Riot Girls (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

I wasn’t too interested in the premise of “Riot Girls” upon first glance, but it inevitably won me over with its execution and I came to appreciate (and kind of love) how fun and unique it was. The whole idea of high school cliques becoming the tribes of the post-apocalypse is rife for satire, and Jovanka Vuckovic has a great time with her concept. “Riot Girls” is both a teen drama comedy, and a fun bit of post apocalyptic fodder that you could easily digest right down to the last bite. I loved the whole punk rock, pulp comic book aesthetic, and the way it embraces its fantasy trappings like “The Warriors” did long ago.

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What Still Remains (2018)

I’ll admit again and again that post apocalypse movies are my sweet spot in regards to genre cinema. I eat movies about survival after the end of the world with a spoon and am hardly ever let down. “What Still Remains” as far as its concerned is fairly standard post apocalyptic fare. It by no means re-invents the wheel with its narrative and characters, but at times it doesn’t seem like director and writer Josh Mendoza is trying to. In the end I was more impressed by what Mendoza does with his lead heroine more than anything, and I’d love to see Ana return once again in another movie of this ilk.

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The Domestics (2018)

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and every single surviving human has broken up in to fractions, mini-societies, and tribes that delight in murder of others, and survival of the fittest. “The Domestics” is “The Purge,” meets “Red Dawn,” meets “Mad Max,” meets “The Warriors,” with a dash of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” for good measure. Let’s face it, at the end of the day its pure blissful, loony post apocalyptic movie porn and hot damn if I didn’t love every single minute of it from beginning to end.

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Go North (2017)

A potentially apocalyptic even wiped out all adults from the country, leaving kids to take care of younger kids.  In this situation, some became leaders, some teachers, while others thrived in chaos.  As things are looking bleaker and bleaker, Josh decides to do something and heads North with a friend.  Soon, some of those in charge go after them.  Through this, all will discover more about the world and themselves. Directed by Matt Ogens who co-wrote with Kyle Lierman, the film takes the post-apocalyptic approach that is being seen more and more again and removes all adults from the picture, leaving it to a Lord of the Flies situation with kids being left to their own devices and some knowing better how to keep going while others look for escape.

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Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)/Fury Road Black & Chrome Double Feature [2 Disc Blu-ray]

There’s a lot to be said for how movies can change dramatically when the color is taken away. Most famously Frank Darabont unleashed a black and white version of “The Mist” which many fans insist amped up the film’s inherent terror, and folks have also testified that “Dawn of the Dead” is much scarier in black and white like its big brother “Night of the Living Dead.” To date there are four editions of “Mad Max: Fury Road” in what is a now ever expanding series of movies and merchandise for the George Miller apocalyptic franchise. Not that I’m complaining minde you, but the studios know where the money is, and people still love “Fury Road.”

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The Last Man on Earth (1964)

LastManonEarthCurrently on the public domain hit list, “The Last Man on Earth” is one of the first and finest adaptations of “I Am Legend” that while not perfect, is infinitely better than most of the successors to follow. Set in 1968, Robert Morgan is a doctor who finds society at the mercy of a mysterious plague. Everyone in the world is gradually dying out from this disease, and he soon discovers that those who die inevitably return from the dead. Unless burned, the bodies will re-animate and look for the closest blood source. Cue director Ubaldo Ragona’s awfully gruesome imagery of a humongous pit of fire where bodies of the recently deceased have been dumped to burn.

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The Noah (1975)

ThenoahThe shockingly obscure masterpiece “The Noah” is an exploration of grief through a man named Noah’s solitude as he realizes he’s the only person left on the planet. Set on a desolate island where supplies are cumbersome but humanity has diminished, our character Noah drifts by a life raft to the shore, and makes it his home. Even though he’s realized that humanity has become extinct due to the war, he makes it his mission to turn the island into his domain and keep himself occupied. He now sees a responsibility in staying alive to preserve his race for all time. He is literally the only person on the planet, thus he must engage in a battle against isolation, and loneliness.

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Novaseed (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2016]

NovaseedDirector Nick DiLiberto’s animated science fiction epic could be considered a part of a new “Heavy Metal” anthology if we ever get a remake any time soon. DiLiberto’s animated epic owes a lot to Ralph Bakshi and the sensibilities of the original animated movie, except without any of the exploitative and misogynist overtones. “Novaseed” is a classic hero journey tale of a mastermind rising to power in a post apocalyptic wasteland and one hero stepping up to stop him and save someone very special. When the world is threatened by the maniacal Dr. Mindskull, the government begins looking for champions to step up and challenge him.

DiLiberto pulls a switcheroo on us and a clever turning of the cliché, as he features a gladiator match with a lion-man who automatically becomes the film’s hero once he manages to step forward and prove his courage against his sword wielding foe. From there, hero Nac claims the enigmatic prize that everyone in the world is searching for, and is confronted with Mindskull who challenges Nac’s opposition. DiLiberto’s animation is very low budget and apparently seemed to be based around rotoscoping much in the way Ralph Bakshi exercised for his epics. While the apparent style is hard to discern at first glance, it becomes apparent and tends to elevate the material well.

Due to the low budget our hero Nac is, for the most part, mute for his time on film. Through this drawback, his character presents an action speaking louder than words movement with his character exposition until the very end. “Novaseed” is a strong and unique science fiction animated adventure that relies a lot on simplicity and recognizing its own limitations during the narrative. It has a very “Mad Max” and Bill Plympton sensibility to it with massive desert wastelands and futuristic warriors roaming the land and plundering while Nac seeks to escape the clutches of the government and battle Mindskull. All in all, it’s very much a tribute to the eighties underground animated films and one that I enjoyed, simply for its understanding of why Bakshi’s films stand out among the other animation in the medium.

If you love briskly paced, action packed, violent post apocalyptic sagas and with a rough around the edges sincerity, “Novaseed” will win you over as it did me.