Monday, March 28, 2016

PANIC IN YEAR ZERO! (1962)

Ray Milland and family (wife Jean Hagen, daughter Mary Mitchel and son Frankie Avalon) leave Los Angeles early one morning to go on a fishing trip.  After they're only a few miles out of town a nuclear explosion levels all of L.A.  They soon hear on the radio that major cities all over the world have also been blown to smithereens.  Father Milland goes into panic mode and starts gathering up all the supplies he can get his hands on, even if it means armed robbery!  Eventually they move into a secluded cave way off in the woods, but they're not totally alone.

As far as apocalyptic films of the 1960's go PANIC IN YEAR ZERO! is entertaining.  The action starts off immediately and keeps going at a steady pace for the entire film.  My biggest complaint though, and the reason I'll probably never watch it ever again, is it's just too dated, low-budget and tame.  There's talk of looting and violence, but practically none of it is shown on camera.  The tagline in the poster even promises "An ORGY of LOOTING and LUST..." but that doesn't happen at all.  Not even close!

PIYZ! is interesting from a historical point of view to see the filmmakers vision of what the collapse of society would look like, but nowadays it just seems naive.  Worth a watch, but it's nothing to get excited about.  The snazzy music by Les Baxter was sweet though.

If you need me I'll be in my room reading Robert McCammon's "Swan Song".
Hard to believe, but I think that's Paul Gleason from THE BREAKFAST CLUB and  DIE HARD.

Not sure what's going on here, but Frankie straight up gives the camera the bird for 7 seconds.