Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Damnation Alley, World War 3

With the European Union on the verge of collapse. both Russia and the U.S. have predicted World War 3.  Excuse my yawn.  What would a third world war look like?  The answer is in today's film, 1977's "Damnation Alley." A post apocalyptic horror/scifi tale, this film capitalized on the world's fear of nuclear war which extended through the 1980s.  Whether it's scientifically accurate is secondary to the fact that we get to see giant scorpions and radioactive, armor plated cockroaches causing much  havoc.
The Soviets fire theirs....we fire ours.  Good-bye planet as we know it.  The Earth has been jolted off it's axis causing weird skies and weather.  Two years later, a surviving California air force base blows up in a freak accident, and only Major Denton (George Peppard), Tanner (Jan-Michael Vincent), and Keegan survive (Paul Winfield).  Denton believes that Albany, NY has escaped the carnage, and the survivors pile onto a Landmaster (built for this film at a cost of $350,000) vehicle equipped with weapons and able to survive any radioactive mess.  Avoiding 10 foot scorpions, our crew makes it to Vegas where they play the slots in Circus Circus and pick up a showgirl wannabe, Janice (Dominique Sanda)...and she is a sight for radiation burned eyes.
The trek gets progressively more difficult as our team arrives in Salt Lake City for  fuel.  There, they have to beat a hasty retreat after Keegan has his face eaten by the aforementioned cockroaches.  As in most of these films, even more dangerous than the monster are other humans, and our party must also survive some mutant rednecks.  After picking up a boy (Jackie Earle Haley), the quartet must brave some apocalyptic weather in order to reach Albany.  Is Albany really a safe haven?  Will Tanner and Janice begin to repopulate the planet?
A fun movie with monsters and pretty good acting, "Damnation Alley" never saw a decent review.  Many saw this film at a drive-in, looking for a respite from the serious drone of those warning against nuclear weapons.  As the end of the '80s saw peoples' fear of nuclear war wane, perhaps the perilous state of the EU may rekindle the relevance of "Damnation Alley." Available on YouTube, as Germany loses control on Europe's monetary system, enjoy "Damnation Alley."


  1. Ah the joys of the whole 80s "NUCLEAR DEATH IS COMING FOR US ALL ANY TIME NOW!" thing. Even at high school in the town I lived in...about 50km away from the nearest remotely nukable city...in Australia =))

  2. Nice one. I do love a film with giant scorpions!