fantasized 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 (1961) 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 tire busted? Just pop into a car dealership and start up a new baby. Sure,
you'll be a bit lonely and start talking and playing chess with clothes store
dummies - but think of the possibilities...
to The 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 the pan and scan
version, which would probably destroy those good 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 (1968)' book I suppose.
cheese gets a bit thick however with some obtrusive porno movie-like soundtrack
music, the albino zombies Heston have to do battle with themselves, and some really
awful 'Seventies fashion of which costar 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...
there has been plans to film a third version of the Richard Matheson
tale starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and it would have been directed
by director Ridley Scott (Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982)).
However, the price tag for the project proved to be higher than the studio was
willing to pay and it was aborted. According to the rumor mill, Rob Bowman
who directed the big screen The X Files movie has expressed some interest
in directing it since then. It is seldom that I welcome remakes but in The Omega Man's
case, it might just be worthwhile updating it to the 1990s since there are some
good stuff struggling to get out from underneath the film's myriad of faults...
Review by James O'Ehley from The
Sci-Fi Movie Page.