Release Date(s)1982 (January 23, 2018)
Studio(s)The Nautilus Film Company (VCI Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: C
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: A
Filmed on a shoe-string budget, The Aftermath (also known as Zombie Aftermath) is an ambitious piece of filmmaking. Written, produced, directed, edited, and starring Steve Barkett, it appears to have been inspired by Mad Max and The Hills Have Eyes. However, it stands well on its own with plenty of over-the-top violence, while still incorporating elements from both films for its own brand post-apocalyptic thriller.
Astronauts Newman (Steve Barkett) and Matthews (Larry Latham) return from an away mission and are forced to crash land on Earth, unaware that it has been destroyed by nuclear war. They soon discover that civilization has been wiped out and that Los Angeles has been taken over by Cutter (Sid Haig) and his gang of ruthless, sadistic bikers. While exploring the ruins of the city, Newman befriends a young boy (Christopher Barkett) and three women (Laura Anne Barkett, Lynne Margulies, and Linda Stiegler). After taking refuge outside of the city, Cutter and his gang attack them all, leading Newman to seek revenge, or has he calls it, “justice.”
While not the most original idea in the world, The Aftermath is an amazing ride into a grim future, loaded with action, graphic gore effects, and beautiful matte paintings (courtesy of Jim Danforth). It’s also easily one of Sid Haig’s best roles as he portrays an incredibly vicious character without any restraint. Despite the wooden performances, it has more charm and innovation than simply sitting behind a computer and creating CGI effects. Fans of monster movies and Roger Corman should also keep their eyes peeled for Forrest J. Ackerman and Dick Miller.
VCI Entertainment and MVD Visual team up to bring The Aftermath to Blu-ray for the first time. According to the reverse artwork, “this Blu-ray edition of The Aftermath from VCI Entertainment was meticulously remastered in 2K high definition in 2017 from the original 35mm cut camera negative and was step frame copied one frame at a time for the ultimate in clarity and color value.” While there are a few inconsistencies in regards to color and contrast, it’s quite beautiful overall. Hues, in more cases than not, are absolutely vivid with excellent textures and sharp details. Daytime scenes are well-polished and look simply fantastic. Grain is also apparent throughout, maintaining a film-like appearance. This release also boasts an English 2.0 mono LPCM track with optional subtitles in English SDH. It’s crisp and clear with moments that are overwhelming due to loud shotguns, explosions, and screaming victims. There are a couple of infrequent popping sounds along the way, but outside of that, there are no serious issues aurally.
The Aftermath also has an excellent set of extras, beginning with an audio commentary by Steve and Chris Barkett; Original Laserdisc Extras, which has a variety of bonus items from the Barkett family, among other people involved with the film; Night Caller, a short post- apocalyptic film, lasting just over twenty minutes; Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which is an hour’s worth of the film’s music presented in 2.0 LPCM; an Empire of the Dark promo; the film’s trailer; and a DVD copy with all of the same content.
Despite some of its obvious shortcomings, The Aftermath does not disappoint and will hold your interest for the entire ninety-five minute runtime. With a plethora of bonus materials and a nice Blu-ray presentation, it’s safe to get rid of the previous MOD release from 2014. Highly recommended!
- David Steigman