"A majority of the SF films of 1969-1979 were downbeat and even gloomy, and even in the adventure films their heroes were hard-pressed just to survive, let alone survive cheerfully."
Early in 2013, I indulged in a little movie buff list making, briefly discussing what I thought were the 10 best science fiction films of the 1960s. Somewhat to my surprise, that piece has proven to be pretty much the biggest hit-grabber on this blog. So it seems a no-brainer to roll right on to the next decade. With the decline of the old-school studio system and the rise of the new jack, maverick independent directors, intent on stripped-down realism and politically-minded, morally complex scripts, the early 1970s ushered in a sort of second "Golden Age" of movie making. This adventurous focus spread to all genres, and it could be argued that more serious, thought-provoking, idea-based science fiction films were released in that short span of 10 years than in all the 30-plus years before or since. Not everything you'll find on the below list can be said to be groundbreaking in comparison to the rich world of written SF, but certainly, when it comes to cinematic sci-fi, the 70s were a fertile ground indeed. Coming hot on the heels of several turbulent years of political unrest and growing paranoia and distrust of the government, 70s sci-fi reflected this unease and pessimism, with a string of films that combined visual flair with a bleak, dystopian power. These films are even more remarkable from the vantage point of today, when Hollywood studios seem straitjacketed in "play it safe" mode, churning out blockbuster after blockbuster full of dazzling F/X but generally devoid of originality or deep thought.
"One creature, caught. Caught in a place he cannot stir from, in the dark...alone, outnumbered hundreds to one, nothing to live for but his memories, nothing to live with but his gadgets, his cars, his guns, gimmicks..."
The end-of-the-world thriller is a common one in science fiction, and it's proven a popular one in film. The current obsession with zombies is just the latest phase of this fascination with this “what if” scenario. The post-apocalyptic genre offers immediate dramatic impact; the viewer can't help but get caught up in the game of “what would I do in such a drastic situation?”
As early as 1959's The World, the Flesh and the Devil and 1962's Panic in Year Zero, filmmakers have been inspired by the dramatic and visual possibilities inherent in the genre. We humans seem endlessly intrigued by the idea of the eventual decline of civilization and the decimation and eradication of our species from an indifferent planet.
There have been all manner of post-apocalyptic movies, some straight-up adventures (The Road Warrior), some philosophical character studies (The Quiet Earth), bleak horror (Dawn / Day of the Dead), poignant ruminations on the end of all things (The Road) or man's descent into animalistic savagery (No Blade of Grass). I like nearly all of these films, and love many. I'm guess I'm just predisposed to enjoy a good end-of-the-world yarn. The Omega Man may not be the best example of its genre, but it's certainly one of the most entertaining.
Charlton Heston stars as Robert Neville, military scientist and, seemingly, the last man on Earth. As a virulent plague begins wiping out humanity, Neville engineers a possible vaccine. Surviving a helicopter crash, but beginning to feel the effects of the plague, he injects himself with the last intact vial of serum. As a result, he becomes immune to the disease. As civilization crumbles around him, he holes up in his penthouse apartment and barricades himself in with the paintings, books, and other last remnants of a dying culture.
Opinionated ramblings about new and old movies (mostly old, as that's the way I like 'em!)
Blogs of Note
Stuart Galbraith IV's World Cinema Paradise
Movie Morlocks (TCM's Classic Movie Blog)
50 Westerns from the 50s
Riding the High Country
Tipping My Fedora
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
Classic TV and Film Cafe
Just a Cineast
She Blogged By Night
Chess, Comics, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema
Out of the Past -
A Classic Film Blog
Pretty Sinister Books
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
In So Many Words...
Greenbriar Picture Shows
My Love of Old Hollywood
Tales of the Easily Distracted
Another Old Movie Blog
Lasso the Movies
Kevin's Movie Corner
Films From Beyond the Time Barrier
Carole & Co.
Rupert Pupkin Speaks
Vienna's Classic Hollywood
The Lady Eve's Reel Life
ClassicBecky's Brain Food
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