‘Look pal, it’s been no big secret to me.
You’ve hated the world in general for a long time.’
The Aftermath is another one of those odd duck movies that crop up from time to time on the Nasties. It’s more Planet of the Apes than I Spit on Your Grave, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a watch for horror fans.
Steve Barkett plays Newman, the stoic captain of a spaceship returning to Earth. Mr Barkett also wrote, produced, edited and directed the movie, so it’s no surprise to see that any woman he meets instantly wants to bed him.
Newman and his co-pilot crash land back on Earth, only to find that civilisation (well, Los Angeles) has been wiped out by a nuclear war.
Despite being seemingly the last two men on Earth, Newman decides to forge off on his own, which is a bit of a slap in the face to his co-pilot. Maybe it’s a personal hygiene thing?
So it’s a pretty depressing story so far, and it’s about to get worse for Newman. Not only does he discover that mutated humans roam the streets looking to kill, but he finds a small child and has to look after him too. Bet you wish you were back in space now, huh Newman?
To make matters worse, a gang of murderous rapists led by the one and only Sid Haig are also knocking about, kidnapping women and killing men by blowing their heads apart with shotguns.
Sid Haig steals the show, mostly by being the only real actor in the cast. Steve Barkett makes the dreadful mistake of casting his own real life son as his onscreen pseudo-son, and the results are as poor as you can imagine.
Eventually Newman and his kid hook up with a woman who’s nipples are permanently stiff, and the three become a tight knit family unit. Newman teaches the boy how to shoot, and it’s all very Dawn of the Dead until they decide to take on Sid Haig’s merry band and everything goes to Hell.
The Aftermath is a weird cross between Star Wars, Mad Max, Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Dead, but oddly, the thing it most resembles is The Twilight Zone. This is mostly due to long stretches of no dialogue, soundtracked by Barkett’s voiceover and a wonderful orchestral score that is pure Bernard Herrmann. It’s by a guy called John Morgan, and it sounds like it’s been torn straight from the 1950s, in a good way.
The music is sometimes incongruous next to the 1980s violence on show, particularly a brutal rape and several kids being gunned down.
I guess it’s the latter that got The Aftermath in trouble with the DPP. Regardless, it’s a pretty fun Saturday afternoon movie – it all ends with a big Indiana Jones style raid on the bandit camp, with shootouts, fist fights and stunts. Director Barkett makes sure every cent of his budget is up there on screen, and he himself displays a lack of fear for heights, performing several stunts on the edge of buildings.
You could do a lot worse than The Aftermath.