Written and directed by Albert Pyun, Radioactive Dreams is a post-apocalyptic science fiction-comedy film.
In the film the year in 1996, nuclear war has broken out resulting in every country in the world expending its nuclear weapons. Only one missile remains. Two children, Philip Chandler (John Stockwell) and Marlowe Hammer (Michael Dudikoff), are abandoned by their fathers in a fallout shelter cut into the side of a wooded mountain. The pair grow up in the shelter, with 1950’s detective fiction and swing music as the guiding force in their learning. Fifteen years later Marlowe succeeds in digging out the cave entrance. The pair give each other haircuts, dress in suits, and go to rejoin the world.
Philip narrates their adventure on their first day out:
“My name’s Philip, and this is going to be a yarn about me and my pal, Marlowe. About the day we got out of this shelter and went off into the post-nuclear world. Now, as excited as we were about leaving the shelter, it was still a joint that held fond memories. I mean, it was the only world we’d ever known. Where I practiced my magic, Marlowe, his dancing; where we both dreamed of becoming private eyes, just like the one’s we’d read about.”
Marlowe hopes to find their fathers, but Philip is disgruntled that they never returned, and presumes that they are dead. The mountain is now devoid of trees.
The first people they find are a trio of radiation burned “mutants” chasing a beautiful woman, Miles Archer (Lisa Blount). They rescue Miles, who kisses Marlowe as a distraction and steals his gun. This backfires, as she drops the activation keys to the last nuclear missile. Miles leaves, and the pair are immediately attacked by a biker gang of bald women in red wigs.
Afterwards the boys discover the activation keys, which bears their fathers’ names. This excites Marlowe, but disturbs Philip…