The Omega Man

Year: 1971

Production: Warner Bros.

Director: Boris Sagal

Starring: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash

Screenwriter: John William, Joyce Hopper Corrington

Based on I Am Legend (1954) by Richard Matheson

98 minutes; Color

This is the second film version of Matheson's ultra-paranoia novel, the first being The Last Man on Earth (1964). "The first one was very poorly done, " said Matheson, himself a screenwriter, "but it did follow the book. The Omega Man bore no resemblance to my book ... I had absolutely nothing to do with the screenplay." A survivor of a biological war battles (with a machine gun rather than Matheson's sharpened stakes) against a group of mutated, albino fanatics hunting the almost dead city. The film sacrifices the claustrophobia and nightmare of the novel for fast-moving action. The true cinematic heir to Matheson's story, though not directly based on it, is the far superior Night of the Living Dead (1968).

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