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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: America 3000

April 9, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
America 3000

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #550: America 3000

Post-Apocalyptic April: Week 2

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never worn a gold glitter jacket because, let’s face it, there’s no way in hell I could pull it off, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and fifty (550!), Post-Apocalyptic April continues with the sci-fi action comedy America 3000, which hit movie screens in North America in April of 1986.

America 3000


America 3000, written and directed by David Engelbach, is one of those movies where, when you watch it for the first time, you’re confused about what the hell is going on. You think you understand it but, really, you don’t. When it’s over, though, and you start thinking about it, you want to watch it again because you’re sure you probably missed something incredibly important. So you watch it again and you do notice things you didn’t notice before, but, no, you didn’t miss anything that actually makes the movie make sense. You will also marvel at the care that went into creating the post-apocalyptic world on display, from the costume and set design to the made up language the character use, and you’ll wish the movie was just better than it is because you don’t want it to be bad. It is kind of bad, though. Incredibly interesting and kind of cool, yes, but it’s bad.

America 3000 takes place in a world where, in 1992, the United States and Soviet Russia waged a nuclear against one another that destroyed everything. Close to 900 years later, what’s left of America (at least what’s left of America in the Rocky Mountain west, because I think the movie takes place in what once was Denver, Colorado) is ruled by a roving band of badass women who have made men their bitches. Men are either made into labor slaves, sex slaves, or they’re killed. There are some men who are sort of like cavemen, but for the most part whatever’s left of maledom in the area is run by the women. Chuck Wagner stars as Korvis, a man who manages to break away from the female rulers and who then goes on the run with his friend Kruss (William Wallace) and, eventually, links up with a gang of escaped men who want to create their own male centric society.

While all of that is going on, Vena (Laurene Landon), is made the new leader of the women after the previous leader is killed in battle. Vena is immediately undercut by Morha (Sue Giosa), a visiting female leader from a different group of females somewhere else. Morha tries to get control of Vena’s group so she can then install her own handpicked leader (and I believe that is Lakella, as played by Victoria Barrett, although I could be wrong about that). Vena sort of suspects that she’s being undercut and preyed upon, but she’s also new to leading and is trying to find her footing. Vena also wants to believe in the goodness of the sisterhood or whatever the hell they call the overarching scheme that rules the known world.

Now, one of the myths that seem to hold the female group together involves the eventual return of the President, who they believe will somehow make the world whole again or some bullshit. The men seem to believe in this idea, too, but likely because that’s what the women taught them to believe. Or maybe I’m wrong and it’s a common assumption everywhere in the area. The President will return one day, and all will be right with the world again.

So some stuff happens, there are chases and brawls and whatnot, and Korvis gets lost in the desert and stumbles upon a secret U.S government bunker that has remained untouched for close to nine centuries. It’s here that Korvis discovers old future tech, like laser rifles, and boxes of grenades. He also finds a sparkling gold decontamination suit, an old boom box radio, and a video recording that explains how the end of the world really happened. While checking out all of this stuff, Korvis hatches a plan to make everyone think he’s the President and then get both men and women together again. Or something like that.

There’s no real plot to be had in America 3000, at least one that an average moviegoer might recognize. After about thirty minutes or so you realize that you’re watching a movie where things just happen and you have to just go with it. Visually, you get the sense that writer/director Engelbach and company spent a lot of time putting the look of the world together. The costumes, the weapons, the bits and pieces of the old world that somehow still exist and are functional, it all makes a kind of sense. The characters also use a specific kind of language that, even after it’s sort of explained via voice over from Korvis, is still hard to understand. Poogats is a bad word in this new world, as are plastic and nuke. When it comes to men, “machos” are used for labor, “seeders” are used for procreation and mindless sex (there seems to be an implied “women make love to other women and it’s beautiful, while you have sex with a man and it’s for making more women or, you know, fun), and there’s a third word used for beta male lame ass men that I didn’t catch. The men call women fraus (or maybe it’s frows). Women don’t like that word. There are other words but I didn’t catch those ones, either. What’s interesting about the language is that it probably makes more sense written as opposed to something someone says, like in a novel. There would be a narrator explaining shit. As the language exists in the movie, again, it’s hard to understand but it’s also kind of cool that Engelbach sticks with it throughout the movie. He really has created a world.

The overall tone of the movie is uneven. Sometimes the movie wants to be serious, sometimes it wants to be silly, and sometimes it just sort of exists. Had the movie picked one tone and stuck with it until the end the movie might have been more successful. Maybe. It certainly wouldn’t have been as weird as it is. At the same time, I don’t know if I would want to see a full on comedy in this world. I’m not sure it would work at all.

I mean, take a look at the Aargh the Awful (Steve Malovic), the hairy mutant ape monster thing that, when we first see it, is the final stage in the female warrior trials. If you’re a potential female warrior, the last thing you have to do is fight and escape the clutches of Aargh. If you do that you get to be a warrior. Aargh is huge and, size wise, is imposing. The creature’s face, though, is ridiculous. It’s just not scary. And Aargh is the movie in a nutshell. Aargh is many things happening at once and none of them make any sense but it’s still kind of interesting.

The movie’s action scenes are well done and reasonably exciting. The final battle between the men and women is a wild, full scale brawl where no one is safe and must have been insane to put together. There are hand to hand brawls, horse stunts, crossbow and laser gun battles, and explosions everywhere. There are also multiple neck breaking scenes that will creep you out because they’re cruel. And it goes both ways, with men and women breaking one another’s necks.

And then there’s the bunker that’s filled with old video games and shit that helps date the movie as from the 1980’s. You’ll also wonder how, 900 years later, any of that shit still works. How is that even possible, even if there’s some sort of nuclear power source at work? The movie doesn’t explain any of this, at least I don’t think it does. Of course, maybe the whole “900 years in the future” thing is wrong and it’s closer to one hundred years? That would make more sense. Or maybe two hundred years? I’d buy that.

Chuck Wagner does a decent job as Korvis. He doesn’t come off as the “usual” post-apocalyptic movie hero but then that isn’t necessarily who he is supposed to be. Korvis sort of falls into being the movie’s main hero. He doesn’t have much chemistry with Laurene Landon, though, which is a bit of a problem at the end of the movie. Still, Wagner is kind of cool and does an interesting job with the part.

Laurene Landon also does a decent job as Vena. She’s totally committed to the part and she manages to sell all of the weird language she’s forced to say. She doesn’t get to do as much action as you’d think she’d get to do, but what she does get to do is fun stuff. If you’ve seen the Electric Boogaloo documentary you know that Landon hates this movie (she actually burns a VHS copy of the movie in the documentary). She would probably never do it, but I would love to hear a full commentary track on a Blu-ray or DVD from Landon where she just rips the movie to shreds. I bet that would end up being commentary track of the year.

Sue Giosa is fantastic as Morha, mostly because she knows how to make Morha a total jerk. And Morha is a total jerk from the second she shows up. Victoria Barrett does the same with Lakella. And Steve Malovic does an amazing job in the Aargh the Awful suit. It must have been insanely warm in that thing.

America 3000 isn’t a great or even good post-apocalyptic movie. It is an interesting one. It makes no sense, you end up immersing yourself in the world of the characters, but you’ll never completely understand it. You should still track it down and check it out, though. It’s worth experiencing at least once in your life. Or twice. You will really want to watch it again just to see if it makes sense.

Yeah. Make sense. Ha.

See America 3000. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: It has to be at least 30.

Explosions: Multiple.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: Men being whipped, men being dragged by horses, forced branding, crossbow arrow through the back, razor Frisbee throwing, a pretty rocking soundtrack for some reason, a metal case full of clothes, wall building, a horse caravan, rock throwing, multiple crossbow attacks, chest stabbing, slow motion dropkick and neck breaking, multiple beatings via clubs, gut stabbing, neck scratching, blade sharpening, dead body throwing, scrounging for supplies and food and whatnot, off screen tongue removal, a sort of knife ceremony, a segmented tuning fork necklace, a big female tribe meeting, a big hooha night celebration, implied lesbianism, strangulation, more neck breaking, bread theft, booze drinking, sack to the gut, arrow to the gut, fall through a giant hole in the ground, wandering around, a rotting dead body at a computer screen, laser rifles, multiple spinning grenades, grenade smelling, hairspray hooey, comic book hooey, off screen explosion caused by men fucking around with grenades like a bunch of fucking idiots, seriously awkward bondage sex, death by laser rifle, sky flares, gold suit hooey, exploding dummy, an attempted power grab, knife to the back, face touching, hair smelling, forehead touching, off screen sex, grenade attack, smoke grenade attack, horse tramping, multiple explosions, multiple horse falls, a wicked back breaker, double nogaknocker, double gut stomp, club to the head, back slicing, shooting arrows into the ground, and an awkward celebratory dance.

Kim Richards?: Attempted or implied. Sort of.

Gratuitous: Almost 900 years into the future, a new language, a somewhat snarky voiceover narration, Camp Reagan, Laurene Landon, Laurene Landon using a whip, a sort of sasquatch looking mutant thing, multiple solemn swears, women using men for target practice, beating the Russkies in a war that killed damn near everyone but at least America won, boom box, talking to a very dead body, waggos, fuzzy dice, a spinning globe, video games that still work, a big final fight, and an awkward celebratory dance.

Best lines:”I’m a man,” “To the fraus, all men were poogats,” “I’m cold. Real cold,” “Rhea, please, I don’t want to be the Tiara!,” “Effin fraus! Nuke’em all!,” “I won’t leave any man behind,” “This attack is plastic for us,” “Oh, plastic, what a day. You’re on your own,” “After you, Tiara,” “From that moment on I gained a new respect for the written word,” “Arms?,” “You’re not the first woman to get seeded,” “The President!,” “It’s a trick! A cold ploogot trick!,” “Thunder rocks. Easy. I know where to get them,” “Save your heat for the ploogot!,” “Stop calling me frau! I am a woman!,” “I’m a man,” “This will be a cold surprise for the fraus,” “My hat!,” “Is this what you want? More nuking?,” and “Maybe there was something else women and men could do besides nuking and fighting. And I was about to find out.”

Rating: 6.5/10.0


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Things to Watch Out For


Dead by Dawn: This new low budget horror flick comes off as seriously fucked up, at least in terms of its plot. It’s about a guy with mental issues (he’s suicidal or something like that) who has to protect a woman from a gang of sexual sadists, and one of the sadists is modern horror star Jamie Bernadette. And that’s interesting because Bernadette starred in the I Spit on Your Grave sequel (the sequel of the original movie, not a sequel of the remake). Definitely worth a rental. And the title? It’s been used a few times and was famously used as the subtitle of Evil Dead II but, really, you can never go wrong with that title. You just can’t. It just sounds mega ominous.


Camp Cold Brook: This low budget horror thriller comes to us from the fine folks at Shout! Factory/Scream Factory and the Shout! Studios outfit, so you know you’re getting a top notch home video presentation regardless of whether or not the movie is any good. However, based on the trailer, the cast (Chad Michael Murray and modern horror icons Danielle Harris and Courtney Gains are the stars), and Joe Dante’s name involved in it somehow, you have to believe this is probably a pretty good movie. I can’t say I’m enthused by the plot (a paranormal research outfit decides to go to an abandoned summer camp to investigate shit and then bad shit starts happening because why wouldn’t it?) but, again, it has enough good stuff buried in its DNA for me to give it a shot.


Echoes of Fear: I saw this at the 2019 Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival and, holy shit, it’s one scary goddamn movie. Now, usually, I find ghost movies to be lame as hell because ghosts are bullshit. And if you’ve seen enough of them you can see all of the jump scares coming a mile away. Echoes of Fear is different. The jump scares come out of nowhere and when they do happen you will jump. And the ghost? Easily the scariest movie ghost I’ve ever seen. When that ghost shows up it will scare the shit out of you. I’m glad that I got to see this in a real deal movie theatre, and I definitely want to see how the ghost plays on a smaller screen. I bet it still kicks ass. You need to see this movie. Absolutely.


Next Issue: Post-Apocalyptic April continues with Warriors of the Wasteland (aka The New Barbarians)!


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

America 3000

Chuck Wagner– Korvis
Laurene Landon– Vena
William Wallace– Gruss
Sue Giosa– Morha
Victoria Barrett– Lakella
Galyn Gorg– Lynka
Steve Malovic– Aargh the Awful

(check out the rest of the cast here

Directed by David Engelbach
Screenplay by David Engelbach

Distributed by The Cannon Group, Inc., Viacom, MGM Home Entertainment, and Shout! Factory.

Rated PG-13 for violence and brief sexual content
Runtime– 92 minutes

Buy it here