Damnation Alley (1977)

Article 3671 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-18-2011
Posting Date: 9-2-2011
Directed by Jack Smight
Featuring Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda
Country: USA
What it is: After-the-apocalypse road movie

It’s after the apocalypse. A group of survivors from a military installation cross the country in a special tank-like vehicle to see if there are survivors in Albany.

I saw this movie years ago, and I could only remember two things about it; one was the cool three-tire arrangement on the large motor vehicle, and the other was the color orange. Watching it again, I can see why; there’s something in the general tone of this movie that is so muted and suspenseless that even the apocalypse at the beginning of the movie comes across as only mildly interesting. The movie is based on a novel by Roger Zelazny, and I certainly hope the source novel is more inventive than this movie is; I found the movie singularly lacking in surprises. The movie does struggle out of the doldrums a little for the killer cockroach scene, and the special sky effects are pretty to look at. Probably the thing I will most remember from this viewing is that the movie also features Jackie Earle Haley, who would go on to give an excellent performance as Rorschach in THE WATCHMEN. Outside of that, this is a fairly tired and tiresome outing.

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