Omega Man, The (1971): Sci Fi of Matheson’s Novel I Am Legend, Starring Charlton Heston

The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston, is the second film based on the “I Am Legend” novel by Richard Matheson. The first was the 1961,” The Last Man on Earth,” featuring Vincent Price, battling vampires with wooden stakes.

This version is not much of an improvement over the Vincent Price movie (which was made in Italy), though the premise is the same: The City of Los Angeles and its only human survivor are under siege by a whole race of zombies as a result of apocalyptic germ warfare.

The tale begins well, showing Heston, as the last man on earth (or so we are led to believe) driving through a deserted, rubble-strewn Los Angeles.  But then preposterous plotting kicks, with some incongruous images, such as Albino zombies wearing dark glasses.

Heston is well cast, though, and he understandably gives a more creditable (and square) performance than Price did.

Overall, this is an unsatisfying sci-fi-thriller, largely due to the pedestrian direction of Boris Sagal, and the fact that the movie is not scary or ominous enough to merit our collective fears and anxieties.

Running time: 98 Minutes

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