This Is Not a Test (1962)

This Is Not a Test DVD CoverDeputy Sheriff Dan Colter is in charge of making sure that the people who are driving on a remote stretch of mountain road at four in the morning are stopped at his little roadblock and protected from an atomic attack. Shockingly, this is the least idiotic part of the civil defense plan he implements!

He ends up stopping a husband and wife (who don’t like each other), their dog (Timmy) , a granddaughter-grandfather team driving a truck, a guy driving a semi truck with a hitchhiker, and a couple that just got back from winning $175,000 in Vegas.

Everyone wants to know why they’ve been stopped and Colter won’t tell them. The hitchhiker won’t get out of the truck, so Colter goes over there and recognizes him as Clint, a kid who is a serial killer and so heartless that he wrote his dad who was dying in the hospital and told him to hang on until he got there so that Clint could watch him suffer an agonizing death. Naturally, Colter refers to this little vacant-eyed maniac as a “good kid” thus revealing that the perpetually moronic look on his pug face goes straight to the bone.

Clint runs away, threatens some people with a knife and demands his suitcase, but loses it. He runs into the farmer’s granddaughter in the woods later and wants her to bring him his suitcase, but by the end of the movie the suitcase is completely forgotten about and we never do learn what was inside of it. I guess that’s just the movie’s way of pointing out how insignificant the details of our everyday existences are when we’re getting nuked into the Stone Age. Either that or it’s just sloppy writing.

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Once Clint escapes, everyone assumes that they’re free to go and that they were being held there so that Deputy Colter could catch Clint. Colter tells everyone to give him their car keys and that they aren’t going nowhere. Finally he lets on that they are under attack and his orders are to keep people from going into town and leaving town on that road.

One of the things I liked about this movie was that every time Colter said something completely stupid (which was pretty much whenever he opened his giant maw) the rest of the characters would stand around pointing out just how stupid he was.

They never did anything about it and pretty much obeyed whatever he told them to do, but they didn’t do it quietly or politely. Like when Colter says that they’re going to be safe where they are.

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Someone points out all the military and civilian targets that are within twenty miles of where they are and that basically they are sitting on ground zero and that any place other than the mountain road would be safer to hunker down at. Colter’s response is that they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and people survived so they might survive, too. The best part of this snappy answer is that he used it more than once!

Since Colter is intent on keeping everyone at this location while the end of the world occurs, they ask him what his big plan is to save them all. This is where that governmental know-how that bought $800 toilet seats and classified ketchup as a vegetable comes in handy. Colter eyes the semi that one of the guys was driving and says that they are going to unload it and hide in there when the missiles come!

You can imagine the pooh-poohing that goes on amongst the citizens when they hear that one. Colter is impervious to these naysayers and so they unload the truck to get it ready as their mobile bomb shelter.

Oh, and did Deputy Colter tell you that you would be living in that semi for two weeks while all the fallout settled down? Just for good measure, to make sure that they are doubly safe, Colter wastes a bunch of water so that he can make mud to clog up all the ventilation spots in the semi so that none of that pesky radiation seeps in there while they’re all improbably breathing the same stale air for two weeks.

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But Colter even has a plan when he thinks that maybe there won’t be enough air. Guess what cute little dog gets strangled by Colter for breathing too much?

I never would have thought that hiding from an atomic attack in a semi would be such fun! In spite of how utterly ridiculous the notion of stopping people and herding them into semis in an effort to save them from World War III is, this one had some of that good-old fashioned sweaty paranoid atmosphere that movies like this depend on to overcome their inborn stupidity.

Somehow against all odds, this movie manages to treat a consistently silly premise with such grave seriousness that you can’t help but get caught up in it all. You’ll feel like you spent 72 minutes in a big, hot, sweaty semi with a dead dog after watching this one!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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