Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Movie: Panic in Year Zero/Last Man on Earth

Saw a double feature thanks to Netflix, of classic old B movies. Black and White stuff. Classics. For B+ movies.

The Last Man on Earth was starring Vincent Price in THE proto zombie movie. It was the proto Omega-Man movie, too, where a single immunized human goes up against photo sensitive plague victims that are difficult to kill. (vampire-zomibes. I don't think the viewing public was ready for just regular zombies yet.) Their symptoms were vampire like, ie: hating their reflection, allergic to garlic smells, and healing very fast so killing them required a stake in the heart. All side effects of an airborne disease that float over from Europer. This was in 1965, all bad stuff starts in Yoorip back then. But the infected shambled about like zombies. Vincent didn’t even bother with firearms, just wooden stakes. The first time he has a gun he has to take it from a zombie-vampire, and IT is a vest-pocket gun like the Colt 1908 mouse gun. It turns out that some of the zombie-vampires have developed half a cure/vaccine for their ailment, but their bogeyman is Vincent Price, who, to them, is a relentless monster that prowls the city during the day when they are vulnerable, killing them while they sleep. The horror... They eventually rise up and chase down Vincent with a plethora of surplus Russian SMGs like PPSh-41 'Sashas' and also M1 Garands. He still takes out 5 or 6 with the little mouse gun before they corner him. With an abandoned city to pillage in the daytime I have no idea why Vincent didn’t arm himself better.

The other movie was Panic in Year Zero. A family of four with a crotchety no-nonsense dad jump in the car with a small trailer to go camping. On their way to the campsite LA is nuked behind them. Society falls apart pretty quickly after that and the family survives under a very serious patriarch. It goes from "nuke scare" movie to "survive the teenage hoodlums" movie at that point. The Russians aren’t the bad guys so much as those damn Teens with their Jack Kerouac beatnik/greaser angle, driving in their Jalopies and listening to that long-hair Elvis. Kids today.

Anyway, when Dad decides they can’t go back to LA, they need to go to the campsite to hole up, he has a level head for post apocalypse survival. He finds a small town off the beaten path and buys $200 dollars worth of groceries and then goes to the hardware store for guns. He has to owe the hardware store owner because he needs the guns NOW and the guy won't accept an out of town check and the local constabulary have a law that saws they have to ok gun purchases (criminal records check) and that takes a day. Well this is nuclear war and Dad doesn't have a day. So there is a scuffle. He get's out with a shotgun, rifle or 2, and a magnesium alloy 1911 style .45. He fills up gas and kerosene next at a gas station that is already inflating prices to an unheard of $3 a gallon. He clocks the gas station attendant and leaves a $10 instead of the $90. When they get to the campsite he tears out the bridge over the creek and eschews the thin skinned aluminum trailer for a cave to protect against fallout. That crotchety dad was a no-nonsense adult. I hope those whiny kids of his learned a thing or two. The Mom was a bit weepy, too, and needed to realize the direness of the situation quicker.

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