Gas -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It, 1970
Cast: Bob Corff, Elaine Giftos, Talia Shire, Cindy Williams, Alex Wilson
A gas is let loose upon the world that kills anyone over 25 years old.
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Films about the apocalypse have always been interesting and strike a nerve with some people because it questions what would happen when established society is destroyed and only the survivors are left to rebuild the world but in their image. What would that look like? Well, according to Roger Corman whose version of the world after adults have perished and the youth take control is one of complete silliness and psychedelic adventures. None that really amounts to anything, and by the end of the film youíre left wondering what exactly you just put yourself through.
Besides the awful and unappealing title, Cormanís film tries to be something fun and eccentric, and while it is certainly eccentric it is not interesting, appealing, compelling nor fun. The characters are odd and not in a clever way. Not only are they scattered with awkward personalities that seem compromised of one note personas, the directing and editing is scattered as well. Itís just a big mess.
The movie is a post-apocalyptic dark comedy, about survivors of an accidental military gas leak, of an experimental agent that kills everyone on Earth over the age of twenty-five. A cartoon title sequence shows a John Wayne-esque Army General announcing and denouncing the "accident"; the story picks up after the victims have died. The characters are hippies migrating throughout the lawless land seeking peace and good vibes. But on their pilgrimage they encounter several odd people who have taken the law into their own hands.
Later on they come across a town run by football jocks who lead a fascist society whose motto is loot, rape, and pillage. They welcome the traveling hippies but expect them to join their group and prepare for battle as they plan on conquering a neighboring town. The traveling hippies move on.
Thereís a reason behind the chaotic editing. AIP who produced the film decided to recut many of the scenes without Cormanís approval. So certain scenes that transitioned into others were removed making certain parts of the film feel disjointed and incoherent. But honestly, even if some of those scenes were left in, I doubt it would have made much difference. This film is just bad from start to finish and leaves nothing to be admired. Itís confusing, silly without humor and nonsensical for the purpose of being nonsensical. If you come across it, just pass.