Over the course of watching the various Mad Max films, I've noticed a peculiar shift.
The aesthetic in the 1980s was one of biker junkyard tribal punks - spiked mohawks, salvaged hotrods and a callous, barfight-level ethos. The villains in both The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome are brutal, but not particularly sinister. They laugh when the other side is hurt, but they laugh when their own lads get smashed. All in good fun, mate.
They consciously copy J.R.R. Tolkien's visions of orcs as callous, bullying Cockney louts. There is a scene in Lord of the Rings where one orc leader tells his counterpart about a time they thought one of their soldiers had been killed by Shelob, only to find him quite alive, but hanging in a web. Oh how they laughed, and of course they left him there because they are callous, cruel and also cowardly.
This vision clearly informed Games Workshop's background for Warhammer 40,000. The space orks (note the spelling) are entirely based on the biker types from the Mad Max films. In fact, GW goes even farther, with wildly improbable machines, all described in Cockney terms.
With Mad Max Fury Road, the aesthetic changed sharply. The vehicles are still modified, but they are built with a far more sinister purpose, and instead of tribal warriors with strong individual identities, one sees homogenous shaven-headed dark-eyed fanatics serving a skull-mask wearing leader.
Or, as anyone familiar with 40k would say: a Chaos Lord.
Indeed, there is a vehicle in Fury Road that could have been cribbled from one of the Chaos rulebooks - I'm speaking of the vehicle with a helmeted guitar player surrounded by a wall of speakers wielding a flame-throwing instrument. If this guy isn't a Champion of Slaanesh, I don't know what is.
Is George Miller a 40k fan, or is it mere coincidence? I have no idea, but I find the similarities to be striking.