Okay, so the rapture didn’t happen, we knew it wouldn’t, although at least one friend of mine gathered up some fun armageddon flicks to watch, low budget B movie classics like The Day the World Ended and The Last Woman on Earth.
I have quite a few end of the world favorites myself including the aforementioned Day the World Ended (which is actually my favorite Corman film), Dawn of the Dead (zombie films can also be considered end of the world flicks), A Boy and His Dog, and of course, what mention of armageddon fun is complete without Charlton Heston?
“I was a huge Charlton Heston fan when I was growing up,” Tim Burton told Playboy, “particularly during his Planet of the Apes, Omega Man, Soylent Green period…he had this uncanny ability to make you believe whatever bullshit was going on, and in Omega Man he comes across as the most serious person who ever lived.”
As much as Heston is at his scenery chewing best in Airport 1975, which was one of the big inspirations for Airplane!, I keep coming back to The Omega Man, the second attempt to bring Richard Matheson’s legendary short story, I Am Legend, to the big screen.
Matheson wasn’t thrilled with the first big screen version of his classic short story, The Last Man on Earth, (which is actually a pretty good, dark, moody little horror flick with Vincent Price in the lead), and The Omega Man was so ridiculously beyond his short story, it didn’t even bother Matheson because he didn’t think anyone would recognize it as his.
Omega Man is a great piece of early ‘70’s camp, with Heston roaming an empty apocalyptic Downtown L.A. (Look for the car driving around on the horizon in they forgot to block out with the camera), some Evel Knievel motorcycle stunt driving, a groovy soundtrack, the starkly white skinned, hooded night creatures I like to call the Q-Tip people, and the overall heavy handed message of where society was heading if we don’t change our ways.
It’s all painfully dated, a wall calendar informs us the world ended in 1975, which makes it a great hoot to watch today. In fact, it’s hard to remember the last time the end of the world was this much fun.