Friday, February 12, 2016

The People Who Own the Dark - 1976

Leon Klimovsky strikes again after his first one I watched, Vengeance of the Zombies.  That one was an entertaining Euro-fest featuring a star with one name and no cool zombies in it.  Instead it was people raised from the dead who followed the bidding of their master.  They didn't lust for blood like the real deal zombies.  The People Who Own the Dark (TPWOTD) also stars a woman with one name, this time it's Nadiuska, who was apparently also in Conan the Barbarian.

TPWOTD is one of those between genre things that came out and that I'm sure some would call exploitation.  Again, gonna disagree on that one.  It's trashy, it can offend, but I wouldn't call it exploitative.  It was actually a lot of fun - not that exploitation can't be fun.

It took me a little while to think of what movie this one was similar to, but I finally did in the last half hour.  The Omega Man with Charlton Heston.  If you haven't seen it, it's a classic, but it's also quite different from the newest version with Will Smith, I Am Legend.  In the Omega Man, there are other people that are not zombies, rather they are extremely weird altered humans.  They want Charlton to join them, and to do this they continually pester him, not even resorting to violence right away.  They talk, they reason, they are intelligent - it's just that they are no longer themselves, and they are possibly dangerous.

In TPWOTD, it's the same way.  It starts with those exploitative qualities.  A group of people are going to have what looks to be a Eyes Wide Shut style orgy, complete with masks, when an atomic explosion of some sort rocks the world.  Or, England.  It's never quite said.  Somehow one of the orgy member guys knows this and immediately takes charge of the situation, has everyone prepare for the coming hardship.  To my satisfaction it was never explained how this guy knew what was going on, but let's skip that for now.

Some of the people have sex, some of the people get food and supplies, and some of the people understandably freak the fuck out.
I guess we know which one of those choices these two chose....

When they eventually make their way to town, they discover that everyone in town has become blinded by the radiation.  Odd, that.  So the town is all blinded, and they are kinda pissed off at the non-blinded people, and the non-blinded just want to get food and water, etc.  In a mishap, one of the blind people is killed.  Then the fuckin' hunt is on and the blind peeps all come after the seeing peeps.

There were several easy things to like about this.  First of all ample nudity.  Second of all, I liked the beginning when it's all these people in this situation and you're not sure what they're going to do.  I felt the script was realistic, the people were realistic, and there was a hidden subtext going on since they were all obviously lovers at some point.  There were even a couple lesbian characters, added not because they had a lesbian sex scene, but simply to have realism, and to include some real human stuff going on in this movie.  All that worked well, and there were more things like that too.

The blinded townsfolk were a mixed bag.  Sure, more explanation wouldn't have hurt.  However, it was decently done, and they were believable.  Also, they were wronged by the seeing men, and so if you imagine the blind are simply out for revenge, that makes this film work.  The pacing and the atmosphere was pretty good too!  I'm kinda into this movie, damn!

The end has a minor twist you'll see coming, but the execution of the film worked out very well all things considered.  Also, I wasn't expecting much from this and that definitely helped.  Go in with low expectations and be pleasantly surprised.  Maybe.

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