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Exterminators of the Year 3000

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
Scream Factory
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Giuliano Carnimeo
Robert Iannucci
Alicia Moro
Luca Venantini
Fernando Bilbao
Bottom Line: 

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no one was more sincere in its flattery during the 1970s and 80s than Italy. It wasn’t that Italy hadn’t already been churning out its own versions of popular box-office fare prior to the period (look no further than spaghetti westerns, James Bond knock-offs, and Mario Bava’s brilliant gothic horror films which were Italy’s answer to Britain’s Hammer Films), but it wasn’t until the mid-70s, when films like The Exorcist and Steven Spielberg’s Jaws started breaking box-office records, that Italy’s film industry bean counters and producers stood up and took notice. From there began the glut of quick and dirty knock-offs, with seemingly every film that seemingly so much as turned a profit getting its own cheaply-made Italian knock-off.

While studios sued in retaliation (as Universal did for the hilarious Jaws rip-off, Great White), the Italian producers could not be swayed, and for every blockbuster like Indiana Jones, Conan, or The Exorcist we’d get at least a few variants on the themes, with titles like Jungle Raiders, Iron Master, or Beyond the Door.

As Hollywood blockbusters grew more FX-driven and more difficult to effectively ape (as evidenced by the wonderfully cheap and silly attempts at Sci-fi in films like Star Crash) Italy turned its attention to the dusty outback of Australia, where George Miller’s surprise international sensation Mad Max helped to provide Italian producers with one of their most lucrative and cost-efficient knock-off genres – the post-apocalyptic action film (although, to be fair, American independent studios were equally interested in recreating said formula – see – or, better yet, DON’T SEE – 1983’s terrible, terrible Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn)!

Much like the lesser spaghetti westerns and Conan rip-offs, Italy’s post-apocalyptic flicks mostly took place in wide-open expanses of Spanish desert or abundant abandoned European towns where few (if any) sets were required.  Most of the budgets went of these films went into procuring ample amounts of aged vehicles, ragged clothing, and, apparently, lots and lots of hair dye and headbands. While the bulk of these films are but comically pale imitations of Mad Max/The Road Warrior, there are a few worthwhile gems, including Bruno Mattei’s hilarious Rats: Nights of Terror ( Rats - Notte di terrore) (1984), Sergio Martino’s 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983), and, one of my personal favorites, Giuliano Carnimeo’s brutally violent and laugh-out-loud funny Exterminators of the Year 3000 (Il giustiziere della strada), which, as if delivered by the hand of GOD, comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factory!

Borrowing virtually its entire plot from The Road Warrior, Exterminators of the Year 3000 introduces us to a world in which the ozone layer has been destroyed by a nuclear war, resulting in the Earth turning into one big desert. Humanity is now divided into those who huddle together to survive in this brave new world, and those who wish to exploit its (lack of) resources, resulting in splintered factions eking out existences in caves whilst marauding biker gangs patrol the wastelands in search of food, fuel, and water. One of the cave-dwelling clans decides to take another stab at a water-run after the last attempt resulted in the disappearance of one of the community’s members, whom many think amscrayed with their truck and left them high and, quite literally, dry. Said member’s ten year old son, Tommy (Luca Venantini), wants to join this second expedition in hopes of finding his dad and salvaging his family’s reputation, but, being a kid, the community refuses to let him go.  Tommy, however, decides to stow-away in one of the vehicles, and, soon, the expedition is underway, only to be quickly waylaid by Crazy Bull (“Fred Harris” aka Fernando Bilbao) and his funkadelic gang of bikers.

Crazy Bull tortures and kills the water-hunting party, hoping to find the source of water they seek, while Tommy sneaks off with the map to the water supply. As Tommy tries to evade Crazy Bull’s gang, he  happens upon a rolled over police cruiser in which an unconscious occupant, Alien (Robert Iannucci),  is trapped inside. Tommy helps to free Alien from his wreck, but  are soon set upon by Crazy Bull and his men, forcing the lone-wolf mercenary, Alien, to team up with the precocious Tommy, and help bring the water back to his people before Crazy Bull gets to it first.

With hilariously inappropriate dialogue, atrocious acting, and a budget so tight it could even Kim Kardashian would be embarrassed to wear it, Exterminators of the Year 3000 is the perfect specimen of Italian knock-off cinema. Corners are cut seemingly everywhere but the hair and wardrobe departments as even the most hardened of post-apocalyptic survivors sport gloriously coiffed heads of hair and space-age designer duds (just look at Alien’s riveted cummerbund and matching cadet-style leather jacket! Ooh La La, indeed!). It’s head-spinningly, gloriously bad stuff, and, when paired with the right intoxicants, makes for a howlingly funny viewing experience that screams to be shared (by force, if necessary).

Scream Factory bring EOTY3K to Blu-ray in a fairly solid 1080p 1.85:1 transfer that, like the film, highlights the low budget and lack of regard given these films in terms of posterity. Given the source, the transfer’s not bad, if not a bit a touch too grainy at times. The image is a bit soft around the edges, as well, making detail somewhat muddied save for a few exceptionally well-lit close-ups. Overall, this is the best the film has looked on any medium, and I seriously doubt we’ll see much better anytime soon. The accompanying 2.0 DTS HD Master audio track is perfectly adequate, and suits the film perfectly. This is a horribly dubbed mess of a movie, filled with canned sound effects, and a bombastic Italian action score that drowns out most of the action anyway. 

While not an especially loaded disc, Scream Factory were able to drum up a few cool extras, including an all-new interview with Robert Ianucci, as well as a feature length commentary with the star. Rounding out the bonus features are the film’s trailer and TV spots. All bonus features are presented in HD.

Exterminators of the Year 3000 is an unintentionally hilarious, entertaining, and charmingly cheap piece of sharp Italian cheese, and Scream Factory serves it with a solid transfer and some welcome bonus goodies. For bad movie fans and Italian rip-off cinema devotees, this one comes recommended!


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