Wednesday , February 21 2024
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DVD Review: Grindhouse Double Shock Show – Warriors Of The Wasteland/Cosmos, War Of The Planets

Get ready for a huge double serving of Grade-A Italian sci/fi cheese with Alpha Video’s Grindhouse Double Shock Show pairing of Warriors Of The Wasteland (1982) and Cosmos: War Of The Planets (1977)!

From Enzo G. Castellari, the visionary behind Great White, Inglorious Bastards, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, and other masterful spaghetti dishes, comes Warriors Of The Wasteland (aka I Nuovi Barbari, The New Barbarians), a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max wannabe rip-off so wacky that it borders on brilliance!

The year is 2019 (or so) and a nuclear holocaust has devastated the globe. Groups of survivors travel in small caravans while trying to stay out of the way of the dreaded Templars, the evil discotheque rejects who wander the countryside (the country they’re wandering itself is unnamed, but presumably America — it’s an Italian film, after all) in their modified dune buggies of destruction (and their perfect hair, I might add). The leader of the Templars is the big bad One (George Eastman, aka Luigi Montefiori), and he is the self-proclaimed executioner of what’s left of the human race. Why? Because it’s fun!

Following in One’s footsteps is the long-haired Shadow (Ennio Girolami, the director’s brother who was about 48 at the time and probably took on the embarrassing role as part of a lost bet). One day, Shadow finds that One’s arch-nemesis Scorpion (the late Giancarlo Prete, another Castellari regular) is alive and well, and soon, through a series of bits featuring guys either being exploded and falling off of moving vehicles in slo-mo whilst set afire, the two rivals meet once again. Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, Anna Kanakis, Fulci regular Giovanni Frezza (that blonde kid), and the still hard-at-work Massimo Vanni co-star in this guilty pleasure with music written by Claudio Simonetti of Goblin fame.

Co-billed on this DVD for your extra-added displeasure is one of the worst of the worst — a monstrosity called Cosmos: War Of The Planets (also just plain War Of The Planets), one of several in a series(!) of mind-numbingly asinine sci/fi adventures from the Wizard of Bore himself, Al Bradley (aka Alfonso Brescia). If ever there was a film that Cinematic Titanic or Rifftrax needed to explore, this is it.

The “plot” (stop me when it becomes apparent there isn’t one and you realize that I’m just talking out of my ass here, kids — please) has brave Captain Hamilton (John Richardson) taking his crew of polyester-clad voyagers investigating a powerful signal from deep space that has threatened to destroy the Earth (a wonderful scene of reporters grilling the space military officials is so right-on-the-money that it makes one wonder if it’s used as a training guide for FOX News).

Eventually, after a whole lot of nothing goes on (set to a musical score that really can’t decide what genre it’s in), our heroes come face-to-face with a monstrous computer that is hell-bent destroying stuff. Another computer in the movie is called “Wiz”. There’s some space-age cosmic PG-rated sex that needs to be seen to be believed and a silver-skinned bald alien with Spock ears, too. Plastic buttons galore also abound in this flick that served as a perennial fave while I was in junior high. I recorded it on USA late one night and would watch it anytime I needed to sleep. The wonderful sounds of the dubbed dialogue only heighten the trance-like effect.

Neither of these movies are strangers to home video. As a matter of fact, if there was an “Old to Video” shelf, these two films would be there, each and every week. Each films is presented full frame (1.33:1) with English mono stereo sound. Warriors Of The Wasteland is a rather fuzzy and severely-cropped presentation, which cuts off even more information that your usual pan-and-scan job would. Cosmos: War Of The Planets features a better-looking transfer, but since both movies are public domain, you really can’t expect much.

Like most of Alpha Video’s releases, a few bonus trailers and a browse-thru catalogue thingy have been included on the disc. Although this is a Grindhouse Double Shock Show, there aren’t any of those nifty intermission promos that usually accompany such pairings. The big plus here though is the price: it sells for about seven bucks or less.

Another plus here is the cover art. Whoever designed Cosmos: War Of The Planets needs a raise — seriously, it’s a catchy and flashy '50s-style image that makes a dull and boring '70s Italian sci/fi movie that much more interesting-looking.

Price-wise, you can’t beat it.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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