Sunday Cinema – “Radioactive Dreams”

This week’s pick actually had a soundtrack more popular (and now rare) than the actual film. With a few notable stars & a subject matter of interest to Generation X, “Radioactive Dreams” has some highlights among the crap.


The movie starts out in a sepia-tone (possibly to match up with the archive footage used) with a couple of kids playing in the woods. Next is a huge blast from what appears to be a nuclear missile:


The next shot is of the men grabbing the boys and heading into what can only be a bomb shelter. The scene of the man & boy with the light & wind as the blast door closes is eerie:

radio 1

The opening credits take place with the names of some of the major players (Dean Stockwell, Michael Dudikoff, & George Kennedy, to name a few) as well as the apparent date the story catches up to – April 1, 2010. The boys have spent a long time in the shelter, apparently not finding need to cut their hair, shower, or change into actual clothing. One of the boys broke an opening to the topside after 15 long years:


After finding a way out, the boys decide to clean up and prepare themselves for the brave, new world ahead of them. Apparently growing up in a bomb shelter with only 40’s pulp novels & music to listen to, it’s only fitting that the boys (named Phillip & Marlowe, respectively) would talk & dress like a couple of dicks (private eyes):


It’s a wonder that their vehicle starts on the first turn of the key or that the fuel in their trailer is still good after 15+ years, but of course we have to suspend reality. Their first experience in the new world is a woman being chased by a couple of mutants (apparently surfer mutants based on their dress & slang language). The woman is Miles Archer:


Miles is (or was) carrying the keys to the last un-fired nuclear missile in the country. The keys end up in the possession of Phillip & Marlowe which turns them into the most-wanted men in the wasteland that was America. They encounter all sorts of characters based on different eras from 50’s greasers, 60’s hippie cannibals, & a pair of 70’s disco kids complete with white leisure suits like John Travolta’s in “Saturday Night Fever”. The movie ends with a huge dance number at the end with Marlowe finally showing off his talents:


The “post-apocalyptic” theme was huge in the 1980’s, as was imminent nuclear war. Throw in some “dick” jokes (private eye I mean) and a dance number or two and you’d think you’d have Oscar gold. Well you’d be wrong.

This classic never got a DVD release, nor did the soundtrack get a cassette or CD release (even though the film came out about the same time as CDs started their rise). Some kind soul did transfer a VHS copy to YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Great movie for crappy weather days…


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