September is fast approaching and with it comes the dawn of the apocalypse! On September 27th thru the 30th Wasteland Weekend takes place and we’re fairly confident in saying it will be the most insane and epic 4 day long Post-Apocalyptic party ever in the history of 4 day long Post-Apocalyptic parties. In doubt of the insane epicness? Well, Check out this 5 minute highlight reel of 2011’s event full of crazy vehicles, elaborate costumes, slave auctions, fire dancing, a rad mini thunder-dome, And adults playing make believe!
This is the third year of fans from all over the world congregating in the California Desert. Denizens of the wasteland are invited to set up camp and become completely immersed– Costumes are mandatory and post-apocalyptic campsites and vehicles are encouraged. We also have to mention that is an ADULTS ONLY event.
Some of you may be asking “Why celebrate the apocalypse?”, Well to answer this questions we have to explore an entire genre.
Post-apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is set in a world which civilization has ended due to a catastrophe such as nuclear warfare, resource depletion, or any other general disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of per-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. These stories often take place in a non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain. There is a considerable degree of blurring between this form of science fiction and that which deals with dystopian themes, a dystopia being the opposite of utopia.
Oddly enough, every time it is popular in our culture to think that we are at the Eve of Armageddon more films are produced to capitalize on our impending cataclysm.
The earliest bit of post-apocalyptic fiction may be “The Last Man” by “Frankenstein” Author, MARY SHELLEY, but post-apocalyptic movies didn’t gain large popularity until after the second World War due to lingering fears of the atom bomb. Some notable films from this era include: “Five”  and “The Day The World Ended” .
These films had a resurgence in the 1960’s due to the paranoia surrounding the Cuban missile crisis and civil unrest depicted in televised riots. “The Last Man on Earth”  starred genre great VINCENT PRICE and was based on the novel “I Am Legend” by RICHARD MATHESON (which was also adapted for the “The Omega Man”  starring CHARLTON HESTON and more recently the aptly named “I Am Legend”  starring WILL SMITH.) “The Planet of the Apes”  (Also starring CHARLTON HESTON) was another popular film from the 60’s.
The 1980’s was the most prolific decade for Post-apocalyptic movies. They were more popular than ever which may have been due in part to our tense relations with the Soviet Union during the Regan administration prior to the end of The Cold War. By this time it was a recognizable genre like Westerns, Horror, Fantasy, or Kung Fu — complete with it’s own themes, tropes, cliches, and aesthetics. So many amazing fun B grade cult movie madness came from it, including but not limited to: “Escape From New York” , “The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2)” , “Warriors of the Wasteland“ , “Radioactive Dreams”  “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” , “Solarbabies” , Cherry 2000  “Hell comes to Frogtown” , and “Roller Blade warriors: Taken by Force” .
The Mad Max movies are probably the most recognizable and widely known films of the genre.
“Road Warrior” embodies what is commonly thought of as the look and vibe of the post nuke world and is still emulated today by fans and is the major theme of Wasteland Weekend. A prequel is in the works called “Mad Max: Fury Road” which is scheduled for release in 2013.
More recently we are again experiencing a Renaissance in films of this nature, I believe, because of the Global Financial Crisis and looming unease associated with the 2012 prophecy. Filmmakers all over the world are taking advantage of mass hysteria and producing some top notch Post-Apocalyptic flicks. “Book of Eli”  and “The Road”  were well executed but not as fun as their 80’s counterparts. “Doomsday”  or what I affectionately call “Escape from U.K.”,however, was a love letter to the genre and it is obvious that they poured over “Mad Max”, “The Warriors” and JOHN CARPENTER’S “Escape from New York” as well as many others — the film also seems to be heavily influenced by CARPENTER’S entire body of work.
Other Notable titles from over the years include “A Boy and His Dog” , “Damnation Alley” , “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn” , “Slipstream” , “Hardware” , “Tank Girl” , “Waterworld” , “Escape from L.A.” , and “The Postman“ .
This year is the first year of the Wasteland Film Festival. Their mission is to showcase films by emerging and established filmmakers that bring Post-Apocalyptic worlds to life. They will be screening short films post-apocalyptic style and awarding prices to the winners — as well as screening some fun features outside of competition.
Hopefully some of these images and films will inspire you to dress up like a lunatic, and come see us in the desert! Get your tickets here! If you need more inspiration check out these handy videos from the Wasteland Weekend Website.
Want to make a cool costume but aren’t artistically inclined? Check out some of these “Creepy Crafters” from Etsy!!