Oh my lord, this movie is boring! I watched the whole thing on 1.5x speed, but it still felt painfully slow. Nothing happens, I mean, really nothing at all. People move around on screen and recite dialogue, but it goes nowhere.
I would have been grateful for any tiny semblance of action. A nosebleed. You don’t even need to pay for special effects make-up for a nosebleed, or even a hang nail, anything for a little drama. How about some creepy music, a nosebleed, a nasty hangnail, and some heavy breathing? You could zoom into an extreme close-up of the hangnail and play something discordant on the Moog. At least as a horror movie, it might be mildly uncomfortable, but End of The World doesn’t do any of that. It doesn’t do anything. It just sits in the corner like a child pouting with his chin stuck out and its arms crossed.
Mostly, the movie is just footage of Andrew, the protagonist, looking at a computer screen. Sometimes he wears a different blazer, but mostly he just stares at the screen and looks vaguely concerned. The film has Christopher Lee in it, but after a brief encounter in the opening scene, Lee doesn’t show up until halfway through the film. Maybe he was busy. That guy made a lot of movies.
When we do finally get to see Chris, he is in his evil layer which, joy of joys, is filled with computers. This means more shots of computer screens, but now in a darker room. Basically, Chris plays an evil alien mastermind, by standing around monitoring computer screens and looking sinister. I’m guessing Chris has “resting sinister face”. Then, Andrew and his wife Sylvia burst in and the explaining begins. Chris explains stuff to Andrew and Andrew explains stuff to Sylvia, and then they all stand around and look at stuff.
Chris is posing as a priest who oversees a rabble of aliens who are posing as nuns. When I say posing, I mean posing. They generally don’t move, or talk, they just stand there and stare. No bloody nose, no nuthin’.
Chris and the nuns are stranded on Earth and have been building a “time warp” machine to transport them back home. Unfortunately, they are having trouble getting it to work. They should have given Frank-N-Furter a ring, he’s got experience “time warping”, but alas Chris and his nuns choose a different route. They decide to use humans as guinea pigs to test the machine, which, of course, results in several fatal accidents. At least, I think that’s what happens. It was really hard to pay attention after a while.
The filmmakers did spring for an alien mask, but we get exactly 1.5 seconds of it at the end of the film. The movie ends with the complete destruction of Earth. You would think that a world-ending apocalypse might be exciting, but instead of spending money on sets or special effects, they chose to film Brad and Janet, oops, I mean Asshole and Slut, no, no, I mean Andrew and Sylvia watching grainy stock footage of floods and fires on a computer screen.
We do get to see a shot of the Earth in space as it explodes into tiny pieces. Betcha didn’t know the Earth was filled with glitter, see below. I will give writer Frank Ray Perilli some credit. Not many films end with the Earth’s destruction. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Melancholia (2011), I’m sure there are a few more, but there aren’t very many. It’s kind of a downer.
You might be wondering how Perilli and the director, John Hayes, got Sir Christopher Lee to sign on to the project. They were fortunate enough to catch Chris at a low point in his career. He was bored of making films for Hammer Film Productions Ltd. I can’t imagine why, he got to make such a diverse array of films like: Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Count Dracula, Taste The Blood of Dracula, Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Dracula A.D. 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Dracula Prince of Darkness, Jesus Christ! Those last two words are an exclamation, not a movie title, although I wonder how Chris would fair as the Prince of Peace instead of the Prince of Darkness. Can you imagine him as Jesus glowering down from the cross with blood dripping from his brow as he murmured in his resonant baritone voice, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”? That’ll put the fear of God in ya!
Anyway, when asked why he left Hammer and came to Hollywood, he explained, “Some of the films I’ve been in I regret making. I got conned into making these pictures in almost every case by people who lied to me. Some years ago, I got a call from my producers saying that they were sending me a script and that five very distinguished American actors were also going to be in the film. Actors like José Ferrer, Dean Jagger, and John Carradine. So I thought, “Well, that’s all right by me”. But it turned out it was a complete lie. Appropriately, the film was called End Of The World.” Poor Chris.
It’s interesting hearing John Carradine referred to as a “distinguished actor”. I suppose he is easy to “distinguish” from other actors. He’s the one who looks like he has been drinking grain alcohol and living under a rock for the last 200 years. Of course, he did not end up playing a role in End of the World. In 1977, when End of The World was being made, Carradine was acting in the very distinguished film The Sentinel.
When End Of The World was released, it didn’t do very well at the box office, but that didn’t stop John Hayes. He went on to make some real landmark films such as Baby Rosemary (I mean, really, come on), Jailbait Babysitter, Heterosexualis, and Mama’s Dirty Girls. I’m waiting for the release of the Criterion box set.
If you like watching “so bad they’re good” movies, stay the hell away from End of The World. If you want to watch boring, lifeless crap, I would still steer clear. You’re better off watching a Cheeto go stale behind your couch than wasting your time with this movie. I’m pretty sure Chris would agree.
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