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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Damnation Alley is classic low-budget '70s apocalyptic science fiction



By Steve D. Stones

This 1977 feature should be of some interest to Utah residents because scenes from the film were made in Salt Lake City. Damnation Alley stars Jan-Michael Vincent and the cigar smoking George Peppard from the hit 80s TV show The A-Team. The film is a post-apocalyptic thriller that takes place as a result of a nuclear holocaust that causes the earth to tilt on its axis. The holocaust wipes out most of the human race.

After the nuclear holocaust, a few remaining survivors in a U.S. Air Force bomb shelter in the Mojave Desert decide to head east towards Albany, New York. The group is able to pick up radio signals coming from Albany. Vincent and Peppard leave the bomb shelter in giant armored vehicles called Landmasters that are equipped to withstand any unforeseen elements of nature.

Along the way, they encounter giant desert scorpions and flesh eating cockroaches in Salt Lake City. On a stop in Las Vegas, the group encounters a Las Vegas showgirl in an abandoned casino and latter a wandering teenager. The teen and showgirl join the group. They also encounter a number of violent sandstorms across the desert.

Forget what film critics have said about Damnation Alley over the years. It’s a fun and exciting post-apocalyptic feature that still holds up well today. Some of the special effects are dated, but nevertheless, it is still a worthy effort destined to be on any film fan’s list of guilty pleasures.  The film is in keeping with other post-apocalyptic themed features such as: The Last Man On Earth, The Omega Man, Logan’s Run, Mad Max and many others. Enjoy.

2 comments:

sherman hirsh said...

That behemoth vehicle was around for along time. It sat in the front of Dean Jefferies shop for years. I spoke with him and he told me that it actually did everything you saw in the film, except run underwater. He wanted $75 to take a picture with it, but I passed.

Anonymous said...

It was in no way low-budget. The budget was $17 million. Star Wars was only $11 million.