Sunday, July 31, 2011

Damnation Alley

Back in May, 2008, I very briefly mentoined the movia Damnation Alley. It's finally back on the Fox Movie Channel schedule, at 10:30 PM tonight

George Peppard plays Major Denton, who's in charge of one of the nuclear silos that were part of the USA's "mutually assured destruction" nuclear defense back in the Cold War days. The only thing is, the Cold War really turns hot, leaving only the people in the silo alive. They have canned food for a time, but an accident happens that forces the folks in the silo to leave. What to do? Fortunately, our heroes, Maj. Denton and fellow solder Tanner (Jan-Michael Vincent) have access to a cross between an SUV and a tank known as the "Landmaster", and have picked pu some sort of radio signal which they've determined is coming from Albany, NY. So they set out on a cross-country trip to get to Albany.

This beginning is a bit pedestrian, but once they get out of the silo, things really turn sour, making Damnation Alley into one of those movies that's so bad you'll be laughing, even though that wasn't the intention of the filmmakers. I mean, how many clich├ęs can a movie have? First, they pick up the token woman for eye candy (Dominique Sanda), and the token bratty kid (Jackie Earle Haley, back in his first acting career). The post-apocalyptic sets look as though they could have been rejects from Planet of the Apes. There's Las Vegas, a desert gas station that has some creepy inhabitants, and a town full of giant cockroaches. If you weren't laughing in Vegas, you will be by the time you see those roaches. Oh, and have I mentioned the lousy special effects? And the terrible acting?

Damnation Alley probably deserves to be panned mercilessly. But like Skidoo or the ending of Imitation of Life, there's just so much wrong here that it's a laugh riot.

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