Happy New Year! Earth has been reduced to garbage-strewn radioactive desert in “2019”

By on January 1, 2019

“Planet Earth has been reduced to garbage-strewn radioactive desert inhabited by humans devoid of all hope for the future,” intones a very stentorian voice-announcer in this trailer to the 1983 French-Italian co-production 2019: After the Fall of New York, which sounds about right.

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Okay, so far this year Planet Earth hasn’t been ravaged by nuclear warfare the way it has in cult filmmaker Sergio Martino’s violent action-packed sci-fi horrorshow 2019: After the Fall of New York (Italian: 2019 – Dopo la caduta di New York).

But, hey, it’s only January 1st, so let’s not go thinking we’re all in the clear just yet, you never know with a guy like Trump runnin’ the show.

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A few months ago (on November 26, 2018), Night Flight contributor Bart Bealmear told us about this film — beating us to the punch by several weeks, writing for our friends at Dangerous Minds — where, in his succinct review of 2019: After the Fall of New York, he says the film…

“… was engaging, not terrible, and just crazy enough to hold my attention for 90 minutes. Though there are plot holes, obviously dubbed dialogue, on screen goofs, not so special effects, and scenes that are truly bonkers,” adding that “these ‘faults’ only add to the viewing experience. If you enjoy action-packed ‘80s B-movies set in a dystopian future—which is now just around the corner!—you will not be disappointed.”

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The plot of this excellent example of 1980s-era Italian exploitation cinema — a.k.a. Fireflash and The Fall of New York, from a screenplay by Martino, Ernesto Gastaldi and Gabriel Rossini — was said to have been influenced by John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, one of Night Flight’s faves.

The action takes place twenty years after a thermonuclear war was waged against people of the Inter-American Confederation, and society circa 2019 is now divided the world’s struggling society into two plucky groups of struggling survivors (it turns out this post-apocalyptic world has been devastated by an infection that prevents men from procreating).

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The first group, the Eurax (or maybe the plural form is Euraks, not sure) are evildoers who claim that they’re the leaders of the new world order because they’re the ones who pushed the button which brought everyone else to their knees.

Their evil plan to conquer what remains of the world is to kill any of the survivors from the other side, or capture them and then use them for hideous scientific experiments.

The second group of survivors are members of a rebellious federation called the Pan-American Confederacy, led by the President of the Confederacy (Edmund Purdom).

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We learn that there are a group of survivors in NYC who for some reason have remained immune to contamination, and so a mercenary named “Parsifal” (Michel Sopkiw) is captured by the Pan-Am Confederacy and ordered to venture bravely into the barren wasteland of what was once New York City to rescue the last fertile female survivor, the lovely “Giara” (Valentine Monnier) in order to save the entire human race.

Parsifal does this, of course, with help from a couple of his co-horts, but along the way he has to battle mutants and various other Eurak assholes.

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We understand that there are graphic scenes of rape and murder, so, yeah, not that different from what we see on the late-night TV news these days.

(The junkyard and bus graveyard scenes were filmed in New York City, by the way).

2019: After the Fall of New York features Anna Kanakis, and B-movie regular George Eastman in supporting roles.

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Somewhat confusingly, the back of the original VHS tape box says the “Eurax were victorious due to a giant anti-missile protective bubble. In a desperate mission to steal the secret of the bubble ‘The Blonde’ and ‘The Dwarf’ are transported to Eurax by nuclear submarine. Entering the city through its sewerage [SIC] system, they discover a subterranean sub-human infantile species who thrive on rats and public fornication. ‘The Blonde’ and Mary — the only fertile female left — are captured by the Eurax. Hair-raising adventures take place as a nuclear missle is about to destroy the rest of the old world.”

Yeah, we’re pretty sure a lot of that description was made up by someone extremely high and lazy, which is certainly one way to start off the new year!

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We thought we’d share this one today, considering that it’s the first day of 2019 now.

Tune in to Night Flight a year from now when we obviously will be telling you about 2020: Texas Gladiators (“No mercy! No rules!”)

Unfortunately, to answer the question you’re all probably asking now, sorry, we don’t have 2019: After the Fall of New York streaming on Night Flight Plus, but perhaps we will have it for you one day (and this blog post will be partially written if we do!), but we do have a lot of other great cult films for you to check out.

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Happy New Year, and welcome to the year 2019!

(h/t Bart Bealmear and Dangerous Minds)

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.