You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...
'Warrior of the Lost World' - 1983, Directed by David Worth
Despite the director's name, I'm pretty sure this is an Italian film, and boy did the Italians like ripping off 'Mad Max' in the 80's. For those who are unfamiliar, the 'Mad Max' trilogy introduced America to an actor by the name of Mel Gibson, who was at this time a z-movie actor in Australian flicks. The films feature a dystopian story about post-WWIII motorcycle outlaws and stuff like that, which is apparently how a LOT of folks in the 80's thought the future would be.
While I am a fan of the original 'Mad Max' movies, I also think that some of the ripoffs are a lot better. And boy, are there a LOT of them...A good amount of these were created by Italian film producers, too, for whatever reason. 'Warrior of the Lost World' is one of these, and while I wouldn't say it's one of the 'best' 'Mad Max' ripoffs, it's certainly one of the most entertaining.
So, you've got your basic motorcycle dude who doesn't play by the rules. His motorcycle is a 'futuristic' intelligent machine that talks to him in an annoying high-pitched voice...kind of like Kitt from 'Knight Rider' except way way wrong. It should also be noted that there are two groups of people...the Elders, who are the good guys, and the bad guys, led by the evil Prossor. We know the difference because the bad guys all dress the same, and they 'show no emotion,' whatever that means, because Prossor definitely DOES laugh maniacally a few times.
Oh, I forgot...there are also the savage people who want nothing to do with either side of the fight. Although most of them are barbaric losers who spend their time fighting in the desert, The Rider (as he's called in the credits) is pretty smart and suave (obviously.) So, he's pretty surprised when he stumbles into the Elders' secret city and is called 'the chosen one.' They want him to rescue a doctor who is their main source of inspiration, and he wants nothing of it. Then, the doctor's daughter threatens to shoot him (some peaceful society) and he changes his mind.
You can pretty much guess the rest, so I won't elaborate any further, but there are a couple surprises and some ridiculous dialog (I'm guessing because I saw an English dub.)
And, while the film itself is pretty stupid, there are some really great scenes, and they picked some cool locations to shoot in. Maybe it's just the crazy Italian architecture, but it doesn't LOOK like a crappy b-movie. Despite all the movie's failings as far as plot go, I was still pretty entertained. Plus, there is some cool commentary on 'art' by way of a performance in the bad guys' city.
You could do a lot worse than this one...for example, 'Roller Blade.'
VHS photo by Toby Hudson.