Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nuclear War Is Too Good For You, Barkett!

It's very nearly four in the morning, and I'd definitely get to sleep if there wasn't something really, really irksome bothering the bejesus out of me. Steve Barkett is a boorish jackass and must have the smallest penis in all of Barstow. Never heard of him? GOOD! That means you're not me! You Lucky Devil! Steve Barkett was an amateur filmmaker/bad actor from the 1980s whose career didn't survive the 1990s. His debut film Zombie Aftermath (they called it, appropriately, Nuclear Aftermath in some countries) is a complete failure. I was really set to lump this in with Rome Against Rome as a film I couldn't fault because it believed in its own bullshit so strongly. But No! I could forgive a spaceship sequence lamer than the original KTMA Mystery Science Theatre 3000 opening (which intentionally lampooned shit like this). I could forgive the least threatening rape gang ever filmed. I could forgive the matte painting apocalypse. What I cannot forgive is the dullness of a post-apocalyptic zombie movie. I cannot think to forgive the idea that a tubby, hairy, and inexplicably wealthy guy filmed himself fighting a one-man gang war and screwing presentable women. And what I cannot forgive, the most unforgivable sins is the paucity of zombies in a movie called ZOMBIE FUCKING AFTERMATH! Well at least now I know that William Beaudine's The Living Ghost isn't the only war crime committed under the guise of a zombie movie

Zombie Aftermath
by Steve Barkett

Steve writes, directs, stars, produces, and fucks up this film without anyone's help. First of all, this film looks like it was recorded off of someone's Kaliko. The first few minutes even have tracking marks and warped sound from the VHS this was ripped from. Pathetic. If this film weren't quite so terrible I'd suggest Blue Underground or Anchor Bay get to work, but I can't in good conscious ask for this film to be saved. The apocalypse has come to earth, and all but a handful of people have been killed (actually this is an understatement. For the end of the world, there are dozens and dozens of people who keep showing up). Two Astronauts crash their spaceship into the ocean, while down below some really pathetic looking gang members led by Sid Haig kill everyone they can't rape. The astronauts wander around in Planet of the Apes fashion as Newman, the moustache-happy leader of the pair voice-overs his feelings about the whole mess. That night they are attacked by three zombies, whom they easily overpower. They wander around, find a few survivors, and adopt a little boy. Newman and the boy become very close, as do Newman and a woman who escaped from the clutches of the gang. When Cutter (Sid Haig) murders Newman's love interest he goes out looking for revenge.

Is that the sound of crickets? No, it's the two dimes Barkett didn't have to rub together while making this movie. There's a lazer gun in this movie! He couldn't afford to pay Forest Ackerman for more than a day's work, and Steve Barkett thought he could get away with a lazer gun! He called his movie Zombie Aftermath but didn't spend any money on zombie make-up. Six. Count 'em, SIX zombies appear in this film. Are you kidding me? This movie is about as interesting as watching two guys adjust the wiring on the roof of their house, like they were fiddling with the reception on their television, which actually happens at one point. The two 'astronauts' are obviously too unfit to have ever been admitted into the space program, let alone allowed in a fucking spaceship. Barkett looks, unsurprisingly, like an overweight, 40 something. Did that stop him from making his own Mad Max rip-off with himself as Mel Gibson? No, in fact it just made him want to do it more! "Gee, no one wants me in their movie! I'll show them. I'll make my own! I'll beat the whole gang up myself, and outsmart everyone, and have a love scene! That'll show you, God! Make me ugly, will ya!?!" That was apparently all the thought that went into this film because it is approximately an amalgamation of other films. The story is lifted wholesale first from Planet of the Apes, then from Mad Max. 'cept of course that no one's manly or drives a souped-up car or anything. The villains name is Cutter (villain in Mad Max: Toe Cutter. That's not enough for a lawsuit, is it? Not if nobody sees your movie!)

Just miserable. This has, however, inspired me to do capsule reviews of some of the worst Zombie films I've ever seen, so that'll be up in a few days. Steve Barkett as Mel Gibson! Inconceivable! And yet somehow he convinced women to take their clothes off in this film! When the revolution comes, we're going to his house first!

1 comment:

Mark Steffen said...

The film was originally titled "The Aftermath". Why "Zombie" was added 30 yrs. later is unknown. Also, it was shot before "Mad Max" so Cutter's name was not a rip-off. I'd like to own a copy of it but I've not had luck finding one. Also, one reference book incorrectly lists Ted V. Mikels as director. Ted was an original co-producer whom Barkett bought out early on during one of many pauses in production.