Saturday, April 23, 2016

Holiday Flix: The Last Days of Man on Earth

Well, it's less about Earth than I thought...but screw it.  Today's Film is The Last Days of Man on Earth, also known as The Final Programme.  Let's be honest- the first Title is better, right?  Besides the Title connection, why am I doing this Movie?  The answer- Robert Fuest.  If you don't know, Fuest Directed the greatest Film ever made- The Abominable Dr. Phibes.  Need I say more?  Well, I will anyways.  He also made the quirkier Sequel, the surprisingly-straight ...And Soon the Darkness, as well as numerous Episodes of the original Avengers TV Show.  His big thing- amazing Set Direction.  It may not sound like much, but his Films always looked great!  Unfortunately, his downfall was The Devil's Rain and he slowly degraded into doing TV work before retiring.  While it saddens me that the man is not alive to see people like me praising his work, I will do it all the same.  Yes, I will also eventually do his TV work, though I'm somewhat reticent about it.  Before his sudden fall, he managed to make this weird Film.  It is about...well, alot of weird things.  It is part-Science Fiction, part-Thriller and part-Spy Film.  I really want to check the book out to compare it- even if there are like 65 books ahead of it.  It is hard to sum up, so let me just jump right in...
A rich guy- Cornelius- is pondering the fate of mankind after his father's death.  His creepy pal ain't helping matters.
As he plans to save his Sister and blow up his house (don't ask), he goes through some very Fuest-like Sets.

Don't you wish this was a real place?!?
This mysterious group agrees to help Cornelius, but they have an ulterior motive.  What is it?
At the house, the step-brother has set up a serious of bizarre traps that involve gas, hidden doors and lights that induce seizures.  Wait- he invented Anime?!?
After a series of fights, Cornelius has one last chase with his rival- in some beautifully-shot locations- and kills him.
With nothing left to do, he joins the woman on a trip to Lapland.  He learns of the secret cabal of which she is a part.  They have planned for the end of the world with the power of Math and a computer that is probably less powerful than an iPhone4.
So what is their big plan- which involves a bunch of suspended brains in jars- and what is their goal?
They want to create a self-sustaining lifeform.  That means that it is both Genders and somehow reproduces with itself.  No, really.
After some 2001-style imagery, the creature- which is the woman and the man together- emerges as some sort of primordial ape man and leaves (to some ironic Jazz Music).  The End?
 Weird.  Double weird.  Triple weird!  This whole thing is just bizarre and banal.  It is an early version of such oddities as The Lobster in that regard.  It is a bit flipped though.  That Film was all about people saying weird things in a plain-spoken manner with really normal visuals.  This Film is about people saying fairly-normal things surrounded by bizarre visuals.  Aside from the ones I showed you, Last Days features lens effects, colored gas, background mud wrestling and a Nazi Submarine.  The pace is slow and steady, but the mysterious Plot should keep you hooked.  Strange things happen at every corner, be it shifting rooms or a creepy guy more interested in straightening a Pinball Machine than a woman in front of him.  Besides, our Hero says 'Napalm' like 'Nah- palm' a few times- gold.  It is definitely for everyone.  It veers quite a bit into 'arty for arty's sake.'  I'll grant you that.  In the End, The Last Days of Man on Earth is a weird little gem that needs to be celebrated with its kind.  You never know what you'll find if you stop to take a second look sometimes...
A whole lot of weird that eventually pays off for the more patient viewer.  If you like this kind of stuff, it is right up your alley!

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