Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Here Comes the Apocalypse - 60's Style

In case you're wondering if I continued working my way through my unwatched DVDs by decade - wonder no more. Because I have. But with October approaching (and therefore the 30 days of Halloween!) I'll be saving some of my reviews to post then.
I watched this MGM Midnite Movies double feature:
I wanted this set mostly so I could have a decent copy of Last Man on Earth - it's a public domain film and the other copy I had was of the 1.99 variety.

As far as Panic, it's an interesting film if you want to know how people might behave in an 'end of the world as we know it' 60's style. Milland and family have packed up their camper and are on their way out of town, when oops, nuclear bombs fall in Los Angeles. They try to return home, but when that fails, Milland slips into 'preservation mode' and goes about doing what he needs to do to protect his family. I thought this was an interesting film in that you can see what people in the 60's may have thought a nuclear war might bring as far as trying to survive and what people might have to do - and how a nice, ordinary, everyday typical 'nuclear' (!) family might have to behave in ways they never thought they would.

I liked Last Man on Earth before I bought this, and I still enjoy it. Years ago I read 'I Am Legend' when I heard that it was the inspiration for Romero's zombie films. As you probably already know, three films have been made from that book by Richard Matheson, 'Last Man', 'Omega Man' (with Chucky Heston), and 'I Am Legend'. I have seen 'Omega Man' but hardly remember it. All I really remember are these spooky lookin' folks:
And unfortunately I don't think the rest of the film is as fun as that picture might lead you to believe. I can't say for sure but I don't have any urge to go back and rewatch it - so I must have been barely entertained at best.

I did enjoy I Am Legend - out of all three films, it has the benefit of a large budget and the full Hollywood treatment complete with CGI.

But there's something about the simplicity and barrenness of Last Man on Earth with the added benefit of watching Vincent Price deal with being, well, the last man on earth. I think the film captures a certain creepy isolation that the other films don't quite have. Or at least not in the same way. Especially haunting is the scene where soldiers are tossing bodies into a huge fire pit and Price is there searching out one of his deceased loved ones - not wanting them to go into the fire - but ultimately realizing that the body has to be disposed of that way.

Once I got into the 60's, I went to another Price double feature - but I'm going to stash that review away for October. After all, no Halloween season is complete with a Price film or two. I'll continue to work my way through the 60's and beyond - but I'll probably only post every other review for now, and keep the rest until then. I'm taking the advice of other bloggers who do the same since I was unable to keep up last year.

I'll post a link to the full list of Halloween bloggers once the list is compiled. Big thanks to John Rozum for putting this together once again! Check out his fantastic blog here.

-Mother Firefly

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