1985 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #2
Keeping with my Albert Pyun theme, tonight I revisited his classic 1985 post apocalyptic comedy, Radioactive Dreams. Again it's another example of a great film that's all too ignored and is still awaiting any kind of restoration. It's a damn shame because Radioactive Dreams is one of Pyun's more outrageous and surreal endeavours. There's no secret that I love his work but I have a particular weakness for his 80s films. This one tells the story of two children who are abandoned by their fathers in a fallout bunker when a great war cripples the earth. All but one of the world's nuclear bombs have been detonated and humankind is almost obliterated. Fifteen years later the boys emerge to a new world of violence, mutants and fringe cities. Having spent their years of exile consumed with 1950's noir literature, the set about becoming private eyes. Throw marauding gangs, cannibals and giant rodents into the mix and you end up with a completely original, mostly bizarre and highly visceral feast for the eyes. Incorporating 1950's style gumshoe characters with a post-apocalyptic setting is both insane and ingenious. The first 10 minutes are presented in black and white with a nice Wizard Of Oz style reveal of colour when these two guys return to the world above. Its unlike any movie I can recall and with the beauty of 1980s practical FX, what you see on screen is real. No CGI and absolute interaction between the actors and the action. Pyun manages the action and aesthetic masterfully with a dreamlike colour scheme and an industrial punk flavour wrapping itself around gunfights and explosions. The music is also great with lots of power ballads and 80s synth pop. Michael Dudikoff and John Stockwell are fantastic in the leads and their comic attributes are sensibly handled as not to disrupt the more intense moments. You don't get movies like this any more and I urge b-movie lovers to track this one down. The best way to view it is on VHS-transfer, which I quite like. The aged quality lends it a nostalgia that will take any Gen-Xer right back. Hopefully one day, like it's characters, this movie will reemerge from the dingy bunker it languishes in to enjoy a whole new life.