiler Alert**
Hell on Earth: The Arena of Death is not what I was expecting at all. Though it was directed by him, I’ve seen several of Phil Herman’s films so I was expecting no-budget s.o.v. mayhem but I was not expecting a 2 hour long film that didn’t have a story. From my understanding the movie took several years to complete with sometime between each filming. When you mix that with the way the film was edited you find yourself with a movie that is stitched together like a patchwork quilt. It looks right but isn’t a movie.
The acting in this one is extremely amateur with some of the cast having no experience whatsoever and others with minimal experience. The characters blend into the background and the dialogue, when there isn’t an audio issue, is extremely awkward. The cast really does stick with it but it was tough to watch some of these scenes unfold.
The story for this one has a fun yet unoriginal premise but the way it was done creates a drawn out film with little to no redeeming aspects. The fighting is poor and the scenes bounce around showing how it was filmed over time and not close together. The way the film was edited also makes it a bit difficult to watch. I’m all for an action sci-fi flick in a post-apocalyptic setting but not like this.
Finally, the film has some blood but don’t expect a lot of it. The kills are quick and not that impressive. We get some fake blood splattered here and there but that is the extent of it. Overall, Hell on Earth: The Arena of Death struggles to find it’s footing from the opening scene on and it never does. At almost 2 hours long it’s one of the toughest films to finish and when you do you don’t feel like you have accomplished anything. The Sleaze Box has some solid releases out there but this is not one of them.