Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Cult of (Cathode) Ray

Vol. 1

This is a new feature to Caveat lector and it's called - The Cult of (Cathode) Ray (Yes, it is a shout-out to Black Francis). It's my attempt at reviews of this, that and the other on my TV. Sometimes "mainstream", sometimes "cult". Sometimes "old", sometimes "new", sometimes cinema, sometimes tube... what do they all have in common? They are all on my TV (via DVD or broadcast) and they have all been viewed by me. So like it or hate it... welcome to my TV Casualty (HA!).

THE QUIET EARTH (1985) New Zealand

I saw this movie in the late 80's while spending the weekend house/dog-sitting for some friends of my parents. They had one of those giant satellite dish set ups that looked like the rebel alliance along with a tribe of Ewoks might try to blow up... they were that big back in those days, kids. They had a ton of channels and one of them showed a film from NZ called, THE QUIET EARTH. No doubt, this is the kind of movie that young Peter Jackson used to cut his teeth before REALLY putting his home on the movie map.

The film starts much the same way that 28 Days Later does... but, that is where the similarities end. After roaming the streets of a deserted Earth and systematically losing his mind in the process, he begins to piece together what happened when he learns that he is not alone. As the others and he put 2 and 2 and .4358746 together, they start to figure out where everyone has gone... sort of. The end will have you saying to yourself, "um, what the fuck just happened?" and you'll love it.

The movie was based on the book of the same name by Craig Harrison who was making a joke about a New Zealand tourist who didn't know that New Zealanders take weekends off and felt abandoned and alone like the only person left on Earth. Its present-day offspring are many, but perhaps the biggest comparison has been made to the 1959 Harry Belafonte film THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL, of which it has been called an unofficial remake (?!).

I have to point out that the soundtrack to this film is what got me into soundtrack and instrumental music. I have searched for a vinyl, tape of CD copy of it, to no avail. But it's REALLY good and very memorable.

The film is far easier to find now as part of the CULT FICTION film series (of which I will likely be reviewing more) so, get your hands on it! Rent it, Netflix it, buy it. This is a fine film that deserves more than it's cult status, but thank RAY it still has it.



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