traditional spoiler warnings apply
Moderately disturbing neo-fascist propaganda in the form of a 1971 US film. Charlton Heston vehicle proposes that the hippie movement will weaken Western civilization to the point where we fall to biochemical attacks from either the Russians or the Chinese. Those unfortunate enough to survive, diseased cultists all, burn books, shun technology and wear funky shades like the hooded, scabrous albino freaks they are. Our hero, Dr. Neville, provides the conflict by being the sole individual possessing immunity, through having been injected with experimental vaccine, and having the virtues of a gun-toting, gas-guzzling consumer, scientist and property owner. Most disturbingly, Moses morphs into Jesus in an underdeveloped scientist-as-savior theme: Neville's antibodies save all of humanity, but unfortunately he catches a spear in his midsection and sadly dies in a Jesus Christ pose.
Why I liked it as a kid:
exciting, action-filled, brain-dead action flick in the guise of being science fiction. I totally missed the (now blatant) political subtext and focused instead on the genuinely creepy visuals.
Why it's still worth watching now: camp value, fake violence and a really hot female lead. Highlights include:
- Seeing Heston wearing a dunce's cap, strapped to a cart and publicly harassed by an angry mob. (Would make a nice coda to Bowling for Columbine.)
- Watching Moses mock Woodstock.
- Soul-sister Stepford Wife toting a semi-automatic as she leaves the room, asking sweetly, "Honey, can I borrow the credit cards?"