WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I know I say this quite often when I start off my reviews, but I feel that this movie warrants me saying it again: running this blog has forced me to come into contact with some very strange films, but S.N.U.B! takes the really bizarre biscuit. And before you think I might be overreacting, I would like you to consider what I believe to be the train of thought that went into making it: take people who look like, act like, and have the social sophistication of the cast of The Only Way Is Essex, tell them to do their best impersonation of the cast from Downton Abbey, and then put them in a situation that is more than just a little reminiscent of the plot from James Herbert’s Domain (minus the giant mutated rats). This, essentially, is what you will be dedicating the next 85 minutes of your life to should you decide to watch this movie. Now, that isn’t to say that it isn’t worth watching just to see how it all pans out, but I do like people to be prepared before they go walking off blindly into something.
We begin our misdirected adventure by following a group of soldiers out on an anti-terrorism assignment who are being hotly pursued by an under-prepared orchestra. The government has received word that someone might have planted a 20-megaton nuclear bomb somewhere in down town London (because it’s dead easy to just carry one of those around on you), and these highly untrained men are going to do their best to save the population, should the threat prove to be real. It turns out the threat is real, and the soldiers discover the bomb hidden inside a tiny metal briefcase. They bring in their most panicky and shaky member of staff to try and diffuse the bomb, but he’s never come across something like this before (again, because people don’t usually just leave nuclear weapons lying around, I imagine training with them is a little bit tricky), so he cuts the wrong wire. KABOOM!!! There goes London, all in one giant mushroom cloud.
Thankfully, while the British government doesn’t appear to have trained soldiers, an emergency plan, or an evacuation plan, they do happen to have a terribly unprepared Secret Underground Nuclear Bunker. All of the equipment in there is still from the Cold War so, while it isn’t tremendously helpful in keeping people alive, I imagine it would appeal to all of the hipster survivors who managed to make it inside. Having managed to get all of 7 people inside when the bomb went off (one of which is a minor government functionary who immediately tries to take control of the situation), these survivors band together with the three soldiers, the one communications director, and the one maintenance man who were already inside and try to figure out how they are going to weather this particular hell storm.
Oh yeah – the other problem with the bunker? It didn’t really come with a maintenance plan, so the life support machinery is REALLY old and gets clogged at the first sign of a human corpse falling into it. So there’s the problem of not being able to breathe when the 11 survivors use up all the oxygen in the labyrinthine bunker in a matter of hours (how heavily are they breathing?). Then there’s the issue of hierarchy, which really teaches us that, in the event of nuclear war, paper pushers with God complexes should be the first to be thrown into the mushroom cloud. Yet another issue is the prison right near by which housed Britain’s most dangerous criminals. They’ve escaped the prison thanks to the blast and have suffered from some minor instantaneous mutations and are now trying to push their way into the bunker through its many, many unsealed openings. But not to worry, if all of this becomes too tense for you to watch, it’s intermittently broken by scenes of two of the survivors indulging in flirtation that’s as subtle as being slapped through the face with a wet trout.
If all of this doesn’t convince you to watch it, then I don’t know what will 🙂
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Americans do like their underground bunkers to be up to date with the latest trends in home décor.
- The British Ministry of Defence never thinks to take steps to out-manoeuvre people with laminated pieces of paper getting past security check points.
- Underground government facilities are no place for children or goldfish.
- The easiest way to control the rodent population in an underground bunker is with a military-issued machine gun.
- Bureaucracy dictates that if bunker survivor quotas are surpassed, excess survivors must be jettisoned into the radioactive wasteland.
- Despite spending so much time on their backs, sluts still need plenty of rest.
- During times of crisis it is incredibly important to revert to Victorian-style gender differences.
- If you pedal a bike fast enough you can easily out-ride radiation poisoning.
- There’s absolutely no security risk in letting the country’s most dangerous criminals help set up top-secret underground government facilities.
- Government focus groups indicate that children make excellent decoys when mutated prisoners are invading your underground bunker.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Good God I love movies that fail as epically as this one did! Rarely does one find a movie that attempts to mash together as many genres as The Collapsed did, but in its attempt to be a horror-thriller-drama-sci-fi-mystery ultimate combo, it proved that it couldn’t pull even one of those elements off. I’m not a movie snob (as this site will well attest to), but I do believe that if you’re going to make an end of the world movie, you can only really go one of two ways: option one is to have a big budget so you can make it really convincing or, option two, you make it cheesy enough to distract the audience from the lack of budget. Here, The Collapsed does it wrong again: it wants to be a very serious end of the world movie, but with no budget for the necessary mayhem and destruction. Couple all of this with several attempts on behalf of the director to make the film look artsy and all you’re left with are 82 minutes of unrelenting pain and mind-numbing boredom.
So it’s the end of the world; how it’s the end of the world you’re never going to find out, but ‘the government’, ‘conspiracy’, ‘weapons we’ve never even heard of’ and ‘the horror’ are all phrases being thrown around by survivors of this invisible apocalypse. Our story follows dad Scott, mom Emily, and siblings Aaron and Rebecca as they attempt to find safety and supplies in amongst the few apartment fires and the occasional cannibal that are ravaging their generic movie city. Dad has the strangest accent I’ve ever heard come out of a human being (although I imagine it’s quite similar to how a Swedish person imitating a Canadian accent would sound), but despite this inherent flaw in his being he’s decided that the only way he’s gonna keep his family alive is to make a break for the wilderness. Because nothing bad ever happens when you run off into the woods in a horror movie.
Getting to the wilderness, however, is going to require that the family does a little road trip. This is set up in such a way that it’s as painful to watch as it would be to do an actual road trip with your own family. Thrown in for not-so-good measure is a half-baked plot point about Scott and Emily’s other son, who apparently has gone missing. He’ll be thrown into conversation every now and then, but since we never see him it doesn’t really matter. Along the way the family discovers an abandoned little shop and decide to stop in and pick up some supplies; this is when things start to go very badly for them. While they’re doing a little shopping and Mom’s taking a bath in a sink, a group of heavily armed men wearing gas masks arrive as well. Making a very slow and blundering escape, the group makes for the surrounding woods, hoping it will provide them with a little safety and respite.
Naturally, the woods offer no protection whatsoever. Our family is still pursued by various groups of crazies, supplies are running low, and there are strange sounds and voices coming from the trees. To judge by the musical score, they’re also being relentlessly pursued by a group of poorly trained trumpeters and cellists, but that’s a separate issue entirely. As members of the family are slowly picked off by the different forces out to get them, Swedish-Canadian Dad needs to think of the best way to keep what remains of his family alive until they can escape this wilderness and find the supposedly safer wilderness he has in mind. Of course, not all enemies out to get you are necessarily mortal with a corporeal form…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t have manners.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that feminine hygiene should be any less of a priority.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean the risks of teenage smoking should be taken any less seriously.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that grave-digging techniques should suffer.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an old-fashioned rifle that doesn’t blow up in your hand.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that revenge still isn’t a dish best served cold.
THE COLLAPSED TRAILER
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Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Horror / Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 2.8 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
No 1987-themed month would be complete without throwing in a little post-apocalyptic sci-fi gem and I think the devil himself might have sent this one up just to play with me a little. Thankfully Satan and I can have a good laugh about these things so when he tripled dared me to watch Creepozoids starring Linnea Quigley I told him it was on! And so I sat for 70 or so minutes with highly processed butter-flavoured popcorn at the ready and watched with great amusement as this little movie tried to limp itself along to a place called ‘something half-decent’. Sadly it never quite made it to its destination and all that remains is the rotting corpse of half-a-dozen people’s acting careers.
The year is 1998 and, in the wise words of Crow T Robot, we’re trapped in our old future. 6 years have passed since the outbreak of World War III and planet Earth is in a very sorry state indeed. Playing on what I imagine must have been the fears surrounding the USSR the Super Powers of the world have declared all-out nuclear warfare, devastating the planet and leaving enormous parts of it completely uninhabitable. Apart from the obvious problems like trying to secure a reliable food source most parts of the world are now being ravaged by highly caustic acid rain that destroys absolutely everything it comes into contact with. To keep the war going the US, whose centre of government is New Los Angeles (no word on what happened to the old one), simply drafts people into the army and sends them to the frontline. Those unwilling to fight are lined up and shot. This is kind of where the storyline takes off and we are introduced to 5 military deserters making their way through a ruined city of some sort. They need to stay low to ensure that nobody catches them but, unfortunately, they find themselves right in the path of a rather nasty acid storm, whereupon they seek shelter in one of the many abandoned buildings around them. While they are hopelessly trapped in there until the storm passes they seem to have been in a little luck as the place is quite well kitted out with all of the essentials: food, clothing, bedding, electricity and, most importantly, a two-man shower (see photo). To begin with everything seems to be absolutely perfect but, as is always the case in a b-grade movie, this building holds a very dark secret of its own down in its cave of a basement.
As it turns out the reason this building is so well kitted out is because it used to be a military seat of operation where they were carrying out some experiments that may not have been entirely ethical. In an attempt to make the ultimate soldier the scientists based here were trying to make it so that their human guinea pigs could synthesise their own amino acids, meaning that the soldiers would no longer be reliant on a food source because they could make everything they needed in their own bodies. The side effect of this little experiment is a hideously deformed and violently territorial creature living in the basement who occasionally pops up through the air conditioning ducts to attack someone with its enormous mandibles and razor-sharp, see-through teeth. It doesn’t necessarily seem to want to kill anyone but rather inject them with the same serum it was. It would appear, however, that second-hand monster serum has some troubling side effects of its own and anyone infected starts to blow up like a balloon and ooze blood and bile from everywhere. In a toss-up between that fate or being slowly melted by the acid rain our intrepid little band of deserters needs to find a way to kill the beast before finding the password to the highly advanced computer system and playing a game of Pong.
This movie was shot in 15 days in an abandoned warehouse on a budget of $150 000. Now by 1987 standards that’s not necessarily bad money, but then make a slasher. This movie needed special effects, not some guy in a plastic bug suit and harness suspended from the roof (58 minutes in – take a look).
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Despite the complete collapse of society and acid rain everywhere electrical equipment will remain perfectly functional for decades.
- Having World War III break out in 1992 tragically means that computer technology will never have the chance to develop to any useful stage.
- “Let’s shag it!” is not a good general catch phrase when all you really want is for people to move quickly.
- In troubled times an open air vent will provide some lonely soul with the only answers he’s ever had.
- During troubled times and an imminent attack by mutant rats women just want to have a quick shower.
- A 286 DOS computer requires years of expert training in order to use it properly.
- The armies of our old future will be filled with soldiers who can never hear when danger is coming.