The New Barbarians - Italian Post Apocalyptic Gold

Italian Post Apocalypse films were born in 1982, the bastard offspring of America's Escape from New York and Australia’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, it quickly ran out of steam in 1984. The Italian films have always offered up a great way to waste a couple of hours through sheer 'boy's own' manly action and a healthy dose of cheese.
As a rough rule of thumb the Post-apocalyptic story lines often take place in the aftermath of a disaster - typically nuclear holocaust, war, plague - that justifies a civilisation's restructuring itself.

The themes commonly feature some societal/ technological system's continuing existence or some attempt to restore/preserve some desired pre-disaster qualities. Although not a requisite, many post-apocalyptic movies have a man-made cause. However, there are some simplistic post-apocalyptic films that mainly have desperate survivors engaged in some struggle over scarce resources. These flicks are just so dam addictive! I think it’s the full atmosphere of 80's italo exploitation thrash that makes them cool: good explosions- nothing digital! Crazy overacted characters, some bare breasts, a setting full of cheap dirt. These movies are so honest in their cheesiness and roughness that they achieve their greatness through their mediocrity.

As a brief introduction I'll kick off by listing I my favourite italo PA films that I own on VHS, but there are heaps more, not only Italian films but from all over the world , including New Zealand, but I’ll cover those ones in a future post.

1990: Bronx Warriors aka Bronx Warriors / 1990: I Guerrieri Del Bronx (1982)
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari.
Starring - Mark Gregory, Fred Williamson, Vic Morrow.
In a post-apocalyptic New York City, a policeman infiltrates the Bronx Warriors, which has become a battleground for several murderous street gangs. It's the dead of night, and nobody at all is on the street. On the other side of the bridge, a Manhattan runaway, girl named Young Ann is attacked by a gang of street hockey players! These guys are on roller skates, dressed in fiberglass safety gear, and are wielding hockey sticks as weapons. They chase Young Ann into a dead end and surround her, but then they are themselves surrounded by a much tougher-looking gang who at least have the self-respect to ride motorcycles. In the middle of this chaos, gang leader Trash steps in to take care of her.

Escape From The Bronx aka Bronx Warriors 2 / Fuga Dal Bronx) (1983)
Directed  by Enzo G. Castellari.
Starring- Mark Gregory, Henry Silva, Valeria D'Obici.
A rag-tag group of people must fight extermination squads amid their ruined city. Mark Gregory returns as Trash who is living the smooth life of being a thug in the slums. But the evil General Construction Corporation have decided that the Bronx needs to rebuilt and decide to save money and time by simply killing everyone who didn't take them up on their offer to move to New Mexico(what's so bad about moving to New Mexico anyway?). The GCC hires an expelled prison warden who loves death(played by Rat Packer Henry Silva) to lead a bunch of "disinfectors" who are guys in silver jumpsuits & bike helmets that carry semi-automatics and a bunch of astronauts with flame throwers. Trash is their target and they pursue him and his friends on a long chase sequence under the Bronx
 The New Barbarians aka Warriors of the Wastelands / I Nuovi Barbari (1983)
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari.
Starring - Fred Williamson, Giancarlo Prete, and George Eastman.

In 2019 the Nuclear Apocalypse has happened, The New Barbarians takes place in the post-apocalyptic future where a gang of ridiculously costumed barbarian types called the Templars, nut-cases driving modified 'futuristic' looking cars, set out to destroy the few humans left as punishment for the crime of being born, basically This world is dead. So, accordingly, everybody in it must die too (except themselves, of course). The Templars wardrobe and hairdo's are a nightmare to every designer with at least a single notion of good taste, or a dream-come-true to fashion-experts high on Swedish designer-drugs. The Templars simply look THAT hilarious. You won't believe your eyes. The characters have remarkably, profound-sounding names like Scorpion, Shadow, Father Moses, One,.... Scorpion is the loner-hero. As much as the Templars have no reason for killing everybody, Scorpion has absolutely no reason for being a hero. As well as Fred Williamson has no reason to be in this flick. All he does is drive around in his amazing buggy, give Scorpion some sort of Jedi-like training during his revalidation and shoot explosive arrows. The vehicle's designs are simply mind-boggling. Most of them even have very vicious 'boobie-traps', such like: grenade-launchers, ultra-long drills coming out of the front-grid, car-doors that launch themselves and explode on impact, flame-throwers (of course) and my personal favourite: a circular saw, expanding from the side of the car which decapitates innocent civilians running for their lives.

2020: Texas Gladiators aka 2020 Freedom Fighters /Anno 2020 - I Gladiatori Del Futuro/ 2020 Freedom Fighters) (1982)
Directed  by Joe Dâ Amato.
Starring- Al Cliver, Harrison Muller Jr., Daniel Stephen, Geretta Geretta, Sabrina Siani.

In a post-apocalyptic Texas, a band of warriors fight against a fascist regime that is trying to take control of all surviving population. The government has deteriorated...laws are unbinding...and cruel savages rule the wastelands, comes a new heroic breed... The "Rangers," a team comprising of disciplined, dedicated, and laconic mercenaries are on a exterminate the evils that roam in the post-nuclear world. Led by "Nisus" (Al Cliver), the roster includes "Halakron," (Peter Hooten), "Catch Dog," (Daniel Stephen), and "Red Wolfe" (Al Yamanouchi). When the going gets tough...these guys slice it up! The future is forsaken...all hope is lost and innocent lives are in despair. The asperity of the aftermath of World War III (or the *Atomic War*) has taken its toll on the human population... However, the remnants of the surviving human race must learn to rebuild their civilization and live in harmony...but too many obstacles and detours stand in their way...

2019: After The Fall Of New York aka 2019 - Dopo La Caduta Di New York/After the Fall Of New York (1983)
Directed by Sergio Martino.
Starring- Michael Sopkiw, Valentine Monnier, Anna Kanakis.

After a nuclear war, society breaks down into two groups, the evil Euraks and the rebel Federation. A mercenary named Parsifal is hired by the Federation to infiltrate New York City, which is controlled by the Euraks, to rescue the only fertile woman left on Earth.  It kicks off with a Fascist kingpin’s scheme in an office decorated with a futuristic knockoff of "Guernica." Gladiators clash in souped-up sedans, and then get their prizes dispensed by cyborgs styled like female clowns. A Doctor Evil-like chrome-dome bad guy gets his eyeballs pulled out by hooks, then replaced with ones from an unlucky donor. AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK may be the only grindhouse rip-off of a famous movie that out-invents the original by a power of one hundred. It's supposed to be a copy of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, Dizzily cast and designed, with more visual ideas and free-form movement than any grindhouse movie of the period, it's a lesson in what B movies are supposed to be--and were, before they turned into bland late-night-Cinemax fodder.

Endgame aka Bronx lotta finale /Gioco Finale) (1983)
Directed  by Joe Dâ Amato.
Starring- Al Cliver, Laura Gemser.

Endgame is set in a hollowed out, irradiated New York out in the year 2025. People are entertained by the ultimate reality show called Endgame. Ron Shannon is Endgame's greatest champ. Kurt Karnak is his bitter rival. During the game a mutant helps Shannon to defeat Karnak but Shannon spares his life. Bad move? Shannon is then enlisted by a telepath and a band of mutants attempting to escape the city. Of course, a suitcase full of gold sweetens the deal for Shannon, who then rounds up a band of cutthroats to help him, including Ninja, the coolest guy in the film. There are many great fight scenes in this movie, one involving blind monks and another with a gang led by a man who is half fish. Eventually the number of the group is whittled down to Shannon but the mission gets accomplished anyway. Shannon is asked) to join the mutants, which he doesn't. Wouldn't you know it as the chopper flies off out comes Karnak to battle Shannon for the gold. The movie ends just as the battle starts, which actually is a cool way to go. And this movie came out over a decade before there was reality TV!

Exterminators OF The Year 3000 aka Gli Sterminatori Dell'anno 3000/ Death Warriors (1983)
Directed  by Giuliano Carnimeo.
Starring- Robert Iannucci, Alicia Moro, Luciano Piozzi.

In the post-apocalyptic future, the barren wasteland that was once the fertile green Earth is now ruled by hordes of deranged biker fiends and motor-psychos. These marauders seek that which is most precious in this parched, dying land - clean water. Only the aged survivors remember precipitation called rain. The rest of the populace dream of purified tanks of H2O held by a race of horribly scarred nuclear mutants. It is into this scenario that the Exterminator, accompanied by his mercenary ex-girlfriend and a bionic orphan, stalks the pure waters of the nuke mutants. These three battle the savage elements, survive vicious biker tortures, and finally duel with the vile wrath of the nuke mutants themselves.

Rats: Nights Of Terror aka  Rats - Notte di terrore (1984)
Directed by Bruno Mattei.
Starring- Geretta Geretta, Ottaviano Dell'Acqua.

225, A.B. (After Bomb) - A motley assortment of survivalist bikers seeks sanctuary at an abandoned warehouse that's richly abundant in food, water and comfortable shelter. Naturally, there's one huge glitch: The place is also teeming with a horrid array of hungry, super-intelligent carnivorous rats with a sickening sweet tooth for human flesh. The basic plot seems routine and unpromising, but "Rats" luckily -- and, more importantly, successfully -- aspires to be more than just another by-the-numbers post-nuke kill-a-thon by cleverly working in an odd, imaginative, breaking-against-the-standard-mould religious allegory into the tense and scary proceedings. Furthermore, the characters are unusually well-drawn and solidly acted, going above and beyond cardboard cut-out status: the laconic, relaxed, grimly rational chopper gang leader Kurt (neatly played with sufficient poise and charisma by Richard Raymond) serves as a scruffy, rough-around-the-edges tough guy Christ figure, the savage, scurvy, libidinous Lucifer (a magnificently malicious Christopher Bretnor) assumes snarling, refractory rebel chores with frightful intensity, and the flighty, girlish motorcycle mama Lilith (the tall, beauteous, dark-haired Moune Duvivier, who's indeed luscious enough to entice any man into engaging in sinful behavior) represents the wicked carnal temptations of the flesh

New Gladiators aka I Guerrieri Dell'anno 2072/ Fighting Centurions Rome, 2072 A.D. (1984)
Directed by Lucio Fulci.
Starring- Jared Martin, Fred Williamson.

In 2072 Rome, Italy, the ruthless CEO of a TV network plots to stage a modern series of gladiator games for ratings while one 'contestant' learns of a conspiracy behind the true nature of the results. "In the year 2072, the world has become a barbaric, computerized wasteland. Waging a ruthless war for the minds of the masses, two huge, global TV networks create increasingly bizarre and violent programming - culminating in the ultimate prime time death-sport: 'The Battle of the Condemned'! In this media spectacular, convicted murderers are given the chance to escape their death sentences - by entering into a high-tech fight to the finish in front of the cameras! But, unknown to the TV execs, their super-intelligent network computer has devised a program of its own - a program aimed at subjugating all of humanity! Led by the resourceful Drake (JARED MARTIN of Westworld and TV's Dallas) and a towering black warrior (FRED WILLIAMSON), a band of futuristic gladiators plunges into a desperate struggle to survive the televised bloodbath and defeat the omnipotent computer!"

Final Executioner aka Lâ Ultimo Guerriero/ The Last Warrior (1984).
Directed by Romolo Guerrieri.
Starring- William Mang, Marina Costa, Harrison Muller Jr.

After the nuclear apocalypse, a class system developed. A privileged, non-contaminated upper class and the radiation-contaminated masses. Presumably to do double duty as a really entertaining sport as well as cleanse the population of "undesirables", the rich invented a game: "The Hunt", where they let loose the unwashed masses and shoot them for fun. One day, a disgruntled member of the underclass decides to fight back. After the baddies kill his wife, Alan (Mang) becomes intent on revenge against the hunters. Being an intellectual and having no fighting background, Sam, a former New York City cop, extensively trains Alan in the warrior arts. The film a lot of exploitative elements, plenty of sex, nudity, constant violence, shooting, chases, and blow-ups. This does have most of the hallmarks of the Italian post-nuke world we've come to know and love: absurd dubbing, motorcycles and cars with crazy, "futuristic" appliances on them, unbelievably wacky costumes and the like. Interestingly, this also has a comment on the Italian class system, using the apocalyptic wasteland as a backdrop for it.

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