The Omega Man


release year: 1971
genre: sci-fi/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 9/8/05

synopsis: After a plague kills most people on Earth and transforms the rest into albino freaks, one man lives on to fight the freaks and find a cure.

impressions: This is based on a novel where the bad guys were vampires, so this movie version is more of a science-fiction interpretation of the same idea. For simplicity's sake, I'll call them "vampires" here too. Anyway, the sole survivor is a doctor, and had injected himself with an experimental antidote, which saved him from death or transformation. Now, he's holed up in a fortress-like townhouse, hunting the freaks by day and hiding at night. It's pretty fun stuff, and plays to every kid's fantasy of having their own fortified home and an unlimited supply of weapons. It also contains an interesting subtext/idea about how technology led to the downfall of the human race. Unfortunately, much like other similar movies (any living dead movie, for example) its plot eventually leads to downfall caused by human stupidity. Example: when you've found a cure and are packing up to leave, it's a really bad idea to let your woman go shopping in the vampire-infested city! Sure, it was daytime, but we'd already seen that the vampires can hide and function indoors, which is where the stores were. AAARGH! So, as always in these movies, the situation changes from home-free to completely hopeless in a very short span of time. I can't stand it when this happens, especially when it's avoidable. I'll never know why these movies' plots call for characters to do stupid things like this, at the worst possible times.

things to watch for: Any of the running fights with the freaks/vampires.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Albino goons who can't stand light and hate anyone not like them.

acting: Charlton Heston is good as the last man, who lives a lonely (if never dull) life. Anthony Zerbe is the leader of the albino freaks, and directs them in a cult-like way. Rosalind Cash is a sassy female co-survivor who hooks up with the hero.

final word: Good "few against many" fatalistic action, with the usual highs and lows.

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