Saturday, June 4, 2011

CORMANIA 2011 #2 - Ga-s-s-s

1.53pm - Gas-s-s-s, or It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save it (1970)

Our King's role: Director/producer
Cast: Bob Corff (FRIGHT NIGHT), Bud Cort (the MASH movie), Talia Shore (ROCKY, GODFATHER series), Cindy Williams (AMERICAN GRAFFITI), Ben Vereen (ZOOBILEE ZOO).

Plot: A deadly gas kills off anyone under 25. A young hardcase anti-authoritarian type (Corff) and his girl (Elaine Giftos) find that life under these new circumstances isn't to their liking and hit the road. They run into a fellow group of survivors (early roles for Cort, Shore, Williams and Vereen) and continue travelling across country, encountering various situations, including a rock concert, a town run by a group of deluded American Football players, a wacky doctor, a golf course community run by a cart-driving gang, some bizarre American Indians and The Oracle. They end up at a pueblo commune and the marauding, dune buggie-driving American Footballers show up before a wacky finale.

- We open with badly-drawn animation about a gas escaping from a nuclear research facility in Alaska. This is going to be an odd flick.
- Great 60s rock soundtrack. Groovy man!
- Amidst all the wacky humour, a shot of downtown Dallas with empty streets and an elderly couple dead in each others' arms is actually quite eerie.
- Ah, Cindy Williams how cute and perky you were.
- I can't look at Ben Vereen without thinking about him wearing animal ears, whiskers and a big ol' grin on Zoobilee Zoo. Haven't seen that show since I was a kid, but it creeped me out back then.
- Why are they shouting out the names of big screen movie stars while pretending to have a western shoot out? Wait, they really died? I'm confused.
- Hey, there's a cameo by well-known anti-war musician Country Joe McDonald of Country Joe and the Fish. The guitarist from that band, Barry Melton, is the man responsible for the soundtrack to this film.
- Free love awash with psychadelic colours and patterns. No 1960s/early 70s hippy movie would be complete without it.
- Gratuitous dune buggy chase scene!
- The one guy has a massive machine gun mounted on top of his dune buggy but never fires it. Lame!
- Gratuitous golf cart chase scene!
- Okay, the golf ball attack is pretty awesome and fun.
- "What was that, a bomb?", "No, it sounded more ironic than that". Uh, okay.
- What a far out ending man.

Overall thoughts: Wow. That was something. What that something is, I'm not quite sure. The main characters were likeable, the concept pretty fun (I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic films, no matter what the genre) and it was fairly well shot, but a lot of the humour fell flat for me. At times it felt like an extended episode of The Monkees, if The Monkees had featured a few more adult-natured jokes. It could be that I'm from the wrong generation or that the humour hasn't dated well, but I only really laughed once or twice. I'd like to think there's some kind of message at the heart of this pretentious movie, but I'm damned if I know what it is. In saying all that, this isn't a bad movie per se - if you're looking for something quirky it definitely fits that bill.

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