Action Movie Fanatix Review: Land of Doom

Land of Doom banner

…A 21st Century Mad Land!

Starring: Deborah Rennard, Garrick Dowhen, Frank Garret, Richard Allen, Aykut Duz

Director: Peter Maris

1986  |  87 Minutes  |  Not Rated

“I’m nobody’s woman!” – Harmony

I knew Land of Doom was going to be good as soon as I saw the title treatment in the opening credits.  It’s a camera shot slowly zooming out to reveal “LAND OF DOOM” made out of studded rock and once the entire title is revealed it explodes.  YES!!!  Let’s get this show on the road!!!

The Earth was ravaged by the Final War and the tough and beautiful Harmony (Deborah Rennard) has joined forces with Anderson (Garrick Dowhen) to escape the roving motorcycle gangs in hopes of finding paradise.

Land of Doom has all the necessary components to make up a great post-apocalyptic movie.  Great heroes, great villains, crazy vehicles and lots of leather.

We are introduced to both Anderson and Harmony at the same time but it’s dark and Anderson is injured so we will get to know them both better in the morning.  The sun comes up and both of them were apparently transported to a different cave.  If it hasn’t hit you already it is even more obvious once the sun comes up.  Anderson is a dead ringer for Bruce Campbell.  It also turns out that Anderson is the only male that didn’t turn all rapey, pillagey and cannibalistic after the Final War.  Ash, as it turns out, kind of sucks.  Now I know how chicks feel when women always have to be saved by men.  Anderson would have been dead at the very start of the movie (and roughly every 15 minutes afterward) if it weren’t for Harmony constantly saving him.

Needless to say, Harmony is the real hero of Land of Doom.  I am far from a women’s lib activist but it is sorta nice to see a woman tougher than a man in post-apoc for once.  Women are usually wearing low cut shirts and need to be rescued every couple minutes and that isn’t Harmony at all.  In fact, she never wears anything like the leather number she is sporting on the poster.  This is the Action Movie Freak’s kinda woman.  When one of the bad guys ties Anderson up and tries to rape Harmony she doesn’t wait for Anderson to free himself, she simply grabs a rock and smashes the baddies skull in.

Since I pointed out that Harmony doesn’t wear the outfit from the poster, I wanted to take this chance to point out the crazy flawed VHS cover that adorned my copy.  This seems to show Anderson wearing the gear of the main bad guy and has transformed Harmony into a Red Sonja looking warrior.

Land of Doom VHS front

The roaming, raiding motorcycle gangs are clad in all kinds of leather, armor and crazy hair.  The lispy big bad bossman, Slater, even wears a leather ½ mask and has blonde hair with a brown streak running through.  Kind of a reverse skunk look.  He tops that off with a baby blue cape and a fully armored left arm.  If you wore this much leather any where else but post-apocalyptica you would be deemed kinky.  Not so after a nuclear war.  It’s a necessity.

The vehicles are all sufficiently decked out with random pieces of metal welded to their frames.  Most don’t look particularly menacing but at least the added weight made the motorcycles visibly harder to drive.

The acting is horrible in nearly every scene but for some reason it is acceptable.  It just didn’t bother me one bit.

The action isn’t quite as good as it could have been.  There could have been more explosions or flamethrower turrets but it did just enough to get by.

The soundtrack is super cheesy but it’s tons of fun.  The ending would have been extremely disappointing if it weren’t for the title song that plays at the end.  I just had to check the credits for it.  It is called Harmony’s Land of Doom by Jackie Lee.  “Harmony.  The Raiders want to get her.  Harmony.  Can anyone protect her?  In this Land of Doom.  Shoop!  Land of Doom!”  I was rockin’ out too much to care that the end didn’t wrap up anything.  All the bad guys are still alive.

Apparently there was a sequel in some stage of development that ultimately got canceled.  It’s too bad.  I would have liked to see where the Land of Doom goes.  I really enjoyed it despite all its flaws.  Don’t try to figure out why I do or don’t enjoy certain movies.  I haven’t been able to figure it out yet.

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