Friday, September 12, 2008

Radioactive Dreams (Albert Pyun, 1985)

If you have ever wondered what goes on beyond that imposing vault-like door that keeps the fallout at bay in Café Flesh, look no further than Albert Pyun's Radioactive Dreams, as I feel this film is the only film to truly capture what life must be like if the apocalypse really happened. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I'm tired of seeing the apocalypse depicted as a negative in popular culture. Sure, lot's of people will probably end up dying, some horribly. But with fire and brimstone comes endless fashion opportunities. No longer shackled by the frightfully lame rules and regulations that dictate what is acceptable to wear in public, the apocalypse is best time to let your fashion freak flag fly. Let's say you want to start an all-girl motorcycle gang who wear red wigs, black leather jackets and Nina Hagen-style makeup. But your husband won't let you. He wants you to drive little Tyler to soccer practice instead. Well, thanks to the apocalypse, your husband and little Tyler have both been vaporized. Meaning, you can start that all-girl motorcycle gang you've always wanted to without having to worry about nagging husbands or stupid ass children and their equally stupid ass needs. If that example didn't get my point across, how about this one: You're a charismatic singer with a powerful voice, yet the only place that will allow you to sing in front of an audience are those cringe-inducing reality shows that seem to be popping up all over the place nowadays (and by "nowadays," I mean, 2004).
I know, you're thinking to yourself: If the apocalypse comes, won't it wipe out most of my audience along with the deluded judges and annoying hosts? Yes, a sizeable chunk of your audience will probably end up dying, some horribly. But you know who enjoys post-nuke new wave punk rock with a splash of heavy metal? That's right, the red wig-wearing members of a newly formed all-girl motorcycle gang.
The reason I mentioned the leader of the all-girl motorcycle gang and the so-called "punk district singer" before the two male protagonists is because that's the way I do things. Deal with it. No, seriously, the reason has a lot to do with another thing the apocalypse has in its favour. And that is, there's room to move as a woman in the apocalypse. No longer constrained by societies socially accepted gender roles, women and men are to free to explore their true potential as human beings.
It's true, there's more wiggle room in the apocalypse for women to stretch their muscles. But not all women will approach this newfound freedom in a positive way. In fact, some will start behaving like certain men did in the pre-apocalypse world. Embracing attributes such as greed and employing chicanerous (deplorable, I know) tactics, there are two women in this film (not the all-girl bike gang leader or the punk district singer) whose behaviour will shock and appall  those of you who are not used to seeing women acting all duplicitous and junk, especially when you find out what it is they're trying to acquire throughout this film.
If you can believe this, Miles Archer (Lisa Blount) and Rusty Mars (Michele Little) are both pursuing a set of keys—and not just any set of keys, these keys unlock the firing mechanism to the last known nuclear missile on Earth (all expect one were launched back in 1986). As you would expect, these keys give the owner a great deal of power.
In an embarrassing twist, Miles Archer did have the keys at one point, but ended up losing them while trying to humiliate some dick named Marlowe Hammer. (Marlowe Hammer? That sounds like the name of a character from a 1940s detective novel.) It's funny you should mention that, as Marlowe Hammer (Michael Dudikoff) and his pal Phillip Chandler (John Stockwell) both grew up in a bomb shelter with nothing but 1940s detective novels and other relics from that decade (jazz records and argyle socks).
Left, or, I should say, locked, in the shelter by their fathers, Dash Hammer (George Kennedy) and Spade Chandler (Don Murray), in 1986 as children, Marlowe and Phillip are forced to fend for themselves.
When they finally do manage to escape from the shelter some fifteen years later, Marlowe and Phillip are ready to face a world populated by radiation-scarred punks, disco mutants, all-girl bike gangs, cannibals, greasers, hippies, and, worst of all, a couple of shrewd women named Miles and Rusty.
Actually, now that I look over that list again, I don't think Marlowe and Phillip are properly equipped to deal with this world. I mean, look at 'em. How are two socially inept dweebs (a couple of real "mondo nerds") who fancy themselves as private detectives going to survive in a post-apocalyptic netherworld that is filled to the brim with people/creatures (designed by the Chiodo Brothers, no less) that want to straight-up kill their asses?
Take the leader of the all-girl bike gang, played by the always alluring Hilary Shepard, for example. After jumping on the hood of his car Road Warrior-style and licking the entirety of his face, Hilary Shepard totally tries to murder Phillip. To be fair, though, Marlowe and Phillip do have the keys at this point (Miles accidentally dropped them in Marlowe's lap - I know, what an idiot). So, it makes sense for the all-girl bike gang to want kill them. Of course, Marlowe and Phillip have no idea how important the keys are. But they will soon enough.
However, before they do find out, Marlowe must unleash at least twelve groan-worthy puns that revolve around the word "dick." We get it, Marlowe. Dick means private detective and it means penis, too. I don't know 'bout you, but I wanted to beat some sense into Marlowe, as his wide-eyed, aw-shucks attitude is driving me insane.
After hooking up with Rusty Mars (she survived a roadside ambush by a couple of disco mutants - including Demian "Two Dollars" Slade), Marlowe and Phillip arrive at the Red Onion, a "swanky gin mill" just outside of Edge City, where the former is [thankfully] slapped around by some of the bar's female patrons.
Burned by Miles, you would think they would be wary of attractive women who sport headbands. Wrong! Marlowe and Phillip end up getting double-crossed by Rusty, as well, who sells them out to a gang of cannibalistic creepozoids.
Unlike Miles, though, Rusty feels guilty about what she did. Unfortunately, Marlowe and Phillip are in no mood for apologies, as the experiences of the last twenty-four hours have seemingly turned a couple of naive dicks into a couple of hard dicks over night. Meaning, when an Uzi-wielding Rusty shows up to help Marlowe and Phillip, they rebuff her offer of assistance with extreme prejudice.
The fact we never get to see Rusty fire that Uzi is a crime. And that it pretty much sums up how I feel about this movie. It's get the set up right, it's just that it always seems to botch the follow through. The costumes, the music, the makeup, the sets, and the overall look of the film is top-notch. But the story, despite having an amazing concept, is a tad lacking in the compelling department. And I didn't buy for a second that Marlowe, one of the most irritating film characters in recent memory, would become a badass in the blink of an eye (once a mondo nerd, always a mondo nerd).
The only scenes I would recommend watching are the one's that feature Hilary Shepard's red-wigged bike gang and the scene where Sue Saad sings "Guilty Pleasures" for a crowd of Edge City punks and freaks.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have ost for "radioactive dreams" ?
    Thank you