Directed by Boris Sagal
Written by John William Corrington & Joyce Hooper Corrington
Based on the 1954 Richard Matheson, “I Am Legend”
Starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe and Rosalind Cash
Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race.
I don’t see myself getting this on Blu Ray any time soon, but it’s a good reason to stick close to the 65 degrees climate inside my house. The Omega Man certainly provides some retro entertainment for a Sunday afternoon. I should mention upfront that I Am Legend is one of my favorite books from Matheson, and this movie is as far removed from the source material as possible. If you can view this a stand-alone tale of survival and suspense – then you might like it.
The Omega Man is a nice addition to the post-apocalyptic horror genre, and if nothing else, it seals the deal by being made in 1971. Robert Neville (Heston) thinks he’s the last man on earth after a war-born pandemic decimates the human race. A former military doctor, Neville spends the days patrolling for the infected, the “vampires” if you will. When the sun begins to go down, Neville races back to his reinforced home. The vampires gather outside his home in the night, chanting his name and feebly trying to breach his generator-run sanctuary. Gone from the movie is the way the infected stalked Neville nightly, wailing “Neville!” until the sun rose every morning. I think the book would have been a perfect structure for the filmmakers, but it is what it is.
Heston serves up a solid performance as the overly dramatic lone survivor struggling for his own sanity in the open space of isolation. The deserted city street adds a lot of character to the film, giving us a very believable backdrop. The score is possibly the part of The Omega Man. It switches gears between big, sweeping spaghetti westerns and vintage 1970’s jazz/funk. The music adds a lot to the action scenes and creates some great suspenseful moments. This is a really entertaining movie – worth the watch, I just had so many problems due to my love of the novel. It’s currently available at Netflix to view instantly. Enjoy.