Friday, October 25, 2013

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Blogathon

For the Cinematic Katzenjammer Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Blogathon

Here is my take on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, I tried to find a theme that would be a bit different but I know that some of the choices were going to be obvious, at least they were to me. The four films I've chosen to represent the four horsemen have a common actor to unite them. His powerful voice and steel jawed expression make him the ideal stand in for God in the end of days. All of the films have their own following so there is not much need to introduce each of them. So I will give my simple justification and provide a few links to make a short visit worth your time.


To represent the ravages of disease that pestilence consists of, I could have chosen the plagues visited upon the Egyptians by God through Moses.  Floods, fire, locusts, frogs and of course the death of the first born that Passover reminds us of would fit perfectly and it would launch my theme with an epic film featuring the actor that I chose to stand in for us. The only problem is that pestilence makes a cameo appearance in "The Ten Commandments" and I want it to be a bigger feature. So instead, Charlton Heston will cope with plague in the much more recent (by several thousand years) "The Omega Man". This story by the late Richard Matheson has been made into a movie three times. Will Smith is the hero of the most recent version but it was Chuck Heston who had to deal with the biological warfare disaster that turns most of the population into light sensitive zombie types with a grudge. 

Heston spends the first part of the movie hunting down and killing the infected and then the second half trying to find a cure so the resistant colony he comes across can repopulate the planet. His messianic exit shot reminds us all that this was a plague brought down on us by us and that redemption can only come from sacrifice of the pure (His Neville is after all the last real man on Earth). If you click on the picture above or the poster below, you will get my post from the original Movie A Day Project, or my daughter's post when I was gone for a week and she sat in for me. Enjoy but think on your sins.


Heston was featured in too many historical war movies to count.(El Cid, The Buccaneer, and Midway to start and that does not include any westerns). In sticking to the general theme of the Apocalypse however, there is another obvious war based film that stars our man with the iron grin. We are first introduced to war in this film as Heston and his fellow astronauts are attacked by a hunting party of a very surprising nature.

Who would have thought that the mild human pranksters who stole his clothes like monkeys, would turn out to be the monkeys of this planet and be hunted by a species that was on the other end of the gun on Heston's home world? Mindblowing right? That's nothing. At the end of the film in what is probably the greatest story twist since "Psycho", it turns out that "Taylor" was right all along in being skeptical of the human race. They basically annihilated themselves, deeding the planet to the next highest species in the family tree. The legacy we left them however is not just limited to the planet, it carries the same tendency toward hatred, fear and moral superiority that brought us down. The apes themselves have prejudices and myths that bind them to a parallel path of humans.
The castes of intellectuals, separated from scientists and competing for power with the military sound mighty familiar to anyone who has studied human history. War is the way those problems get solved. As Heston's character confronts the best visual sucker punch of all times, he tells us the results of the greatest of all war.     George Taylor: "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"


Back to Back in my list are the two greatest closing lines that reveal how we are all going to hell in a handbasket. With "Planet of the Apes" we blew it up. With "Soylent Green" we ate it up. The opening of the film provides the road to ruin with what basically amounts to a powerpoint slide show. In all deference to  Al Gore and the hyperbole surrounding Global Warming, this is how you show people the end is coming.

The set up takes two and a half minutes and then we know the future is not a happy place because of want. Charlton Heston investigates a murder and discovers a bigger horror story than anyone could contemplate. If you haven't seen the movie, this is a must  for the top of your list. Great story telling with minimal effects. I've actually written about this twice, once on my Movie a Day Project, which you can read by clicking on the face of our guide thru the Apocalypse here:

I also covered it extensively on another blog site that I am guest writing for and you can find that link by clicking on the poster here:

If you have already seen the film, or know the gut check secret of "Soylent Green", feel free to indulge a minute or so and catch Chuck telling it like it is below.


This may be a cheat but you don't really need Mr. Heston on screen to be completely fantastic. The voice he wielded could do serious damage in a fight with the voice of Morgan Freeman.

The end of all life on the planet is pretty much what we are talking about here.

So there you have it, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse all ridden by the the same ghost.
 Charlton Heston

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