During one of my trips into and out of the Columbia House DVD club recently, I selected a big load of well-thought-of science fiction from the 70s. Some, like Soylent Green and The Andromeda Strain, I had seen before, but not in many years. Others, like Westworld, I hadn’t seen at all.
I’ll tell you, most of it still works. My favorite of the group turned out to be The Omega Man. It’s an intriguing premise with a genuinely scary enemy and a hot female lead. That was a dynamite cocktail 35 years ago just like it is today. And it’s got one highly memorable visual gotcha that will probably always be one of my all-time favorites.
Mind, there are some details that just don’t flow anymore (if they ever really did). Charlton Heston’s overacting, particularly when talking to himself, grates after a while. And the final scene is so chock full of clock-you-in-the-melon symbolism that it plays like a parody of itself. But with a strong story (which it definitely has), these things are easy to overlook.
Pick it up, even just for a rental if you must. Everyone rightly remembers Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green as Heston’s sci-fi high points, but The Omega Man deserves to be right in there. It’s quite a film.