April 21, 2024

I’ve seen my fair share of post-apocalyptic films. In fact, I’ve been building a complete list of them, knocking more off the list each time I can convince my wife to sit through another film featuring a stark wasteland where characters struggle to survive. However, my efforts to get her to watch another one have been complicated by her sitting through some of the worst post-apocalyptic movies. Many of those are on this list.

Do you enjoy post-apocalyptic films as much as I do? Whether you’re a diehard fan or just curious about the genre, it’s important to know which films are worth watching and which ones should be avoided. That’s what this list is about – what to avoid… at all costs…

1 – Empire of Ash

Yawwwwwwn. Empire of Ash offers nothing new or imaginative to the post-apocalypse genre. Instead, it relies on the same clichés and plot twists that most of the other films in this list follow.

Don’t be confused by the name, this 1988 movie often goes by Empire of Ash II because it was re-released in 1989. Maybe they thought releasing it again would help?

It also goes by Maniac Warrior. Maybe they thought giving it a different name would help?

Nothing helps this film. There is an Empire Ash III, however. How in the world did this movie spawn a sequel?

You are not going to bond with the characters or watch their development in any meaningful way. They lack depth and any unique qualities. Then there’s the acting – just bad. The entire cast is stiff and scripted. Everything feels forced.

From the cheesy special effects to the corny dialogue, there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments that make it a great candidate for the top spot. It’s no wonder why this movie is so often cited as one of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history. All of that said, if you’re looking for a few laughs at someone else’s expense, Empire of Ash might be the right choice.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

2 – The Last Woman On Earth

The Last Woman On Earth is a 1960s post-apocalyptic film set in a world where a mysterious event has wiped out nearly all of humanity. This movie shows up on many post-apocalyptic films lists, probably so notable because it was early in the genre.

There are three survivors: Evelyn, played by Betsy Jones-Moreland, and two men, Harold (Antony Carbone) and Martin (Robert Towne). As you can probably guess, a love triangle takes shape as they struggle to survive and rebuild civilization.

The movie’s effects are outdated, there is a solid attempt at decent cinematography – but it doesn’t work, and the characters are flat. The survivors wander around with no discernible purpose or objective. At least the producers didn’t have to pay for many actors!

On that note, the acting in The Last Woman On Earth is particularly poor, with performances ranging from bad to worse. The dialogue is clunky and full of clichés. There are some interesting aspects to the film, like… actually, there are no interesting aspects to the film.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

3 – 2020 Texas Gladiators

2020 Texas Gladiators, directed by Joe D’Amato and George Eastman, is another example of a movie that fails to deliver on… everything. The story follows a group of resistance fighters led by Nisus (Al Cliver) as they battle oppressors led by the Black One (Harrison Müller), but it’s a story that is poorly executed, has subpar acting, and sad, yet laughable action scenes.

Texas Gladiators are forced to battle each other for food, water, and freedom. It’s an interesting concept, but the dialogue is dull with poorly choreographed fight scenes and sub-par acting. Plus, the effects are awful – there’s even a giant robotic spider.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

4 – Battletruck

Battletruck is a 1982 post-apocalyptic movie set in a future where the vorld has been ravaged by nuclear war. The plot follows a group of led by the ruthless Straker (James Wainwright) as they terrorize the wasteland with their massive, armored vehicle, known as the Battletruck. Sound similar to The Road Warrior? Well, it doesn’t come anywhere close to the legendary Mad Max movie.

Battletruck is one of the worst post-apocalyptic movies of all time. The acting is uninspiring and the plot is confusing. The special effects are bad, with paper mache boulders and high school level theater sets. The action scenes are also cliched and dull; even the romantic subplot between Hunter and Corlie feels forced and flat. Borrrrring.

Battletruck is a movie best left in the parking lot.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

5 – Land of Doom

If you like men dressed in BDSM-style leather, Land of Doom might be the post-apocalyptic movie for you. If that’s not your thing, best to avoid this 1986 film.

Directed by Peter Maris and starring Michael Paré, George Peppard, and Adrienne Barbeau, the movie follows a group of survivors after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization and left the planet in ruins (same storyline – again). It is considered to be one of the worst post-apocalyptic movies ever made, primarily due to its dull plot and poor production values, common with all of the movies on this list.

The movie is filled with bad special effects and plot holes that make it hard to follow. Even with its “average” cast, Land of Doom fails to deliver an exciting or interesting story and the scenery and setting is as sad as the acting.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

6 – Interzone

Interzone is a post-apocalyptic disaster. Set in a dystopian world where anarchy reigns and rival factions battle for supremacy, Interzone follows the journey of Swan (Bruce Abbott), a fighter entrusted with a mysterious artifact that holds the key to restoring peace and order (insert eye roll). Along the way, he encounters the enigmatic Mantis (Beatrice Ring) and the villainous Balzakan (Teagan Clive).

Unfortunately, Interzone fails to deliver on just about every front. The story is disjointed and boring. Viewers will not feel connected to the two-dimensional characters. The special effects are also really bad. Definitely two thumbs down on this movie.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

7 – The Day

We’re breaking out of the 1980s films with The Day (2011), but unfortunately 20-30 years of improvements in film doesn’t do anything for this low-budget post-apocalyptic movie. The film follows a group of five survivors (Shawn Ashmore, Ashley Bell, Cory Hardrict, Dominic Monaghan, and Shannyn Sossamon) as they navigate the harsh realities of their new post-apocalyptic existence. In other words, The Day is just like any other day in the worst post-apocalyptic movies of all time.

I will admit that the actors at least seem like they’re trying, but… trying doesn’t mean succeeding. There are only a few actors, too. Don’t expect a lot of extras supplementing the plot of this low-budget film. I think the director tries to make up for the sad storyline and uninspiring characters with visual display, and I get why they primarily use black and white to convey the bleak storyline, but it has the reverse effect of making the film visually flat.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

8 – Goodbye World

Goodbye World is a 2013 post-apocalyptic movie about a group of friends who come together in a cabin during an unknown global crisis. I suffered through this movie only because I was lacking anything else to watch while hitting cardio on the elliptical machine. I watched it over a few workouts, and the movie still sticks with me. Every time it comes up I think, “Why didn’t I stop after the first fifteen minutes?”

The storyline meanders here and there with characters who lack depth and acting skills. The movie, while more modern than most other films in this list, is still sad. At least with the 1980s-era movies you can laugh at how cheesy they are. Goodbye World is just all bad.

Say goodbye to Goodbye World.

Good news? The entire film is available for free on YouTube.

9 – Water Wars

And lastly, Water Wars is a 2014 post-apocalyptic action thriller that follows a group of survivors led by Kendra (Beau Ballinger) and Vera (Elena Diaz) as they battle against a ruthless warlord (Randal Malone) who seeks to control the remaining freshwater supply.

The movie is weak in virtually every way: acting, storyline, cinemaphotography, and about everything else. The landscape is uninteresting and dull. There is very little creativity in the film. It feels almost mechanical and formulaic in how it moves through the plot.

Good news – this movie isn’t available for free on YouTube, so you won’t be tempted to waste your time!

Wrapping Up

In a genre that has produced such great works as the Mad Max series, The Road, and Children of Men, there are plenty of post-apocalyptic films that fall fall short – or worse, are a waste of time – or worse, are painful to suffer through.

I hope this list of the top 9 worst post-apocalyptic movies of all time save you time. But if you must suffer through one of these films, opt for the cheesy 80s films. At least then you have big 80s hair to laugh at.

What are your thoughts? Did this list hit the mark? Let me know in the comments section.