END OF THE WORLD (1977)
Article 2370 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-21-2007
Posting Date: 2-7-2008
Directed by John Hayes
Featuring Christopher Lee, Sue Lyon, Kirk Scott
A scientist investigates messages from outer space that coincide with recent natural disasters. He tracks the messages to a seemingly peaceful convent, which he investigates. The convent is not what it seems…
Given that disaster movies were at their most popular in the seventies, I can easily envision people being drawn into this one by the title expecting the ultimate in that genre. If they did, they most likely walked away disgusted. If you go in expecting more of what it really is (a rather cheesy low-budget late-seventies science fiction movie), it has its moments. The opening scene pretty much steals the movie; it catches your attention and draws you in enough that you find yourself being patient with the unfocused, muddled and slow-moving script for a little while, but only for a little while. Most of the title action consists of stock footage. The movie seems to promise a certain degree of star power, what with Christopher Lee, Dean Jagger and Lew Ayres in the cast, but only Lee has a significant role; the others only appear in cameos, with the scene featuring Ayres being especially gratuitous, as it introduces a character who has played no role in the proceeding up to that time, and will proceed to play no role in the succeeding scenes. The movie contains one of my least favorite recurring plot elements of science fiction movies; namely, the aliens who have mastered interstellar travel needing the help of Earth scientists to get something done. You’ll probably shake your head in disbelief when the head alien tells the scientist that, were he to come with him to his Utopian alien society, they would use his scientific knowledge for good rather than for destructive purposes as he does on Earth; this is especially hard-to-swallow given that the purpose of the alien’s visit to Earth is nothing if not destructive. On the plus side, at least the score is appropriate to the action of the movie.