The New Barbarians (1983)

Director: Enzo G. Castellari

Now Isaac Asimov held that science fiction was not so much a genre unto itself, rather that it was a kind of flavour you applied to other genres. This film is actually a good illustration of that principle; indeed, right from the start I felt it was, at its core, a western (the opening scene really is Indians circling the wagons, isn’t it), albeit an obviously mutated one. Not just because Castellari’s roots were in spaghetti westerns (he made one of the last, Keoma, in 1976), but just because it felt that way (and I was right, too, Castellari actually calls it a “future western” on the DVD commentary)… even though, frankly, no western I know of ever dressed it characters like THIS:

I don’t often resort to pictures on this blog, but for once I had to; trying to describe those togs in words is something I don’t think I could’ve done…

Anyway, it’s the year 2019, the apocalypse has been and gone, not much of humanity is left, and one particular portion of the survivors is determined to wipe the rest out. The logic of the Templars (the white-suited freaks in the top picture) is that, since humanity caused the nuclear war, it’s up to the Templars to avenge the world by killing off what’s left of humanity… and since the Templars themselves are evidently as gay as fuck, there’s no danger of them adding to the stock. It’s up to a renegade Templar, aided by Fred Williamson’s explosive bow and arrow and the irritating kid from that Fulci film (dubbed just as badly in this one too), to save a group of religious idiots in search an apparent outpost of civilisation from being stopped en route by George Eastman’s army of padded pooves and WTF wigs. Really, this is about as trashy as Eurotrash gets; I always thought the trailer made it look special, and it surely is in many ways… not the least preposterous thing about it is the remarkable way no one in this post-apocalyptic world seems to have any trouble finding fuel for their vehicles. Hugely silly but undeniably entertaining stuff…

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