A holiday guide to movie dystopias

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‘Going anywhere nice this summer, sir?’ To celebrate the release of Pixar’s sublime post-apocalyptic robo-romance ‘Wall-E’, Time Out offers a tour guide of the best future worlds in film

The Canyon from 'Slipstream' (1989)


Places of interest:
Why not just hop in your glider and let the wind – the excoriating, planet ravaging wind – carry you where it will? To the rocky slopes and bustling Bartertowns of a future Yorkshire? To a hippie community in the Turkish desert? To the painted walls of The Canyon itself, in all its murky matte-backdrop glory? Just raise your flaps and let the current take you…
Preparing for your trip:
Flying goggles a must.

Food and shopping:
Tricky. A nice line in retrofitted pre-apocalyptic junk, but not a lot else in the shops this time of year. If cash-strapped, a sideline in bounty hunting provides both fun and profit.
Local colour:
Overwhelmingly brown.

Houston from 'Rollerball' (1975)

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Places of interest: Whichever corporate sphere you visit, the main draw will always be the Rollerball stadium where you can enjoy the sight of society’s boldest individuals hammering seven futuristic shades out of one another.Preparing for your trip: Dress for the occasion. For eveningwear, think LA swingers beano circa 1975, so ladies: plenty of floaty chiffon and not much underwear. For gents, anything cheesecloth is good, but please, open no lower than the navel. For taking in The Game (there’s only one in town), capsleeve tees and a raging, animalistic hatred of teams from other Corporations is de rigueur.Food and shopping: Since The Corporation canned democracy for middle-management rule, work is a three-day week, leaving plenty of time for purchasing cheesecloth pants. Imagine an endless bank holiday weekend with the family and you’ll begin to understand why everyone in Houston appears on the brink of going utterly berserk.Local colour: If the baying plebeian mob gets too much, party with the beautiful people at one of many modernist country piles favoured by upper-caste citizens. No soirée is complete without a recreational flame-thrower, so if your host proffers a tree for incineration, it’s rude to refuse.

The Zone from 'Hardware' (1990)

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Places of interest: Despite being a bombed-out wasteland populated by birth-defected mutants and members of Fields of the Nephilim, there’s plenty to see and do in The Zone. A river cruise is always pleasant at this time of year, with the radio tuned to Angry Bob playing all the latest brutalist industrial hits, and cabby Lemmy bitching about the heat.Preparing for your trip: Radioactive gear, and lots of it. The intense heat and eternal smog make heavy clothing impractical, so a pair of lead-lined Bermudas might be the best option.
Food and shopping:
Enjoy a wide variety of dwarf-owned junkshops selling everything from car parts to indestructible hallucinogenic killer battledroids.
Local colour:
Share popcorn and surf hardcore with local sex fiend and budding songwriter William Hootkins, or drop a tab of acid and go alligator with John Lynch. But whatever you do, be sure to take your portable Geiger counter along…

Topeka from 'A Boy and His Dog' (1975)

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Places of interest: Lovers of Wyoming, Norfolk and the Russian Steppe will thrill to the wide open spaces of post-WWIV USA, but when the murderous sadists of the future world prove tiresome it’s worth slipping below ground to the perverted, acid-fried Americana that passes for civilization in the secluded community of Topeka.
Preparing for your trip:
Travelling light is a must, so ditch that moral compass. There’ll be very little along the way that doesn’t involve death, rape, humiliation or the degraded state of humankind. Some barbecue sauce might come in handy.
Food and shopping:
Expect to spend all your time scavenging for generic meat products and trying to avoid the unwelcome affections of burly face-aches intent on making sweet love the way only a survivalist can.
Local colour:
Telepathic dogs. But go with it, it works.

The studio backlot from 'Demolition Man' (1993)


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Places of interest: What about taking a stroll through one of the city’s many beautiful manicured gardens with Sandra Bullock dressed head-to-toe in mid-price fetishwear? For those after something even more outré, try popping a manhole cover and exploring the metropolis’s seamier underbelly in the company of whey-faced Bill Hicks impersonator Denis Leary?
Preparing for your trip:
Blowing up an orphanage and being sentenced to a term frozen in stasis is the usual preparation. But don’t forget to wrap up warm!
Food and shopping:
Diet largely consists of knuckle sandwiches. In a world devoid of conventional weaponry, visitors tend to end up whaling on each other with all manner of ingenious clobbering devices including parking meters, deck chairs and spatulas.
Local colour:
The aforementioned Leary can always be relied on to turn the air blue with one of his indignant rants on such finger-on-the-pulse issues as Teddy Kennedy being a bit chunky or how hard it is to get an honest cup of coffee these days.

Downtown LA from 'Runaway' (1984)

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Places of interest: Construction sites, disused quarries, condemned tract housing – why not follow Tom Selleck’s robot squad on a flatfoot tour through myriad bland attractions as he shuts down (blows up) automatons that have lost their electro-marbles and gone on the mecha-rampage.
Preparing for your trip:
Pack light. Staggering advancements in robotics have resulted in no appreciable improvement in the quality of life and this blow-dried futurama is indistinguishable from Rodeo Drive, circa 1984.
Food and shopping:
Taco Bells, Wendy’s and Bob’s Big Boys are invariably staffed by unconvincing, and for some reason highly camp, android waiters*.
Local colour:
At last we come to the reason why so many retro scenesters flock to this destination every year. Gene ‘KISS’ Simmons is terrorizing the city with a phalanx of motorized staplers that can only be eluded by standing on a chair. Well Mexico!*See 'Tipping' in our 'Dos and Don'ts' glossary.

Author: Adam Lee Davies, Paul E. Fairclough, Tom Huddleston


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