Robot Holocaust (1986)
Norris Culf (Neo), Nadine Hartstein (Deeja), Joel Von Ornsteiner (Klyton), Jennifer Delora (Nyla), Angelika Jager (Valaria), Rick Gianasi (Torque),
Sentient Robots/Nuclear Event
“The last city still stood. The remaining home of what was left of the civilization of New Terra. The society had been all but destroyed by the Robot Rebellion of ’33, when the robots had turned on their masters, by the billions. The ensuing chaos had led to a radiation spill far more deadly than any nuclear warfare. The world had been brought to its knees by the… robot holocaust.” – Opening narration.
Continuing in our robot theme of Charles Band’s post-apocalyptic movies, lets go deeper. Robot Holocaust is not a fake sequel to Robot Jox, it is a hilariously bad movie directed by Tim Kincaid (actually Tim Gambiani), a porn director who briefly stopped making adult films for 3 years in the late 80s to make godawful sci-fi movies before doubling down on porn, which he continues to make to this day under the screen name of Joe Gage.
Unless you’re a hardcore Empire buff, the only way you’re likely to know about Robot Holocaust is due to a season 1 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This movie is so shoddily made and hilariously stilted that I thought it might be an Italian film, but nope, this was American from the top down and we can’t blame Claudio Fragasso this time.
So it’s the future and robots have taken over the world, humans are kept in camps as “airslaves.” The leader of the robots, called The Dark One, controls the fresh air supply and uses it to keep the humans constantly working to power him. He stages fights where the two strongest men fight to the death and the winner is killed so as to keep the humans from rising up.
We join one such fight as a bargain-basement C3P0 knockoff pickpockets airslaves who are watching the fight, but he’s caught by our hero, the wasteland warrior Neo who reprograms him to be compliant. Neo watches as The Dark One cuts the air supply and a man and his daughter are unaffected, the daughter fakes it but the man is taken away for interrogation as to why he can still breathe. So Neo, the man’s daughter Deeja, the robot Klyton, and two other random guys set out to The Dark One’s power station where they will save Deeja’s father and stop The Dark One once and for all.
Along our heroes’ journey they shall face mutants, amazons, giant penis hand-puppets with mole-rat teeth, the dreaded BEAST OF THE WEB (it’s in the trailer above, look for a spider web), a weird cyborg snake thing, an H.R. Geiger rendition of Doctor Zoidberg, and The Dark One himself. The party is joined by a bitter Amazon warrior woman, Nyla, and a mute barbarian who is never named making it impossible for me to find him in the credits. Let us call this man Direct-to-Video Conan.
The real villain of the movie is Valaria. Valaria is a dutiful servant of The Dark One and is kept in line with “The Pleasure Chamber” which is introduced in a scene that has no bearing on anything else in the movie and is likely just there because someone realized that Angelika Jager is really hot and willing to do a topless scene. What’s amusing is that somebody decided that this gratuitousness needed to be artful, so while Valaria is in the pleasure chamber we have two random naked people dancing like idiots in silhouette in front of it.
Robot Holocaust is hilarious, you don’t even need to watch the Mystery Science Theater episode to enjoy this movie. I would not be surprised if Kincaid mined a lot of his actors from his *ahem* other career because what occurs in this movie can only generously be called acting. Reactions are delayed and hilariously over or underdone, lines are flubbed and characters stop mid-sentence to breathe or swallow like they’re reading from the script for the first time. Fight scenes are gloriously inept and special effects are goofy, though the gore looks halfway decent. I also have to give a shout-out to costumer Celeste Hines for coming up with some of the silliest wardrobe this side of a Mad Max movie.
Most of what I’m talking about can be previewed in the trailer above but what it doesn’t touch on enough is Valaria. Actress Angelika Jager gives Deborah Reed (the infamous Creedence Leonore Gielgud of Troll 2 fame) a run for her money. Jager has a bizarre speaking voice, I can’t tell if she has an accent, a lisp, or is just hammered. Her acting style can best be summarized as “one daiquiri away from doing Uptown Funk on karaoke in only her bra.” She’s fidgety, looks bored and insolent, and seems to stumble through her lines half the time. She is magnificent.
I know exactly why Jager was hired (if you find women attractive then you likely will too upon watching this) but she is just an epically terrible actress and amusingly enough she probably has more lines than any other character in the movie. Of course The Dark One isn’t a whole lot better as he’s just some guy half-assing a deep menacing voice through what sounds like his own cupped hands.
Our hero Neo barely speaks and makes the wooden acting of a certain other heroic Neo seem quite animated by comparison. Nyla is your typical women’s-lib Amazon and do you think her character arc consists of her deciding to sacrifice herself for a man? You know it does! Klyton is an attempt at a comedic relief sidekick character that barely even manages to seem like he’s trying to be funny. Of all the robot costumes in the movie, Kylton’s is easily the worst by far (and fittingly the most prominently featured.) Straight-to-Video Conan is a doofus and I love him. The story of Deeja and her father is the most boring and worthless part. I can’t even remember why they can breathe the air and I only watched this a couple hours ago.
Robot Holocaust is a garbage production, somewhere in competence between Phoenix the Warrior and Bimbos B.C. on the scale of watchable schlock post-apocalyptic movies. This is one that needs to be revisited as a cult so-bad-it’s-good movie. Few movies of this awful caliber pay off with so many goopy effects, weird scenes, doofy characters, or earnest stupidity or are nearly this watchable so treasure this incompetent gem. This is the exact type of movie that Manborg is imitating, and it’s magical.
Robot Holocaust is not out on DVD in the states which is why my screencaps for this are from a dodgy TV-rip I found on the internet (I watched the movie on youtube) so Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the only legal way to view this film, which all things considered is a pretty good deal.
NEXT TIME ON DOOMSDAY REELS
“Let’s not turn this into a slumber party, okay?”
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