THE OMEGA MAN
Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Eric
Laneuville, Jill Giraldi
1971, 98 Minutes, Directed by: Boris Sagal
Charlton Heston plays the government researcher behind the ultimate
biological weapon, a deadly plague that has ravaged humanity. There are two
groups of survivors: a dwindling band of immune humans and an infected,
psychopathic mob of light-hating quasi-vampires. The infected are led by
Mathias, a clever, charismatic man set on destroying the last remnants of
the civilization that produced the plague. Heston has a vaccine--but he and
the few remaining normals are outnumbered and outgunned. By day, he builds a
makeshift version of the nuclear family (with Rosalind Cash as his
afro-wearing, gun-toting little lady). They plan for the future while
roaming freely through an empty urban landscape, taking what few pleasures
life has left. By night, they defend themselves against the growing horde of
plague victims. —
Ever fantasised about what it would be like to be to be the last living person on earth?
The early 1970s Charlton Heston-starrer The Omega Man supplies some answers. (It is
the second film based on the I Am Legend novel by Richard Matheson. The first was
the 1961 The Last Man on Earth featuring Vincent Price as the title character,
battling old-fashioned vampires with wooden stakes, etc.)
It seems that shopping for
clothing will be fantastic. Clothes getting smelly? Just head down to the nearest clothes
store and get some new ones. Car's front wheel tyre busted? Just pop into a car dealership
and start up a new baby. Sure, you'll be a bit lonely and start talking to and playing chess
with clothes store dummies - but think of the possibilities . . .
According to Omega Man, one wouldn't exactly have a lot of time for any of the
above, because you'd be pretty busy battling dark sunglass-wearing albinos dressed in
medieval monks' robes who only come out at night. That they're a Luddite lot who are out
for your blood because you happen to be a scientist immune to a plague that wiped out the
entire planet after germ-warfare between the Soviet Union and Communist China means that
you won't get a lot of time to brush up on your masturbation techniques . . .
The Omega Man is cheese as someone remarked of a different film, but it's
reasonably good cheese. The opening sequences of Heston driving through a deserted and
rubble-strewn Los Angeles are pretty effective. (The movie should preferably be seen in
the wide screen video format instead of pan and scan, which destroys
those excellent wide angle shots.) Heston is okay as well and the script is surprisingly
literate and topical (even for today), taking a leaf from Planet of
the Apes' book I suppose.
The cheese gets a bit thick however with some obtrusive porno movie soundtrack
music, the albino zombies Heston have to do battle with themselves, and some really awful
'Seventies fashion of which co-star Rosalind Cash with her huge Afro hairstyle and brown
full-body leather outfit is probably the worst transgressor. However, beer washes down
cheese pretty well, so keep a six-pack handy while watching The Omega Man . . .
Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick:
NRA chairman saves the world from sun glass-wearing albinos dressed in
monks' robes! 'Seventies cheese, sure, about the last man on Earth after devastating biological warfare,
who can only be - the NRA chairman, Charlton Heston! Still, there's good stuff to be found
in here. And what would you do if you were the only person left on Earth?