(COME, IT IS TIME TO GIVE THE MACHINE-MAN YOUR FACE!)
VOICE: It is quiet out there now.
All good MUTANTS have gone to bed.
Their lullaby sings of LIFE and DEATH.
One of the first films that could be classed as APOCALYPTIC and DYSTOPIAN (THE FOETAL STAGE OF POST-APOCALYPTICA) was that of the sublime “Metropolis” (1927) by the masterful German expressionist director Fritz Lang (1890 – 1976). The sheer breadth of PROPHETIC imagery in this film is astounding.
The TOWER of BABEL.
Freder’s VISION of DEATH and the SEVEN DEADLY SINS, while the evil sex-bot MARIA is dancing as the WHORE of BABYLON.
The MACHINE-MAN, the transformation of the false Maria, is not only one of the most ICONIC images to come out of the oft-maligned genre of Science Fiction, SHE is the perfect agent of CHAOS and REVENGE. Beautiful, maniacal, convincing and trusted by the workers; the mad scientist Rotwang uses HER to spread DIS-INFORMATION and incite the workers to REVOLT in a classic “strategy of tension”.
And, talking of PROPAGANDA …
The more famous ALIEN INVASION APOCALYPSE movie has had its fair share of big bucks thrown at it in its role as a scapegoating governmental PSYOP. The powers-that-be (THEM) know that the paying public are always willing to suspend critical thought if the opportunity arises to see an ever bigger explosion.
BREAD, CIRCUSES and FALSE FLAGS abound.
From Don Siegel’s “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers ” (1956) and George Pal’s version of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds‘” (1953) supposed Anti-PINKO messages to “INDEPENDENCE Day” (1996) with its blatant STAND-UP GUY President during a time when Clinton’s rep was, ahem, on its KNEES. The Spielberg “War Of The Worlds” (2005) remake with Tom Cruise, a man whose very religion is Sci-Fi OCCULTISM, added a Post-9/11 frisson to the TERROR experienced by its so-called “civilised” protagonists and, even though the ALIENs INVADING in James Cameron’s “Avatar” (2009) were humans, the film’s eco-PRIMITIVISTIC/FASCIST Gaia-worshipping sub-text shone like the sun through a giant genetically-modified dragonfly’s wing.
(TAKE YOUR STINKIN’ PAWS OFF ME, YOU DAMNED DIRTY APE!)
Post-APOCALYPTICA’s message has always been more subversive than its first grizzled impression.
Charlton Heston (1923 – 2008) was the 60s GODFATHER of Post-APOCALYPTICA, before he became demonised as the gun-totting FIEND who terrified cowering liberals from California to Manhattan. Heston had made the leap from the essence of the upstanding HERO with his portrayals of El Cid, Ben Hur and Moses to something altogether more perverse and awe-inspiring than even Cecil B. DeMille could deliver.
Each of the characters that he played in this classic era came from the same basic mould: a tough world weary MISANTHROPE, angry at his species for their greed and stupidity, snarling and shouting so whenever opportunity saw fit. A PROPHET throwing rocks at the camels of the MIND. A BEATNIK gone mental. A HIPPIE gone truly BAD, Dad.
Less turned on and tuned in, more LOCKED and LOADED.
He was a man after my own BLACKENED heart.
Each of his films was SCARRED by the zeitgeist, and showed what could still be if humanity failed. If the path got yet more crooked. If it became NOW.
The threat of nuclear annihilation, and the idea that humans were not the BE ALL and END ALL of the evolutionary process, inspired “Planet Of The Apes” (1968) and its subsequent sequels that took the story into WILDER regions of IDEAS and IMAGINATION than anybody could have dared to wish for.
Remember those MUTANT NUKE-worshippers? BRRRRRRR …
The threat of the baby BOOM(!)ing generation and humanity’s voracious appetite for BREEDING and CONSUMING without CONTROL and to the detriment of all other species informed the DYSTOPIAN classic “Soylent Green” (1973). A film which forever let us refer to old folk as BISCUITS.
Last but far from least, “The Omega Man” (1971) showed us a world after the threat of biological weapons of mass DESTRUCTION in the wake of The Vietnam War become a reality. A classic of the genre, “The Omega Man” was, in fact, itself a remake of an earlier flick, “The Last Man On Earth” (1964) with Vincent Price fighting off INFECTED VAMPIRES and was subsequently re-remade in 2007 as “I am LEGEND” (the original name of the novel by recently deceased and much missed Richard Matheson) with Will Smith being, well, Will Smith and taking the Heston/Price role.
Heston earned himself a place in the heart of every fan of Post-APOCALYPTICA, no matter whether you agree with his politics or not. At the END of EVERYTHING, politics do not mean diddly-squat when a NUKE WORSHIPPING MUTIE is trying to bite your face off. You want the MAN with biggest GUN stood right next to you.
The Sixties also saw the rise of the most infamous sub-genre in all the Post-APOCALYPTIC wasteland.
The ZOMBIE flick; forever transformed by an unassuming man in large glasses.
Shuffling awkwardly into our consciousness in 1968, George A Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead” changed our perception of the ZOMBIE forever. Gone was the idea of Voodoo Witchdoctors UMBONGOing reanimated corpses to do their bidding. The Haitian/North Mbundu word now had connotations all the more insidious. A creeping MINDLESS HORDE of undead cannibals. So influential was this film and its sequels that they have influenced everything from ZOMBIE Walk protests to children’s toys. From the satirical counter-culture stance on the military and The Vietnam War in the form of the pompous General, to the later comment on our consumer society with “Dawn Of The Dead” (1978). One more thing, TNOTLD featured a hero of an altogether DARKER hue, as did John Carpenter‘s 1976 CRIME homage “Assault On Precinct 13“. This alone was considered seditious enough for your average Middle American in 1968. To say that these films were MINDLESS graphic rubbish was really missing the point.
They are a modern day GRAND GUIGNOL, glorifying MORTALITY while shambling away in FEAR.
Like wandering through the FLESH section in a French Supermarket.
(TO BE CONT.D)