Peter Graves (Beginning Of The End) plays the father saddled with an 18 year old nerd know-it-all son and a shrieking, hysterical tom boy daughter, who, against all odds, don’t die when the big solar flare attack of 1974 turns almost everyone on Earth to dust!
It’s not too far of a stretch to think that about the time his son was whining about his mommy and his daughter was clutching a doll and demanding to be taken to the bathroom, that Peter was wishing his pile of dust wife and he could switch places.
Maybe the idea of surviving the apocalypse was new back in the early 1970s – it shouldn’t have been since they had movies like The Omega Man and No Blade Of Grass. In any case, I don’t get these people who discover the phones are dead, nothing electronic works, everyone has disappeared, and all the dogs have gone rabid over night and they’re standing around with their thumbs in their butts wondering if it’s like this everywhere and that they need to rush back home to save Mommy. If I woke up tomorrow and all that had happened while I was sleeping, the first thing I’d figure was that we are officially in a SHTF situation. And if you don’t even know what SHTF stands for, you’re just raw meat for the rest of us.
If you want to know what else I’d do in this situation, just watch Where Have All The People Gone and I’ll be doing the opposite of what these goobers do. Screaming teenage brats? These little snot noses need to be told to grow up and accept reality. I need someone on point, someone to keep track of our water supply, and we need to start sleeping in shifts. If you got time to piss and moan when all that’s done, go find a bush and do it while you’re taking a crap.
Yeah, we’ll go look for Mommy, but not because there’s any chance she’s still alive. Hell, when we get home, I’ll be going in right after my 12 gauge because there’s a better than even chance that if the old bag is still kicking, she’s turned into some type of zombie who would just as soon bite your face off than kiss it.
But we’ll go look for her since there isn’t anything else to do and because we need to keep moving until we can get a sense of what kind of shape the surrounding area is in. You know – dope out how many armed goons are milling around raping women and stealing gas while declaring themselves the new king of the United States. Looking for Mom is fine and dandy as long as you remember why it’s important: recon and intel.
Peter Graves and his family aren’t the only problems that Peter Graves and his family run into. First of all, they’re woefully underarmed.
You’ve got a planet full of crazy dogs and desperate survivors and the only weapons you’ve got is your can-do attitude and emotionally crippled kids? You’ve got to be carrying something with some kind of stopping power whether it’s guns, knives or a frigging tire jack! I mean when you have to scramble to find a wrench and a rag to save your family from a single dog, your post-apocalypse is not off to a good start.
A couple more lessons are real easy to pick up from this movie. If you’ve got transportation and you see a sweaty guy standing around his broken down car, you do not stop to see if he needs help. You blow past him with several of your crew making sure this guy is in their gunsights at all times.
If you do stop to raid him for weapons and provisions, you punch his ticket before he knows what hit him. When Peter and company stopped for this guy, I just thought, why don’t you just bend over for this guy and hand him the Vaseline?
Peter manages to pick up a couple of more losers for his group as his journey progresses, violating another Golden Rule of the New World: no one should be in your clan that can’t pull their own weight.
Guess what Peter added to his all-star team of his worthless son and daughter? A woman who’s basically catatonic and a little boy that tried to kill him! Pete, why don’t you just strap two 100 pound weights to your back – they’d be easier to carry and they wouldn’t need as much water.
Aside from being a pathetic comedy of errors where Peter and his family survive in spite of their best efforts, the movie’s apocalypse doesn’t make any sense.
There were some solar flares that did something and Peter learns from a note his wife conveniently wrote before she turned to kitty litter that they isolated a virus and some people were immune, maybe because of a recessive gene. And if that didn’t make little enough sense, the apocalypse also managed to mess all the electronic stuff up and turned dogs into killers.
Why do I get the idea that the aftereffects of this particular end of the world scenario were driven by a TV movie’s meager budget as well as broadcast standards? Piles of dust? A bunch of growling dogs? Cars all broken down? Is this the end of the world or my apartment building?
Truly apocalyptic for all the wrong reasons, Where Have All The People Gone is the sort of dingbat film where Peter constantly turns to his 18 year old son for the scientific reasons for what happened because his son had a single physics course instead of having the kid booby trapping the homestead to repel invaders who are going to be after Peter’s women. The film’s ending is also a bit bogus since it’s obvious the dogs are the only ones smart enough to survive.
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