DAMNATION ALLEY (1977) movie review

Damnation Alley (1977) d. Smight, Jack (USA)

Roger Zelanzy’s post-nuclear Holocaust novel is turned into a hackneyed version of Stagecoach by scripters Alan Sharp and Lukas Heller. Civilization has been whipped out by atomic missiles knocking the earth off its axis, leaving the terrain littered with flesh-devouring cockroaches and giant scorpions.

Sounds like it ought to be fun, right? Especially since in place of the ‘coach we have the "Land Master," a nifty futuristic tank piloted by a sometimes Southern-accented George Peppard, Paul Winfield and cycle-riding country balladeer Jan-Michael Vincent.

But while the multi-colored sky is mildly intriguing at times, the rest of the effects are so painfully, awfully inept that they make Bert I. Gordon’s look positively stunning by comparison, and the characters are sketchily drawn and pale.

The usually reliable Smight directed (if you can call it that), and by the time the jaw-droppingly goofy happy ending rolls around, you’ll be damning him as vigorously as any alley you can think of.


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