Friday, July 1, 2011

Damnation Alley (1977, Jack Smight)

Coming 7/12 from Shout! Factory is a film that many folks have been waiting a long time to get their 70's, post apocalyptic, sci-fi lovin' hands on - Damnation Alley!  First announced by Anchor Bay several years ago as finally hitting DVD, it never happened (sons of bitches).  Finally, Shout! Factory comes to the rescue and adds another great title to their already-fantastic catalogue.  I had read about this film a few years ago because it has two of my favorite actors from the 70's and 80's - Jackie Earle Haley and Jan-Michael Vincent (gotta love those girly first names).  Anyway, after realizing that I would probably have to seek out a crappy VHS version to see this film, the Gods reached down and placed a copy of this DVD in my mailbox.  Amen.

Damnation Alley takes place in the near future after a nuclear attack has shifted the planet off of its axis, causing all kinds of weird shit.  A group of army officers surive in their bunker and venture out in their survival vehicle (The Landmaster) to find civilization.  The team - Maj. Denton (George Peppard), Lt. Tanner (Vincent) and Keegan (Paul Winfield) - find themselves in an endless number of obstacles, including giant scorpions, mutant cockroaches and some backwoods creeps. 

Damnation Alley is admittedly not a great movie.  Some of the special FX are laughable and there is an slight lack of depth in the story and characters.  That said, you'll be hard pressed to find a more fun sci-fi post-apocalyptic film than this!  A definitely cult classic, Damnation Alley has a great cast, an awesome vehicle for them to ride around and kick ass in and some really cool scenes (the cockroaches being my favorite).  Shout! Factory does an incredible job here with a beautiful new transfer and a bunch of bonus features (commentary with producer Paul Maslansky, producer, screenwriter and car designer/stunt coordinator interviews, trailer and TV spot).  Though the film is definitely flawed, it's fun and well worth a watch - especially for a seemingly lost cult classic like this.

RATING:  8/10

Pre-Order the DVD and BLU RAY directly from Shout! Factory and receive a free 8x10 lithograph! (while supplies last).

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