Def-Con 4

Def-Con 4 is a 1985 Canadian post-apocalyptic film, portraying three astronauts who survive World War III aboard a space station and return to Earth to find greatly changed circumstances.

Def-Con 4
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Donovan
Produced byMichael Donovan
Paul Donovan
Maura O'Connell
Written byPaul Donovan
Music byChristopher Young
CinematographyDouglas Connell
Les Krizsan
Edited byTodd C. Ramsay
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
March 15, 1985
Running time
88 minutes
Box office$1,057,064[1]


Three astronauts in a secret spaceship lose all contact with the ground and observe what appears to be a nuclear exchange between the USA and Russia on Earth. Two months later , the spacecraft's guidance system is mysteriously reprogrammed, forcing the crew's return to Earth.

The spacecraft lands considerably off-course, on a beach in eastern Nova Scotia, Canada. Jordan (Kate Lynch) is knocked unconscious on impact. Walker (John Walsch) exits first and is quickly killed by 'terminals' - humans crazed by disease. Several hours later, in the middle of the night, Howe (Tim Choate) ventures out in search of help and a way to escape. He soon encounters Vinny (Maury Chaykin), a survivalist who has fortified his house with barbed wire and booby traps. Vinny effectively saves him from the terminals and makes him his prisoner.

As the plot develops, Vinny, JJ (Lenore Zann) (another prisoner), and Howe are captured and taken in chains to a makeshift fortress built out of junk. In order to survive, the crew must escape to the radiation free zones while avoiding cannibal 'terminals' and a sadistic military school student turned evil despotic ruler, and escape before a malfunctioning nuclear warhead explodes in sixty hours.



TV Guide gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars, praising the war scenario, the darker approach to the apocalypse genre and the overall disturbing effect of the movie. [2]. In Creature Feature, the movie received 2.5 out of 5 stars, finding the space scenes of the movie good, but the land-based scenes commonplace.[3] Kim Newman found the plot of a pre-apocalyptic person thrust into a post-apocalyptic world cliched and dependent on H. G. Wells The Time Machine [4]


  1. Def-Con 4 at Box Office Mojo
  3. Stanley, J. (2000) Creature Feature: 3rd Edition
  4. Newman, K. (2000) Apocalypse Movies: End of the World Cinema
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