Six Hundred Sixty-Six (Tom Doades, 1972)
[note: review originally published 28Nov2008]
I have stumbled upon that rarest of rares, a movie so obscure that it hasn’t even received five votes on IMDB yet. (NOTE: since I wrote this review in 2008, the film has since crossed the five-vote threshold… thanks to me. I cast #5, and some poor soul cast #6 sometime in the past three years. [ed. note Feb. 10 2013: it’s now up to ELEVEN votes!]) So obscure that the folks who entered the movie at IMDB didn’t even enter the director’s name. So obscure that other than the IMDB listing, I can’t find a single trace of its existence on the entire Internet [ed. note Feb. 10 2013: other than the screenie above]. And I am here to tell you, my brethren, that this obscurity is a blessing for the people of planet Earth.
The plot: a bunch of guys (well, five) are in an underground museum sometime in the future. They are part of a newly-founded Second Roman Empire that has promised to bring peace to a world that has long been locked in World War III. We know from the opening exposition (which is endless; the exposition remains so throughout the movie) that most of Italy, including Florence and the Vatican, have been bombed into dust. We also know that for Romans, these guys speak surprisingly good English, with nasal American accents. Their job, as given them by egomaniacal and slightly cracked director Tallman (Byron Clark), is to save as much of the world’s collected knowledge as they can in case of nuclear holocaust. Needless to say, nuclear holocaust comes, and with it, something even worse: a bomb has ravaged the mountain under which they reside, sending tons and tons of rubble down to block the only ventilator shaft that provides them with fresh air. (Excellent design, there!) Now, the five of them have eight days left in their museum/bunker before their air runs out, and it’s entirely possible that they’re the last people left on Earth. Tallman swears he hears someone coming to dig them out, but in order to take their minds off the inevitability of their position, they get involved in charting the course of World War III through ancient writings to see if the Bible really did predict all this.
I guess the best way to describe this would be an existential drama a la Beckett with sci-fi trappings added. The problem is that, unlike in the work of Beckett, the script is leaden, with almost no character development, no tension, no nothing. It’s just a bunch of guys sitting around and talking, punctuated with one of them going crazy and actually doing something that requires action every few minutes to keep the audience from falling asleep. I don’t think it worked. This is one of the most mind-numbingly awful films I have ever seen; if you’re unlucky enough to stumble across a copy (which, since it doesn’t seem to have ever been released for the home video market, may not be possible), I strongly urge you to leave it where it is and go find something more interesting to watch. Like paint drying. (zero)
Given that clips of this do not seem to exist on the net, what do you think I’m going to give you? MAIDEN, BABY.