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I feel like this deserves a thread of its own so these things don't get lost in the "legit" movie of the month threads.

I originally was going to title this "B Movie TV Report" after my favorite Roku channel, but I think it's bigger than that and that's too limiting.  Everyone post here whatever amazing B-D grade movies they've just discovered or revisited by whatever means, app, sleazy DVD company release, VHS found at a salvation army store happens to have GALAXINA on it after an episode of A.K.A. PABLO.  It all counts:

 

Zombies

Zombis

Blaxploitation

80s vigilante movies

slashers

cheap american karate

movies where roller-slating, BMX biking, arm-wrestling, disco dancing, break-dancing, or water skiing are done competitively or as a biblical allegory

Star Wars ripoff movies where everyone is obviously Italian

anything with the word "reform school" in the title

anything with the words "spring break" in the title

anything that mixes "ski" "swim" "stewardess" "beach" or "up the" with the word "academy"

The complete Bolo Yeung catalog

and so so much more.

Tonight's Report, courtesy of B-Movie TV (on Roku):

TUFF TURF (1985): Quintessential 80s "small town kid moves to tough hip LA high school and battles with punks for a hot girl in a half ass-ed West Side Story ripoff."  It was directed by the guy who directed CHILDREN OF THE CORN.  I don't know why that matters but somehow it does.  If nothing else he seems to have s strong unconscious belief that youth is a plague of cultish death and that the power and strength of the young is a grotesque masque of violence and a danger to us all.

Basically remake the KARATE KID without karate but with more of a DEATH WISH 3 vibe.

But this one is special.  The main kid is a super young, super thin, super ripped, super coiffed James Spader.  This was a year before PRETTY IN PINK, so adjust you Spader hotness expectations accordingly:

 

be12060303b4cb09fe97da167f5bafd4.jpg

The "he meets the first day who becomes his sidekcik/ally" is a super young, super thin, super coiffed Robert Downey Jr.  This was months before he was even the bully in WERID SCIENCE so adjust your Downey Hotness expectations accordingly.

inde98989988x.jpg

The girl in question is a super young, super hot, super coiffed Kim ("Now she's a screeching hutt of a real housewife of Beverly Hills") Richards.  This is a year after MEATBALLS PART 2, so adjust your Richards hotness expectations accordingly.  Her hair is, of course, about seven feet long, and has a different pattern of braiding, headbands, and dayglo shading in every scene. 

large.jpg

 

Now, no one buys Kim Richards as a bad girl gang chick, but the whole point is that she is going to transform into a scared wounded butterfly and she's pretty perfect for that.  Like her hair gets progressively less braided as she gets progressively more wholesome.  Hair allegory!  Hairllegory!

Also one of the other gang chicks was Leila in REPO MAN and that's royalty.

 

To get yourself in the right mood for this movie, listen to this:


 
The hair, the clothes, the music are all amazing.  Spader has an older brother who is an evil preppy and who is literally wearing an izod shirt with a sweater tied around his neck.  It's like a wax museum reproduction of the essence of the 80s.

For me the best scenes are the random interstitial scenes of crowds of teens wandering around a school or club.  The sheer weight of 1985 chic is overwhelming.

Like many 80s movies, this is basically a musical.  The soundtrack is constant and as often as possible is supplied diegetically with a band playing or someone listening to a boombox.  there are at least six scenes that have no dialog, just teenagers congregating and dancing, and yet somehow the plot is moved forward by all of these scenes.  It's amazing...the power of dance.  Oh, God, the closing credits unfold over another dance scene!  This one celebrating the death of a 17 year old thug!  It's like the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI.

As such there are at least 16 people in the credits just as members of various bands and about 35 listed just as "dancer."  There is literally a dance number in this as Robert Downey Jr.s band plays in a typical "empty warehouse that is somehow also a teen club" and Spader seduces Richards.

 

As I write this, Kim Richards is doing a full flashdance number in a bar.  it is amazing, and the asshole who labelled this the 'worst 80s dance sequence ever" can go fuck himself, but I'm linking to him anyways because you probably need to see this:



That dance scene leads right into another dance where they make out and then another one where they are running from the gang guys.  THIS MOVIE IS 90% DANCING BEACAUSE LIFE IN THE 80S WAS LIVED THROUGH SYMBOLIC MOVEMENT!!!

Once that is set in motion, it's a lot of Spader/Richards/Downey trolling yuppies while avoiding her former street gang members out to get her back.  At one point Spader hijacks a country club piano and sings a song to Richards...did you not see what I just wrote JAMES SPADER SITS DOWN AT A PIANO AND FOR A FULL 5 MINUTES WE LISTEN TO HIM SERENADE KIM RICHARDS!!!

 

Just know this: In his 25th year, James Spader, pretending to be a high schooler, spent some hours learning and rehearsing this in his apartment in L.A. singing this.  And then spent a whole day in a recording studio pouring his heart into this.  And then spent a few weeks rehearsing how to look like he's playing the piano while lip synching to himself.  THIS IS THE LIFE OF AN ARTIST!!!  THIS IS WHAT THE CRAFT IS ABOUT!!

Obviously this is all going to get very violent in Act III

 

tumblr_m239c47_N9p1qc6ua9o1_1280.png

when the punks

murder Spader's dad!!!

and then

powerbombs Kim Richards!!!

and we go into full-on 80s vigilante movie territory....and a scene where Spader is brutally "Private Pyle-ed" in a locker room is pretty intense and would probably have scared 12 year old me into asking my parents if I could go to a private school...but I don't know how that matters after what you just saw/heard.  Just know that you need to find and watch this movie.

 

This is also in there:

 

So soundtrack is LEGIT, MAN!!!

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Man if that were any more 80's it would spontaneously break out into this:

 

BECAUSE THE BEVERLY HILLS TEENS THEME NEEDS MORE EXPOSURE ON DVDVR DAMMIT

 

I'm guessing this role led to Downey playing Lutz in Back To School.

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I'm guessing this role led to Downey playing Lutz in Back To School.

 

It's almost exactly the same part played almost exactly the same way.  It could easily be retconed that it's the same guy having similar wacky advetnures in high school and then college before going on to create a billion dollar electronics company.

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This is a quick one because I am kind of overwhelmed at what is happening to me right now.  So, as I finish that first post, B Movie TV keeps delivering and I am now suddenly watching ROBOWAR...sorry...ROBOT DA GUERRA.

robowarmattei.jpg

The lead actor in this movie is the guy who plays the hero in the movie SPACE MUTINY...
This fucking guuuuy

Can you even believe it?  I can't even believe it.  If you asked me if I would rather meet Bruce Springsteen or the guy who played Splint Chesthair I would go with the guy who played Stump Beefknob.

The movie says it is directed by Vincent Dawn.  Now that is obviously not a name a  person has.  It is a fake name used by Italian Schlock-maestro Bruno Mattei who is responsible for ZOMBI 3 (part of it I guess) and ZOMBI 4, not to mention PORNO HOLOCAUST, RATS: NIGHT O F TERROR, and JAWS 5: CRUEL JAWS

 

image_chomikimagecom.jpg

[note,  I don't think you should be able to just call something that, right?  How does he do that???]

As this is an Italian film, in order to understand it, you need to look one year previously to see what American movies were big hits.  In this case ROBOWAR was made in 1988.  1987 gave us PREDATOR and ROBOCOP, thus by the law of Italian transitive film-making, the plot of this movie is that a group of commandos are stalked in the jungle by a robot who turns out to be a cyborg made from a dead soldier.  See how that works!


robowar.jpg

The killer robot talks out loud to itself like: "target aquired.  Terminate.  Missile launch prepare.  Fire."  Like it never stops.  In roughly the same voice as this guy:

 

 

Who is still my favorite robot ever and quite possibly the only friend from my childhood that I still trust with my life.

 

Now none of this makes sense from a robotics standpoint, but it is adorable.  He also shoots Logan's Run lasers as weapons.  You can see that at the end of this clip



If you are still not committed to watching this, I don't blame you.  Here's the trailer:


I'm just getting into this, but note also that Catherine "I was married to David Hasselhoff on purpose" Hickland plays the only female character so in no way did they skimp on the star power.

This is from her bio on IMDB which she totally did not write herself:
 

In 2013, Catherine opened a training facility in Las Vegas for people who want to learn self-hypnosis, as well as training hypnotists who want to learn the art of stage hypnosis. She plans to take hypnosis into the mainstream in a way that has never been done before.

Because of her long and successful career in television, Catherine has International appeal, and enjoys meetings people from all over the world. She is married to producer Todd Fisher, and divides her time between their home in Las Vegas and their ranch in California, where she lives with 24 chickens, 3 horses, a miniature donkey, 2 geese, 13 ducks, and a pet turkey. And, yes, she can hypnotize animals.


I would personally pay PPV money to see a one on one Catherine Hickland vs. a duck hypnotism contest.  I wold also probably bet on the duck.  I know it's hard now to remember the world before Catherine Hickland took hypnosis into the mainstream in a way that had never been done before.  It's just around us so much now we don't even think about it.  Thank you, Catherine Hickland!

But it's not just a PREDATOR ripoff.  It's so much less than that!  The main difference I can see between this and the real PREDATOR is that the real PREDATOR did not feature 18-22 minutes of people walking slowly through the woods while synthesizer and sleazy guitar licks played.  For a good long stretch this looks like a personal vanity video made to commemorate some bank manager's epic paintball team.

I'm going to take a Greggulator stance on this and keep watching.  I really think Vincent Dawn is going somewhere important here if I just give him some time.
 

 

 

UPDATE:  I was wrong.  As always, the Greggulator stance is misguided and dangerous, possibly to the point of being immoral.  Unless you are really, I mean like reaally into orienteering or just watching "woods walking" as like a sport, I cannot not recommend this movie enough.  However, I can recommend you listen to the closing credits music and ROCK THE FUCK OUT:

 

Like, let it all out.  All that shit with your parents and school.  And that fucking guidance counselor and his stupid tests.  If I had a robot predator, even a shitty Italian-made robot predator that won't stop talking, all those fuckers would be sorry.

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Porno Holocaust was done by Joe D'Amato (he of The Grim Reaper/Anthropophagus, and the amazingly fucked up Beyond the Darkness/Buio Omega) and you left out the legendarily awful/awesome Night of the Zombies/Hell of the Living Dead from Mattei's filmography, just to pick nits. (Goddamn, does every old Italian grindhouse film have at least two titles?)

 

I'll review Conquest by Fulci here if I'm still sober enough to type after it comes on at 1 AM on El Rey

 

EDIT: Oh man that closing track having some Japanese dudes singing what appears to be "HEY SLUTS, don't let me down"... priceless.

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I'll review Conquest by Fulci here if I'm still sober enough to type after it comes on at 1 AM on El Rey

Oh please do, it's awesome, and it was so hard to find on video for such a long time that hardly anyone has seen it. (It's an ANTI-ANIMAL-CRUELTY Italian exploitation film, if you can fuckin' believe it.) But, does El Rey censor nudity and other naughty bits in its movies? Cuz Conquest basically doesn't have any female actors whose nipples you do not see, in its full unedited glory.

And the best part of Robowar (well, ONE of its best parts, it's truly an everlasting gobstopper of ridiculously cheesy awesomeness) is how the heroes tend to go into "spray machine-gun fire randomly at the entire jungle for two minutes straight" at the drop of a hat. One time they managed to do this at A SKELETAL CORPSE which somehow hit them with a jump scare... in a tree that was like twenty yards away from the heroes.

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El Rey is uncensored after 10 PM (and uncensored period if you catch them on a good day too), so Conquest will be full-on "chick with a golden mask walking around topless". Review forthwith. Right now Harvey Keitel is doing his version of the Bad Lieutenant in Two Evil Eyes and I'm wondering just how bad off he was in that period personally to dig this out of him. 

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CONQUEST (1983)

 

This is gonna be long, I warn you. 

 

"An Italian Spanish Mexican Co-Production"

 

Commercial Break One: 

 

Okay, first off: this is one of the few Lucio Fulci films I've never seen. I own a bootleg DVDR of Cat in the Brain for fuck's sake. Watching this though is almost surreal, in that it is soooooo cheap (where was Sergio Salvati when you need him?). Everything seems shot in some kind of fog plus bad photography, so you feel like you're high on some pretty good bud when you aren't. Then the gore immediately kicks in. In the first couple minutes a nude woman is completely ripped in twain from the legs. This is like some combination of Fulci and Luigi Cozzi and it's just insane. 

 

Commercial Break Two:

 

So there's this evil goddess that runs around topless with a gold mask, masturbates with a snake, and controls some legion of wolfmen, and they're hunting this skinny kid with a bow (as in bow and arrow) that has some mystical abilities. And the guy with the bow is aided by some Beastmaster type dude with a symbol on his head... and everything is blurry as fuck. I've been drinking a bit but this is nowhere near me thinking things are blurry for no reason. Oh btw, it looks like they explicitly kill a snake in the first part so I dunno about Jingus' claims for anti-animal cruelty, yet. Who knows, the Italians were great at faking stuff like that as much as they were at doing it on the legit -- Carlo Rambaldi got thrown into court for the fake dogs in Lizard In A Woman's Skin, after all. 

 

Commercial Break Three: 

 

"Is she your woman?" "She is whenever I pass by. She's yours too if you like." Oh fuck me running. So they run by a cave and there's a bunch of cavewomen (and they stole a dead wolf or something btw, so much for the animal bit) and some gal has dreads with braided bangs and is covered in white shit and apparently wants to sleep with the main dude... and is nude too, of course. Then the bad dudes swarm down from above and immediately kill her and subdue Mel Gibson-in-Thunderdome lookalike Beastmaster dude and Bow Boy. Beastmaster wakes up to see chunks of people everywhere and I have no clue what the fuck is going on. 

 

Commercial Break Four:

 

Elias is the name of Bow Boy I guess. There are some incredibly bunk shots of "birds" "flying". Wolfmen are dragging him off to... somewhere. The Beastmaster launches a SURPRISE ATTACK~! and because they shot the movie at dusk with what is apparently a filter covered in the crust that comes out of my eyes when I wake up, you can see nothing but a couple splashes of blood. 

 

Commercial Break Five:

 

Snake Bitch is basically cooking a Wolfman on a giant fiery stone before having another nightmare as she writhes around with snakes and a faithful dog (?!). Then she seduces some big dude in full iron armor to kill our two heroes and he says "they will suffer 1000 deaths" (TM Dismember). I guess her name is Okran? Mmmm, I could go for some fried okra right now. Our Heroes have thee worst barrage of arrows in the history of cinema shot at them in the middle of the sticks of Middle Indiana Italy and they run away. 

 

Commercial Break Six:

 

I forgot that Claudio Simonetti from Goblin did the score. Music always makes the pain go away. And just in time Elias starts to well up with pustulent sores to gross you out again. AND BEASTMASTER HAS AN UNDERWATER FIGHT WITH WOLFZOMBIES LIKE THE ONE IN ZOMBIE!!! Oh goddamn I have to pause this.

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Commercial Break Seven:

 

"Friendship isn't about trust. Friendship is about nunchucks." - Carl, Aqua Teen Hunger Force. And apparently about bows, too. 

 

The Highlander walks away until some really fucking creepy ice creatures sabotage him. It's a clear ripoff of the Tusken Raiders from Star Wars but whatever, too late to hate on any ripping at this point. 

 

Commercial Break Eight:

 

Elias remembers some appropriately timed Wisdom from The Elders/His Dad as he's paddling down a sea or something, and Mr. Highlander is crucified X-style (like on the cover of the Morbid Angel demo) then all of the sudden Elias is shooting magic laser bolts from his bow. A TEAM OF DOLPHINS FUCKING SAVES HIGHLANDER FROM DROWNING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE. YES. THAT HAPPENS. I absolutely cannot believe what I'm watching.

 

Commercial Break Nine:

 

A lot -- and I mean a LOT -- of dimness. And fake bats. 

 

Final Commercial Break:

 

Damn, Golden Mask has a full-on '70s bush. This movie is just... woof. I haven't the slightest. Watch it, if you have the inclination. And have some drinks (or some smokes) while you're at it.

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I don't remember the DVD I saw being nearly as dim and foggy as you're describing it, I wonder if El Rey had a bad copy (as they're sometimes known to do).

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It was definitely not DVD quality, I assure you. 

 

Here's the whole thing if you want to experience it yourself, friends and neighbors: 

 

 

And here's some amusing Youtube comments to boot. 

 

"I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I GIVE THIS MOVIE THREE KLEENEX BOXES!!"

 

"at least my name isn't "Chic" you tranny foot sucking shit-dick"

 
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Maybe I overstated the nature of the pro-animal sentiment in the movie; I was just shocked to find that in any Italian genre flick from that era at all.

And the movie pulls a major plot swerve that I never saw coming when

the villain straight-up kills the protagonist, forcing his sidekick to take over as the main hero

. How often does THAT happen in any action flick ever?

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The 1981 slasher Home Sweet Home is on right now, and it's suitably ridiculous. There's a dude in mime facepaint, and he spends most of the movie wandering around with a guitar, and yeah, wow. Thank you for doing this, and thank you for bringing this channel to my attention. It inspired me to hook my Roku back up, and I think this channel is going to be my go-to when I need to find something to fall asleep to. Any other Roku channels to recommend?

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Man if that were any more 80's it would spontaneously break out into this:

 

BECAUSE THE BEVERLY HILLS TEENS THEME NEEDS MORE EXPOSURE ON DVDVR DAMMIT

 

I love you.  Let's get married and have babies and name them Gig and Jett.

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 Thank you for doing this, and thank you for bringing this channel to my attention. It inspired me to hook my Roku back up, and I think this channel is going to be my go-to when I need to find something to fall asleep to. Any other Roku channels to recommend?

 

B Movie TV is kind of unique in being a live "channel" you can just tune into, but there are others similar.  As I mentioned in another thread, I have a preference for just having things "pop up" rather than going hunting for something to watch.  But that's a product of being old enough to be steeped in old t.v. watching patterns I think.  But there are also lots of good to decent schlock on demand channels with ads.  The ads are often just one or two at the very beginning of streaming, so not too bad.

Here is my total channel list.  Mind you, I don't watch a lot of these.  Some I have lapsed subscriptions for and haven't deleted, others I just don't get around to, since the to few satisfy my needs.  Of course, when Halloween approaches I will likely delve deeper into the On-Demand ones.  Skipping the regular stuff like Netflix and WWE (best stuff in bold):

- Fandor (subscription for artsy/foreign films)

- Hulu (mainly for Criterion)

- B Movie TV

- Cryptic TV (has both a "live"channel and on demand)

- Pluto TV (lots of live channels.  I watch mainly for the MST3K channels from Shoutcast)

- Exploitation.tv (subscription from Vinegar Syndrome but a dismayingly high percentage is just crappy 70s porn)

- Full Moon Streaming (subscription from Full Moon Video.  Might get this for Halloween season)

- Midnight Pulp (on demand w/commercials of subscription)

- SnagFilms (on demand w/ads)

- ShoutFactory TV (on demand)

- Shudder (horror only (AMC owns it I think?) subscription but with an ad-supported live channel)

- Zombee TV (is apparently dead, ironic. It may come back though.  Doubly ironic???)

- FrightPix (on demand/ads)

- Mutant Sorority Pictures (On demand/ads...lots of real goofy/sleazy grade D stuff)

- The Grindhouse Channel (on Demand/ads)

- Cult TV A Go GO (has a single long streaming weekly feature of multiple parts you can skip around in. A mishmash of cheap junk and old weird tv animation, commercials, episodes with some original content.  Always worth a look)

- FreakMax (Live channel that I haven't spent enough time with.  Similar to B Movie tv.  As I tune in now I am watching a trailer for "The Called her One Eye" a Swedish exploitation movie that was apparently the inspiration for KILL BILL)

- ThrillGore TV (on demand/ads)

- Watch Free Horror FLix (on demand/ads)

- SnagExtreme (on demand/ads)

- Atomic TV (also a series of streams each with a mishmash of stuff.  Each is like an "episode" of an old horror host t.v. show)

- Channel Pear (free for 5 channels, subscription for more than that.  This I only use for a couple of Korean/Chinese streaming networks and an MST3K channel.  Some people go very deep into this one though).

That's it for Schlock stuff.  Then there are more regular things

Netflix, Amazon, WWE, HBO, etc.

Crackle

TubiTV

DramaFever (Asian tv shows)

KDrama (Korean tv shows)

NTD television (Korean tv)

NHK (Chinese tv)

Arirang (Korean tv)

Asian Crush

Timeless Television

24/7 Retro

Cult Radio a Go Go (mostly grindhouse soundtracks)

a bunch of local access stuff that I won't list.  A few tv channels from Africa/Europe/Russia etc.

Some academic channels from universities

Nowhere tv for random local news, foreign news, etc.

A couple of music video channels (Old Skool Rap, 80s Flashback)

Live365: RIP GODDAMMIT!!!

 

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This needs to be pinned. This is like a public service, especially to folks like us that lost so much great stuff that was on VHS...

 

Robot Ninja with Burt Ward

Lady Terminator

Deadbeat at Dawn

Last Orgy of the Third Reich

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-a-rama

Texas Chainsaw Hookers

 

Such classics, all sadly gone now...

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Maybe I overstated the nature of the pro-animal sentiment in the movie; I was just shocked to find that in any Italian genre flick from that era at all.

And the movie pulls a major plot swerve that I never saw coming when

the villain straight-up kills the protagonist, forcing his sidekick to take over as the main hero

. How often does THAT happen in any action flick ever?

Would Phantom Menace count?

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Maybe I overstated the nature of the pro-animal sentiment in the movie; I was just shocked to find that in any Italian genre flick from that era at all.

And the movie pulls a major plot swerve that I never saw coming when

the villain straight-up kills the protagonist, forcing his sidekick to take over as the main hero

. How often does THAT happen in any action flick ever?

Would Phantom Menace count?

 

Would To Live And Die In L.A. count?

 

Anyway, I've never had much luck with cheesy Roku stations, but one that I really do love is Kung-Fu Theater. It's mostly  second-tier Hong Kong stuff with some 80's ninja flicks and Fred Williamson shit thrown in. The absolute best thing they have though is 3 of the 4 Crimson Bat movies from late-60's Japan. Basically they're about Oichi the blind swordswoman, so of course they're a distaff rip-off of Zatoichi but who cares because they're still completely fucking awesome, Yoko Matsuyama kicks all kinds of ass in the role, and they're a lot harder to come by than, say, Lady Snowblood.

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Maybe I overstated the nature of the pro-animal sentiment in the movie; I was just shocked to find that in any Italian genre flick from that era at all.

And the movie pulls a major plot swerve that I never saw coming when

the villain straight-up kills the protagonist, forcing his sidekick to take over as the main hero

. How often does THAT happen in any action flick ever?

Would Phantom Menace count?

 

Would To Live And Die In L.A. count?

 

 

I maintain that this is the under-appreciated brilliant turn of

 

HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MEYERS where the obvious "final girl" was suddenly killed about 30 mins. in and the completely unprepared and unqualified "party girl" who is obviously supposed to die early instead has to somehow carry the movie and defend the abandoned Jamie Lloyd and SCREW YOU, FOWLER TINA FOREVER!!!!

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Anyway, I've never had much luck with cheesy Roku stations, but one that I really do love is Kung-Fu Theater.

 

Is Kung Fu theater subscription?  I think every time I've tried to watch it I've just seen a commercial on a loop.

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The "Lady Terminator" edition of that Zac Romero thing inspired my lady to want to watch said film AND "Reform School Girls" one night.

Piranesi, for introducing me to this channel, you were the hero we needed right now.

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The "Lady Terminator" edition of that Zac Romero thing inspired my lady to want to watch said film AND "Reform School Girls" one night.

Piranesi, for introducing me to this channel, you were the hero we needed right now.

 

REFORM SCHOOL GIRLS was a staple of USA Up All Night.  Watching that was what led me to buy this album in 1989:

 

 

Which was one of the greatest decisions I ever made.

 

Right now on another channel "Cult TV a Go GO" I'm watching THE LAST MAN ON EARTH.  I've heard Dana Gould talk about it but I've never seen it.

 

It's the first film version of I AM LEGEND, about seven years before THE OMEGA MAN.  Gould always says it's better but also kind of funny to see Vincent Price as the tough guy protagonist because he's so damned fem.

 

But it's really good. I haven't watched OMEGA MAN in years, but this is definitely worth a watch.  Everything is so much ricketier and vulnerable.  Price is just a weaker man than Heston.  His "fortress" is just a little house that's boarded up and the vampires gather right outside it and are basically just a few feet from him all night and he just barely keeps them out each night.

 

The opening scenes do a much better job of making his life seem like a pointless grind.  12 hours awake in the day spent frantically preparing for 12 hours cowering at night.  No Mustang.  No LTD.  It's really hopeless whereas Heston went for a kind of cold nihilistic "What the fuck?" 

 

During the flashbacks he is so much less heroic than Wil Smith in that version.  He's a nobody scientist who knows very little of what's going on.  Sheepishly going on about his business while the military takes over and the world crumbles...utterly impotent and without any ideas.

 

He watches his daughter dying and coldly tells his wife not to let anyone know so they won't cart her off to be thrown in a plague pit.  And when exactly that happens he meekly whimpers into his house and pathetically rages at his wife.  He's pathetic.  It's painful.

 

The death of his wife, too...no excuse for a tense "escape" scene and a big action sequence that makes him look like a hero.  She does dies in their bedroom while he mopes around useless. 

 

Her "return" is pretty genuinely creepy too.

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Last Man on Earth is by far the most faithful of the various adaptations in terms of its fidelity to Richard Matheson's brilliant original novel. That's what the original book was like: no wacky adventures in the big city, just this lone hermit who stubbornly refused to move out of his own house in the suburbs when the apocalypse came calling.

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