Wednesday, February 25, 2015

End of the World (1977)

Given the popularity of disaster films in the ’70s, it was inevitable that some enterprising producer would make a movie about the apocalypse, and it was probably just as inevitable that the resulting film would be awful. Produced by grade-Z horror/sci-fi purveyor Charles Band, End of the World contains so many colorful elements that it should be a crap-cinema jamboree—the plot involves conspiracies, natural disasters, religion, and space aliens. Yet Band clearly held the purses strings tightly closed throughout production, so what viewers actually see are lots of interminable scenes featuring people talking about interesting things that are happening elsewhere. The opening scene includes a few weak pyrotechnic effects, and the finale showcases tacky sci-fi transportation effects that wouldn’t have passed muster on an episode of Star Trek. In between is an ocean of nothing. The plot, such as it is, concerns NASA scientist Andrew Boran (Kirk Scott), who detects weird signals beaming from somewhere on Earth into outer space. Meanwhile, news reports indicate a surge in natural disasters. Andrew and his wife, Sylvia (Sue Lyon), track the signal to a remote convent. Soon, Andrew and Sylvia discover that a priest named Father Pergado (Christopher Lee) is actually an alien in human disguise, and that he’s been sent to annihilate Earth lest the “disease” of humankind spread throughout the universe. All of the actors in the film (including the aforementioned plus big-screen veterans Lew Ayres, Macdonald Carey, and Dean Jagger) look bored, which is understandable, and not even the persistent bleeps and bloops of the tacky electronic score are enough to enliven the lethargic footage. Worst of all, End of the World isn’t so aggressively stupid that it achieves camp value. Instead, it’s just lazily stupid, raising the unanswerable question of why Band and his people bothered to waste time making this drivel.

End of the World: SQUARE

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