IN THE AFTERMATH (1988) Blu-ray
Director: Carl Colpaert
Code Red Releasing

Code Red's licensing agreement with Lakeshore Entertainment nets the Blu-ray premiere of the bizarre and intriguing New World composite film IN THE AFTERMATH.

Not to be confused with the 1982 Steve Barkett film THE AFTERMATH, IN THE AFTERMATH took thirty minutes of footage from the 1985 Japanese anime feature ANGEL'S EGG by Mamoru Oshii (GHOST IN THE SHELL) – in which a child angel guarding a magical egg wanders a ruined urban landscape with a stranger exploring the artifacts of an extinct race – with forty minutes of California-lensed live action footage shot by Belgian filmmaker Carl Colpaert (DELUSION) of a post-apocalyptic Earth in which clean air and water are in short supply. Angel (voiced by THE MUPPET BABIES' Katie Leigh) becomes a literal angel who is sent to explore dying worlds and determine which creatures she will save with the power harnessed in her egg. The stranger becomes her older brother (voiced by ERAGON's Ian Ruskin) tells her fables of other worlds and creatures to test her judgment as she – in live action (Rainbow Dolan) – trails a wounded Frank (Tony Markes, DISTURBED) across after his air supply has been stolen by a psychotic soldier (Kurtiss J. Tews) who also murdered his buddy Goose (Kenneth McCabe, COHEN AND TATE). Still uncertain whether Frank is good or evil, she arranges for him to be rescued by fellow survivor Sarah (Filiz Tully), a doctor who treats his injuries and provides him shelter in the only room in an abandoned hospital with a constant clean air supply. Angel is able to connect to Frank through a drawing he does of her and observes the interaction between the two humans as they fall in love. Frank is drawn to find Angel and Sarah must decide whether to put her faith in him and leave the safety of the hospital in search of something he does not understand.

Less interesting as a bottom-of-the-barrel science fiction film than as a strange example of composite filmmaking possibly inspired more by Giorgio Moroder's pop reconstruction of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS than low budget attempts to salvage unreleasable contemporary films or ones that had been sitting on the shelf from the decade before. The Japanese animation is deliberately stripped down in its color scheme yet still looks lavish next to the live action footage of overexposed arid landscapes heavy on the browns, reds, and yellows. Although the live action footage takes up slightly more of the screen-time, the narrative is as spare as the production values with a long digression of psychedelic opticals while Frank romances Sarah with a piano performance of Horatio Moscovici's "Carnavalito Tango" (the bulk of the synth and percussion score was the work of Pink Floyd collaborator Anthony Moore). One wonders what viewers thought of the production which New World tried to pass off as another post-nuke film with advertising which depicted a gas-masked figure holding the egg stamped with a haz-mat symbol, but it is great to have this decent-enough time-waster available alongside the original full-length "Angel's Egg" (available on Blu-ray in Japan but not English-friendly and as prohibitively expensive as other Japanese imports).

Released on VHS by New World Video, IN THE AFTERMATH makes its digital debut on Blu-ray courtesy of Code Red in a 1080p24 MPEG-4 1.78:1 widescreen transfer derived from a new 2K scan of Lakeshore's vault elements. The animated footage is a tad duller due than the live action due to the use of internegative elements for recutting. The live action does sport bolder colors when they are present but the image becomes grainier and dirtier around the film opticals, but this is never distracting since this is very likely the best this low-budget, patchwork film can look. The clean English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 rendering of the Ultra Stereo mix affords much of its separation to the scoring. The only extras are trailers for CUT AND RUN, THE JIGSAW MURDERS, HIGHPOINT, SAVAGE ATTRACTION, SLAUGHTERHOUSE ROCK, THE FUNNY FARM, THEY CALL ME BRUCE, and REVENGE OF THE DEAD (ZEDER). (Eric Cotenas)