Billing itself as a “micro graphic novella,” 2016’s Twin Bed was the first published cartooning from Paper Rocket Mini Comics proprietor Robyn Chapman in a good number of years, and there’s a fun air of formal experimentation to it throughout : the publication comes packaged in a paper “slipcase” illustrated to look like a quilt that the reader “uncovers” to get at the book itself, and the story is constructed as a series of roughly 100 single-panel-per-page images that feature a static background (that being a guy’s bedroom) with Chapman’s two unnamed protagonists positioned differently over/within said unchanging space. It’s a choice that no doubt saved the cartoonist a little bit of time when it came to drawing the thing, sure, but it’s also a bold and risky one — after all, if the narrative and the characters’ actions aren’t interesting, the whole thing could get pretty old pretty fast.
Land of Doom takes place after the “final war.” If you’ve ever seen an 80s Road Warrior rip-off, you know all about the final war. It was the war that destroyed society and everyone always says that there’s nothing left to say about it. Regardless of which film you’re watching, the final war always leads to people getting mohawks, wearing leather, and riding motorcycles. Phantom of the Opera-style half masks also become popular after the final war. The world becomes a rough place after it ends.
Land of Doom follows all of the typical post-apocalyptic rules, except that the main warrior is a disillusioned woman instead of a cynical man. Call it Mad Maxine. Harmony (Deborah Rennard) is a warrior who is making her way through the desert, searching for a possibly nonexistent paradise. When Harmony first meets Anderson (Garrick Dowhen), she doesn’t want anything to do with him but then Anderson saves her from a rattlesnake so she is now obligated to let him tag along with her. It turns out that Anderson has been exiled from another community and the new head of that community, Slater (Daniel Radell), is determined to kill him. Anderson believes in a world of equality while Slater doesn’t. It never makes sense for Slater to waste time and resources trying to kill Anderson since Anderson is already voluntarily leaving but I guess the final war destroyed logic along with everything else.
It’s a typical post-apocalyptic romp. Harmony and Slater run through the desert while being pursued by a bunch of bikers who look like they should be in a Damned cover band. There’s a lot of stunts and a lot of violence but there’s not a lot of plot or consistency. It you’re into low-budget Road Warrior rip-offs, it’s a good enough way to pass the time. Deborah Rennard is a credible heroine as Harmony and everyone else in the cast overacts to such an extent that it’s more fun to watch than it should be. You may be tempted to compare the film, with its female warrior to Mad Max: Thunder Road but don’t do it. Land of Doom never puts as much thought into its storyline or its themes as any of the Mad Max films did. Land of Doom is brainless fun.
It may not be the greatest film ever made about the end of society but it’s sometimes entertaining and it’s probably the best we can hope for after the final war.
119 years ago today, Gary Cooper was born in Helena, Montana.
Cooper was an actor who, for many viewers, represented the American ideal. He played characters who were strong and modest and who refused to compromise their principles. Though Gary Cooper appeared in many films over the course of his career, he is probably destined to be forever associated with High Noon. In this classic western, Cooper plays Will Kane, the marshal who finds himself abandoned by almost everyone when a group of killers come to town looking to kill him. The film is often seen as being a commentary on the 1950s Red Scare. Cooper, who was a committed anti-Communist and about as conservative as anyone in Hollywood, stood up for the film’s screenwriter, the blacklisted Carl Foreman and threatened to walk off the picture when it appeared that Foreman’s writing credit might be removed. That was what a huge part of Cooper’s appeal. He did the right thing, even if it meant standing up for someone with whom he didn’t agree. There aren’t many Gary Coopers left today, are there?
Below, we have the final scene of High Noon, in which the cowardly townspeople finally come to support Marshal Kane. Kane, disgusted by their actions, can only throw away his star and leave town. Even without dialogue, Cooper lets you know exactly what is going through Kane’s mind. It’s a great scene from a great film featuring a great actor.
Though this song originally came out in 1974, the animated music video is from 1979. This song was the first so-called “electro-pop” song to chart in both the UK and the US. The album version of this song lasts for a full 22 minutes and it’s meant to recreate the feeling of actually driving on the Autobahn, the German highway system that, for the most part, does not have any mandated speed limits. (Parts of the Autobahn that go through cities do have speed limits. Other parts of the Autobahn have a “suggested” speed limit of 81 MPH but the suggestion is not legally enforced.) Originally, the band tried to record the sound of actual cars passing them on the Autobahn but when the recordings turned out to be less than satisfactory, they instead used synthesizers to create the feel of passing cars.