STARRING: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo,  Lincoln Kilpatrick, Eric Laneuville, Jill Giraldi

1971, 98 Minutes, Directed by: Boris Sagal

Description: 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?



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