Shitizen KaneEvery now and then a bad film comes along that is so fantastically horrible that it leaves everyone in its path gasping for breath between uncontrollable guffaws. Robot Holocaust is one such film; a film that gleefully wallows in its own shit and becomes a masterpiece in the process.


USA/Italy, 1986, Tim Kincaid

Robot Holocaust

Tim Kincaid, director of Robot Holocaust, has had an interesting career. In its beginning, Kincaid pumped out gay porn flicks throughout the 70s and early 80s under the name “Joe Gage”. In 1986, Kincaid left the porn scene to make a string of low budget genre films produced by Charles Band. This came to a halt in 1989, and Kincaid was silent throughout the 90s. Then, in 2001, Kincaid, once again using the Gage pseudonym, returned to gay porn with titles like Dad Gets Into Trouble (2013) and Tough Guys: Gettin’ Off (2005). What allowed for Kincaid’s brief foray into the mainstream (albeit b-movie mainstream), I do not know (I’ve tried looking at Kincaid’s blog for the answer, but it mostly features pictures of men with giant cocks), but I’m sure glad it happened. Without it, we wouldn’t have Robot Holocaust.

“The last city still stood; the remaining home of what was left of the civilization of New Terra. The society had been all but destroyed by the robot rebellion of ’33. When the robots had turned on their masters by the billions, the ensuing chaos had led to a radiation spill, far more deadly than any nuclear warfare. The world had been brought to its knees by the… Robot Holocaust,” the unseen narrator gently informs us during the opening shots of an apocalyptic skyline (i.e. a few shitty looking buildings).

Kincaid then throws us into the middle of a poorly choreographed fight between two muscular, nearly nude lads. A crowd of people watch reasonably unimpressed and, while distracted, a goofy robot, Klyton (J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner), stalks about pickpocketing the spectators. We are told that these remaining humans are “air slaves” working for The Dark One, the evil being who controls the atmosphere.

Neo (Norris Culf), a wandering nomad who has managed to survive in the noxious world outside The Dark One’s grasp, sneaks into the scene and stands among the crowd. Klyton attempts to pickpocket him, but is caught. Neo shuts his system down and communicating telepathically (for some fucking reason), Klyton explains to Neo that the fight between the muscle boys is The Dark One’s attempt to stop the stronger slaves from becoming leaders. Those who win the fight are destroyed.

This begs the question: why the hell would anyone try to win the fight? The air slaves are told if they win they’ll receive a reward, yet everyone knows they’re taken off to die at the power station, The Dark One’s lair. The power station is shown in what is probably the worst matte painting ever seen in film. As fellow Mondo Exploito scribe, Pierre, described it: “It looks like it’s drawn by a child who just watched Metropolis.”

Enter Valaria (Angelika Jager), villainess. This is where Robot Holocaust really steps it up a notch. Angelika Jager, whose only other credit is the role of “Airport Employee” in a late 80s mini-series, is a fucking horrible actress. Her delivery is phenomenal; almost like a female Tommy Wiseau.

Valaria works for The Dark One. When she’s not doing evil shit, she’s enjoying herself in the “Pleasure Machine” – a reward for those who loyally serve The Dark One. The Pleasure Machine seems to simply be a cage in which you strip off and touch a plasma globe while a naked chick and naked dude dance in front of you. There’s lots of smoke too.

Okay, back to the muscle boys fight. Two of the spectators, father and daughter duo Jorn (Michael Downend) and Deeja (Nadine Hartstein), have discovered a way to combat The Dark One’s control of the atmosphere. Jorn is taken captive by Valaria and The Dark One’s robo-badass Torque (Rick Gianasi, yes, Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D. himself).

Neo teams up with Deeja, Klyton and a few handsome hunks to rescue Jorn and destroy The Dark One. Along the way they meet a gang of psychotic feminists who use men for only for breeding and are tough as fuck. One of Neo’s hunks beats up their leader (Jennifer Delora). Defeated, she joins the gang too along with a muscly, practically naked hunk who was once the prisoner and breeding partner of the feminist nutters. They also cut his tongue out, by the way. Neo’s posse, now complete, head towards the childish drawing of the power station.

With a film as wonderfully bad as this, it’s hard to know where to start. The laughs are constant. Whether it’s Kincaid’s amazing ability in lining characters up in a row and shooting them front on even when they’re in conversation, the pathetic staged fights, or the constant blank-faced unenthusiasm of the cast, there is never a dull moment in Robot Holocaust.

Klyton, the sidekick robot, is the best (worst) addition to our motley crew of morons. His permanent open-mouthed expression is infuriating. From the moment I saw him, I wanted to punch him in his fucking robo-face. Klyton is presented as the comic relief and a klutz, yet he’s the only character with any solutions to the various challenges the heroes face. Without this character (who is essentially accidentally along for the ride), everyone would be dead a hundred times over. This also happens:

Oh, and this:

For a film called Robot Holocaust, there’s very few robots on display. Though admittedly, Torque’s design is rather sinister. In fact, the effects aren’t all that bad. It’s just that the uninspired cinematography zaps them of all their energy. The sets and costumes on the other hand are hysterical. And did I say the effects were good? Well, there’s these hand monsters, uh, “sewerage worms”…

As the gang of dorks get closer to their final destination, the situations they find themselves in get more and more ridiculous. One moment in particular where the tongue-less hunk finds himself awkwardly trapped in tripwires had me choking on my own laughs.

The battles become more abundant and more pathetic, Angelika Jager is thankfully given plenty of already terrible lines to butcher (I cannot stress how fucking bad she is in this film – it’s great), and we’re constantly gifted with awkward shots of peering up tiny shorts strapped onto near nude men. The showdown is appropriately silly.

With its glorious red-tinted, smoke-drenched sets peppered with a handful of awesome robots and an all-star cast with the acting abilities of a pile of rocks, Robot Holocaust is probably the best way to spend eighty minutes. Ever. Watch this by yourself, watch this with all your pals, either way, you’ll need a bucket and mop to clean up the spit left behind from your uncontrollable laughter.


Sadly, Robot Holocaust is yet to see a DVD release, outside of a Mystery Science Theater collection. It can be easily found on VHS (complete with an awesome cover that has nothing to do with the film). And MGM has released a HD print for and television screenings, so hopefully a DVD or blu-ray is in the works.