Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It. (1970) Poster

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Nutty psychedelic sci-fi comedy.
Infofreak8 June 2002
The late 60s/early 70s saw a handful of genuinely odd pseudo counter-culture movies released by American studios, including cult classics like 'The Trip', 'Greetings', 'Psych-Out', 'Cult Of The Damned', 'Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls', and 'Zachariah'. Whether they were "genuine" of just plain exploitation is open to debate, and also a moot point all these years later. Fake or not they are a lot of fun now for 60s buffs. You can add Roger Corman's 'Gas-s-s-s' to that list. The movies premise is that a gas has been accidently released that kills everyone over the age of twenty-five. A hippie on the run from the police (Robert Corff) teams up with a scientist (Elaine Giftos), and the two go on a road trip to New Mexico, trying to find a rumoured hippie Utopia. Along the way they hook up with two couples - revolutionary Ben Vereen ('Roots') and his pregnant rock'n'roll fanatic girlfriend Cindy Williams ('Laverne And Shirley'), and their weirdo pals Bud Cort ('Harold And Maude') and Talia Shire ('Rocky'). The six companions come across many strange situations on their journey, including a militant dune buggy riding football team, Country Joe and The Fish on a golf course, and Edgar Allen Poe, Lenore and The Raven riding a motorbike. Yup, it's one of those kind of movies! Silly, self indulgent, with a lot of half baked (pun intended) jokes that aren't entirely successful. Even so quite a trip if you are in the right frame of mind. Nowhere near as good as Corman's 'Bloody Mama' (released in the same year), but it's probably his most overlooked movie, from a long, varied and consistently underrated career. One day he will receive the recognition he deserves, both as a producer/director, and for getting many important actors and film makers their first breaks.
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A Roger Corman 60's freakout, recut by its studio
silentgpaleo26 May 2000
In Roger Corman's autobiography, he says that this film, GASsss, was a deciding factor in his leaving the employ of AIP. The film, as it stands, is a valiant effort at a counterculture comedy, and although the jokes are mostly dated today, the film is an interesting bit of drive-in history.

We open in 1968, which was the current year when this was made. A hippie is running from cops, and hides in a church.The hippie dresses as a priest,and dodges the cops. While sitting in the confessional,he meets a young female scientist on the run. She can tell he's not a real priest, because he uses the F word.

The hippie learns what the scientist is running from. She had left an experiment station where a chemical gas was escaping. The gas supposedly kills everyone over 28 years old, so, in essence, the older generations would be wiped out.

This leaves the world in shambles. The hippie and his now-girlfriend scientist make a trip south, to try to locate a commune/pueblo that is setting up to shelter those who have survived.

I don't want to give much else away, except that there are several characters the two meet on their journey south. Ben Vereen and Cindy Williams(pregnant) play a hip couple, and some football players show up. There's also bikers on golfcarts (hippie: "Who are you?" , biker:"Don't get metaphysical.")and assorted failed gags, and some funny ones. I especially liked the more obnoxious characters.

But my girlfriend hated the whole film. She disliked all the whole free-love jive, and she just didn't get the jokes. I got the jokes, even the bad ones. But I enjoyed it, and she didn't. I tried to argue that Corman was talented.

In fact, until Corman set up shop with New Horizons some twenty years ago, he was consistent in making films that were not always good, but usually fairly intelligent and provocative. When Corman was hot, from the mid-50's to the late 60's, he was good.

GASsss is the tail-end of that streak.He directed one more film after this, the dull VonReichtoven and Brown, and retired to be a producer. The only other flicks I've seen him do(Frankenstein Unbound and The Phantom Eye) have been unworthy ventures.

So, my point is that GASsss was Corman's last film as director that really succeeded to entertain. Yes, the cuts that AIP imposed on some of the chancier jokes do hurt the film.(who knows how funny it would've been to hear God narrate the story with a Jewish accent? Or how breathtaking the final shot would have been, a tracking shot that Corman says was the best shot in his career, left on the cutting room floor). Then again, I'm not sure if the film would've made much more sense than it does now.

Yes, GASsss is a failure, but an interesting one. If you're feeling patient one night for a 60's time capsule, and you like Country Joe and the Fish, this the film for you.
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Interesting, but flawed Corman curio
gortx13 July 2003
This is the film that Roger Corman says was his final straw with AIP. After mildly editing WILD ANGELS and THE TRIP, their virtual elimination of "God" and the obliteration of the original ending led him to form New World Pictures.

Seeing this film at the American Cinemateque in a striking new print shows both its virtues as a one-of-a-kind (well, at least for anybody BUT Corman!) oddity as well as a failed attempt at counter-culture comedy. It's hard to see how even the original Director's Cut (if it exists at all) would really be that much of an improvement. What is on the screen is still probably about 90% of what Corman shot, and it's a scattershot affair. The Cinematography and Music stand out, as well as bits of the acting, particularly by Elaine Giftos.

Roger Corman spoke after the Cinemateque screening.

Corman said that he hadn't seen the movie since its release in 1970. It was edited before its theatrical release by AIP. Most significantly was the almost complete elimination of the voice of "God". Corman speculated that since AIP had gone public (stock market) around that time, that they were concerned that the "Jewish comic"-type voice would be considered sacriligious! Then, AIP cut the most elaborate shot in the entire film. The original ending! Elaine Giftos and Robert Corff were to "walk off into the sunset in the most cliched ending possible." This was shot in a big panaroma shot "with marching bands and the whole cast included." Corman said that it STILL bothers him that as released, the film "has no ending."
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3/10
Bizarre
dbrookfield11 February 2005
I think if you are into the sixties kind of thing, as I am, you are obligated to waste about 80 minutes of your life watching this barely watchable trainwreck. The saving graces of this oddity include a surprisingly apt social commentary on sixties values along with a number of relatively well known actors caught in early (and embarrassing) footage. It's as if the producers of Laugh-In sat down and decided to write a full length film, covering all the high points (and more) of the issues between the flower children and the establishment, then put it in the hands of a couple of hippies and gave them about a $10,000 budget to complete it. Hardly a classic, but in its own way it does capture how truly strange that time was, the silliness, the over-idealism, and the uptightness of the establishment. Clearly not for everyone.
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6/10
"Arrow-feather!"
Quinoa19844 April 2008
Roger Corman's Gas-s-s-s, his final film as director for AIP, is dated (and probably even was for the period it got released), but somehow it's almost part of its charm. It's an irreverent comedy about a noxious gas that wipes out everybody- at least in the US much as we can figure- who's over the age of 25. Party-time! In what appears to be, in the premise, as a slight twist on Corman's own Last Woman on Earth, it's an epic of low-budget proportions, a rampant fiasco of kids in hippie-wear (or not as case turns out) and the Darwinian struggles that take place as the roughnecks, jocks and bikers-on-country-clubs face off against those darn 'commie-anarchists'. Certainly a good premise indeed, at least for those who love the exploitation fare of the period (myself counted, even as I'm from after that era).

While it might be one of Corman's (intentionally) funnier pictures, there's a nagging feeling that something's not totally there. It is cheap, it is slapdash, it's episodic. The problem, as with some of Corman's other movies, is that a little more effort would make something even more interesting. If there was, for example, another snappy and sharp writer alongside George Armitage, who could whip the script into a tight and awesome shape, it could even be one of the great exploitation films. As it stands, it's merely OK overall. Luckily the good tries to outweigh the bad, which is that there are some really, actually clever one-liners ("Hey, we all have our own inconsistencies, that doesn't stop the revolution," to "Drop that chloride, you commie anarchist!") and seeing the biker country-clubbers and the God lightning bolt climax.

Best of all is to see a running-gag in-joke for Corman- probably more than one, actually. The first is more obvious, and laugh-out-loud, which is a biker Edgar Allen Poe, who just shows up here and there like some sage wise-man (who is, of course, not over 25) with his wife and occasional raven on his shoulder spouting garbled quotes. The second is a little more subtle, which seems to be a play on his film the Trip, as in the psychedelic-type scenes (i.e. dancing to Country Joe and the Fish) with the camera zooming in and out fast, lots of hand-held, etc). Corman's gone through this all before, so it has to be questioned: how much of this is tongue in cheek, and how much is just almost shoddy film-making? Can't be sure. At least there was consistent chuckling to be had, especially at seeing a young Bud Cort in a cowboy hat, and, of all people, Talia Shire!
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5/10
Totally freaky movie
jonfukk6 February 2002
This is the kind of movies that make me feel good. The kind of movies that makes you say: Man! Me and my friends could have made this one!

Anyway.. it's the greatest hippie-road-trip-movie I have ever laid my eyes on

peace
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Trivia
thirdbid11 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The scene at Acoma Pueblo where the explosion takes place (next to the 350 year old San Esteban del Rey Mission) was deliberately shot without informing any of the Pueblo residents, much less their secular and religious leaders. In anticipation of the Acoma's predictable response to their trust being violated, Corman planned for this to be the final shot at this location and was thus prepared to leave immediately after the explosion took place.

Acoma has been continuously occupied since at least 1150 A.D. and in 1929 was used as a location for "Redman", which was filmed using two strip Technicolor and an early 70mm wide screen process known as Magnascope - the production company also constructed the first (and only) road up the 367 foot high mesa to where the village and mission are located.
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10/10
Arrow feather....
Newski_the_Hippie15 March 2005
Faster than you can ask if police brutality is a sin, a poisonous gas has killed everyone over twenty five. With fascist football jocks, young cocky police officers, and some capitalist golf course workers all trying to stop them, a group of hippies struggle to live in peace.

This movie you have to see to believe. Not only is it an almost orgasmic counter culture vision of peace, it is among the best absurdest comedies to date. It proves that Roger Corman should be the one directing the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Film.

This film is loaded with off the wall dialog and constant political satire that, instead of being dated, reflects the views and attitudes of the time. Its part road comedy, part post apocalyptic, but mostly its just a bunch of insanity. You can watch this movie three times and not catch all the jokes in this humor packed film.

Be warned, this film supports a way of life called "communist anarchism". Communist anarchism is based on a community that is based on direct democracy, with no economic standards. Rather, everyone does what they can and get the same in return. It is a highly idealistic vision, and of course this is a highly idealistic movie. But don't we need some better ideals? Better things to hope for for the future?
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1/10
Useless trash
rwc9228 April 2013
First off, I'm a fan of Roger Corman and cheesy movies, but this was just plain horrible. If you want to see why the Hippie lifestyle went away then maybe this movie is for you. Otherwise it was a total waste of time. Seemed that everyone associated with this cinematic dreck must have been doing way too much LSD. Just about every line in this movie made no sense. The acting was sub-par even from those that have done fine work in other films. There was no plot in the acceptable use of the word and those involved should hang their heads any time this movie is mentioned. The only thing good I can say is that I managed to not see this junk as long as I have.
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Corman's Last Hurrah
Sargebri10 October 2003
This was a weird sort of science fiction comedy from "Professor Corman". This film pretty much reminds me of a spaced out version of the short lived show "The New People", which came out a year earlier. The whole idea of everyone over 35 being killed by a gas that didn't work on the younger population was a wild idea to begin with, but the surrealism of this movie even made it wilder to look at. Too bad that Corman's last film for A.I.P. couldn't have been a schlock classic like many of his earlier. At least on the bright side we get to look at a very young Cindy Williams, Talia Shire and Ben Vereen in what was one of, if not their first roles in a motion picture.
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5/10
Corman's last film for AIP
rosscinema28 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is just one of many hippie oriented films that came out from the mid-1960's until the early 70's and while it's clearly not one of the better efforts in this genre it's still an interesting attempt made by a director whom I have always found fascinating. Story (!) is about the effects of a deadly gas that is mistakingly let loose and everyone dies who's over the age of 25 and a young man named Coel (Bob Corff) who's being chased by the cops meets Cilla (Elaine Giftos) who's a pretty scientist on the run also.

*****SPOILER ALERT***** Together they head out of Texas to New Mexico where they are trying to find a pueblo with the hope of a better life and along on their strange journey they meet a modern day revolutionary named Carlos (Ben Vereen) and his music store owner girlfriend Marissa (Cindy Williams) who's pregnant. They also come across another couple named Hooper (Bud Cort) and Coralee (Talia Shire) and the 6 of them head off together but they have problems when they run into fascist football players who practice tackling girls to rape them and bikers who ride golf carts and try to protect their golf course. Once they get to the pueblo the football players threaten their existence again and it takes an interference from God to set everyone right.

This was to be the last film that Roger Corman made with AIP due to the fact that the studio made some editing choices of their own that infuriated Corman and led him to start his own company. With that, Corman had already been making these hippie flicks like "The Trip" and "Psyche-Out" and he knew there was an audience out there but this was one of the rare films that Corman directed that wasn't successful. This film plays out like it was partially improvised with scenes that are just strung together in a dreamlike fashion as if Fellini had a hand in it. Like all of the other films in this genre the story is supposed to be symbolic with loads of small jokes aimed primarily at the mainstream establishment and society in general. For me, the main reason this is watchable is not only watching young stars before they hit it big but just to watch Elaine Giftos. I have always been a fan of hers and while she never had a big film career she was very popular on television appearing often on "The Partridge Family" and "Love, American Style" and her natural girl next door looks served her well (and me!) as I have always thought of her as beautiful. Films like this have always appealed to me because I feel they capture a time and attitude that has passed from our society although at 80 minutes this film does wear out it's welcome. This isn't the exploitive camp that made films like "Candy" so much fun nor does it possess the relevance of "Easy Rider" but along with the lovely Giftos and other recognizable actors this still has enough going for it to warrant a viewing.
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1/10
A true achievement - the worst Roger Corman flick ever
vfrickey28 January 2008
I don't hand out "ones" often, but if there was ever a film that deserved this sort of attention, it's "Gas!" This is self-indulgent crap that reaches for some of the ambiance of M*A*S*H and falls completely flat on its face in the attempt.

I see what Corman was going for - Malcolm Marmorstein and Elliott Gould tried to reproduce Gould's deathless role in the original movie version of M*A*S*H with a similar plot (in the movie "Whiffs" - look it up here in IMDb, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073891/ for more information).

Marmorstein and Gould got closer to the brass ring with "Whiffs" than Corman did with "Gas!" but didn't quite get there. Neither one of those films even got close to the success of M*A*S*H.

What's wrong with "Gas!"? What isn't? No one comes close to really acting at a level above junior high school theatrics. The production values stink. Someone else here mentioned the magically regenerating headlights on a getaway car, and there's more of that lack of attention to detail. Nothing works the way it's supposed to in this film, and nobody cares. A gang rape is treated as an entertaining spectator sport.

"Gas!" actually put me to sleep. It's not a sure cure for insomnia, but really close. On the Cinematic Sleep Induction scale, "Gas!" falls somewhere between "Last Year at Marienbad" and George Clooney's remake of "Solaris" (which itself was remarkable for being more boring than the Mosfilm original, despite that studio's seeming unfamiliarity with the idea of keeping the audience's attention by judicious editing).

Judicious editing would have decimated "Gas!" to about twenty minutes. The result would be pointless, but no more so than the original film.

Certain films are so bad that they have a compelling quality that makes them worth watching anyway. This isn't one of them. Don't waste your time. It's not even amusingly bad.
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4/10
Rather Weak
gavin694210 March 2014
A gas is let loose upon the world that kills anyone over twenty-five years old.

Coming from Roger Corman, I wanted to like this, but it never seemed coherent and I think not enough thought was put into a plot or story arc. There are things I enjoyed, such as the permit guy with the whip and how this was an alternate version of "Logan's Run" (this film came out after the novel but before the film, so whether or not there was an influence, I have no idea).

There was a problem in that almost no one was under 18. This seemed to be teenagers and young adults cutting loose, but who was watching all the infants?
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3/10
W-w-w-what the Hell-l-l-l ?!?
Coventry10 December 2009
Roger Corman is undeniably one of the most versatile and unpredictable directors/producers in history. He was single-handedly responsible for some of my favorite horror films ever (like the Edgar Allen Poe adaptations "Masque of the Red Death" and "Pit and the Pendulum") as well as some insufferably cheap and tacky rubbish quickies (like "Creature from the Haunted Sea" and "She Gods of the Shark Reef"). Corman also made a couple of movies that are simply unclassifiable and – simply put – nearly impossible to judge properly. "The Trip", for example, as well as this imaginatively titled "Gas-s-s-s" can somewhat be labeled as psychedelic exploitation. In other words, they're incredibly strange hippie-culture influenced movies. Half of the time you haven't got the slightest idea what's going on, who these characters are that walk back and forth through the screen and where the hell this whole thing is going. The plot is simply and yet highly effective: a strange but deadly nerve gas is accidentally unleashed and promptly annihilates that the entire world population over the age of 25. This *could* be the basic premise of an atmospheric, gritty and nail-bitingly suspenseful post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi landmark, but writer George Armitage and Roger Corman decided to turn it into a "trippy" road-movie comedy. None of the characters is even trying to prevent their inevitable upcoming deaths; they just party out in the streets and found little juvenile crime syndicates. "Gas-s-s-s" is a disappointingly boring and tries overly hard to be bizarre. The entire script appears to be improvised at the spot and not at all funny. Definitely not my cup of tea, but the film does have a loyal fan base and many admirers, so who am I to say that it's not worth your time or money?
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1/10
Please do NOT waste your time... unless you need to be anesthetized!
BreeInAZ10 February 2005
In one word... abysmal. I give it one star for the hippie sex scenes and eye candy women, otherwise forget it. Corman's worst effort, bar none. Ben Vereen should have had his name permanently stricken from the cast. I cannot believe that this is now going to be on DVD (as of 2/15/05) with "Wild In The Streets" - another retro stinker. I woke up sick in bed this morning with a cold, decided to watch a movie to cheer me up some, scanned the digital channels... the premise looked interesting enough because I like viewing B-movie sci-fi, hippie culture and rebellious teen flicks. It seemed familiar somehow and with Ben Vereen in the cast, I thought... why not? What a big mistake... it was a horrible start to my day.

Only after viewing it, I now know why the familiarity crept into the recesses of my newly-awakened brain. I remembered seeing coming attractions for this film as a 14-year old (I'm 45), back in the early/mid-seventies at the Sombrero, a local art theater that no longer exists... the whole theater laughed hysterically and even groaned out loud at how bad this movie looked. Acting: dreadful, story: awful, cinematography: nearly-awful, music: terrible, sound: horrendous, directing: a joke. If you choose to watch this after my warning, remember... "I told you so."

"Gass-s-s-s" is the perfect title for this film... you feel "gassed" after viewing this putrid movie - or maybe that you should be taken to a "gas" chamber for wasting your brain away. I have seen homemade Super 8 movies that put this film to shame. Definitely a new addition to my all-time Top Ten WORST films... it's up there (er, down there) with "Tentacles."

Ted in Gilbert, AZ
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8/10
Wonderful, low-budget insanity.
theskulI4223 April 2008
With heedless energy, low-budget freedom and a youthful exuberance befitting its characters, Gas-s-s might be the greatest apocalyptic thriller ever made, specifically because it's neither apocalyptic nor a thriller.

The film functions in much the same way Mike Judge's Idiocracy did 35 years later, very funny films that depict silly futures that, if considered rationally, are terrifying and on-point.

The film details (well, sort of) the country after a mysterious gas kills everyone over the age of 25, and we follow a select group (including Ben Vereen and Cindy Williams) as they attempt to live, survive and make hilarious non-sequiturs among the southwest desert.

The film is a laundry list of psychedelia, societal breakdown, cultural criticism and a lot of silly, clever wordplay. In addition to being spot-on about some of its criticisms about the immaturities and problems a youth-led culture would have (and would be a very relevant critique about all the hippies and their ilk of the time, functioning almost as the voice of reason), it moves quickly and throws joke after joke after joke at the screen, and a lot of it, though delivered and moved on from so quickly that you're barely given the time to comprehend it, and it's just hugely entertaining through its short running time.

I've now seen three Corman films, and loved two of them, with this one neck and neck with A Bucket of Blood for my favorite.

Don't make me choose.

{Grade: B+ (8.5/10) / #8 (of 25) of 1971}
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2/10
A Psychedelic, Hippy Trip
toyman196711 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I usually don't watch this type of movie but today I seen it was on Retroplex and I didn't want to watch my usual horror movies so I sat myself down ready to be entertained. I should have stuck with the horror movies. What I ended up watching was this terrible, awful movie about the end of civilization if you are over the age of 25. Instead of eating hot dogs and chips while watching this, I should have had a bag of weed and some LSD strips then maybe I would have liked it. It was interesting to see Cindy Williams in a pre-Laverne and Shirley role. Basically, it is about these wacked-out under 25 hippies and their travels through the southwest and their meetings with other wacked-out hippies. It's kind of like a psychedelic Road Warrior type movie without the killing. Maybe if you were a child of the 60's, you might like this type of movie but I was born in '67 so I didn't like it. If you are into the drug culture of the late 60's then this movie is for you, if not, then stay far away from this one.
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6/10
"I think he just gave us back the English language"
ackstasis21 March 2010
Recently I've really come to respect Roger Corman, perhaps the most successful cheapskate in cinema history. Despite an overwhelming passion for economies, Corman was nonetheless able to produce a series of exquisitely-made, atmospheric Poe adaptations, among them 'The Masque of the Red Death (1964)' and 'The Tomb of Ligeia (1964).' His last film for American International Pictures was creatively titled 'Gas! -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It. (1970)' {or simply "Gas-s-s-s"}. This post-apocalyptic black comedy is a bit of an oddity, more reminiscent of a Coen brothers film than the graceful Gothic horrors with which I've come to associate Corman. Certainly, many viewers are left bewildered by the film's zany comedic scenarios, sprinkled with bizarre humour and social satire, and I think it's a cleverer film than first appearances might suggest.

Corman's ponderous title works in two ways. Firstly, it shamelessly rips off Kubrick's 'Dr. Strangelove (1964),' the post-apocalyptic comedy to which all post-apocalyptic comedies aspire. Secondly, it presents an anti-militaristic agenda – and, more specifically, an anti-Vietnam War message. The second title paraphrases an American general's infamous war-time declaration, following the destruction of Ben Tre, that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it." The film's animated prologue, fronted by a caricatured John Wayne-like general, depicts the military accidentally releasing a poison gas that kills everybody in the world over 25 years of age. Thus, society is left in the hands of the college students, whose free-wheeling, pot-smoking, sex-obsessed ways promise an end to civilisation itself.

This new "young people only" world is ruled by cartoonish and irresponsible egos, their behaviour dictated purely by cultural stereotypes: a deranged football captain reduces raping and pillaging to a competitive sport; a posse of black golfers fight non-existent racial inequality and celebrate the "common American." The film treats its dark themes with an astonishing breeziness, typical of the carefree "you only live once" mentality of the 1960s hippie counter-culture. Rape is idly characterised as a sort of recreation, a far cry from the disturbing rape scenes in another low-budget post-apocalyptic film, Ray Milland's 'Panic in Year Zero! (1962).' There's a car-chase on golf-buggies. Even Edgar Allen Poe turns up on a motor-cycle, for no apparent reason other than to reference the director's earlier works. This film is insane. Corman knows this, and he runs with it.
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8/10
Very good "countercultural" comedy (though that's too much of a label for THIS film)
Skragg2 March 2008
It's hard to describe this film without just making a list of all the things that (I think) work. The cop in the confessional, the Elaine Giftos character taking over her own rape, Ben Vereen and Bud Cort as would-be spaghetti western-type cowboys, Cindy Williams falling in love with the jukebox, the doctor who gets mad at her for refusing to have the baby, the Hell's Angels guarding a golf course, and turning it into a Vietnam allegory, the Indians taking back America, and sarcastically offering souvenirs for free, the leader of the commune, who was funny but without being YET ANOTHER stereotyped hippie, God and Jesus having a comical father-son talk.

I don't know Robert Corff from anything else (that I can name), but he was very good in his role. Tally Coppola (Talia Shire) had less to do than the others, but she was fine too. Like at least one poster here, I just don't see how it's "dated" (of course, I almost never listen to "dates well" and "dates badly" when it comes to entertainment).
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4/10
Only For the Die-Hards
Tweetienator13 September 2019
On my quest to watch everything Mr. Corman directed I stumbled over Gas!. Well, Gas! got its funny moments and a nice flavor of the hippy times (soundtrack, clothes and stuff) and as a post-apocalyptic comedy (everybody older than 25 years dies because of the gas) it is rather an avantgarde movie (regarding the movie was published in 1970) but to be honest, the people I would recommend watching Gas! I would narrow down to the absolute Corman die-hards. Many funny scenes just aren't that funny (imo). Watching was okay for me, but nothing special, what I like most is the soundtrack.
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1/10
Bad Movie with Notable Appearances
arfdawg-129 August 2020
This movie is really bad. What's notable are the early screen appearances of Bud Cort, Talia Shire (as Tally Coppola - and she can't act), Ben Vereen whose voice appears to be dubbed for some reason) and the very hot and do-able Cindy Williams as well as an appearance of Country Joe McDonald.

I's a very poorly written movie with a paper thin plot and Corman must have thought that unrelated segments cut into the film would make it watchable. It doesn't.

What you are left with is 90 minutes of nothing. Mostly kids running around in the desert.
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4/10
Not much of a gas, in the end
ianbrown6513 January 2016
Impossible to say how Roger Corman's attempt at a loose kaleidoscopic comedy-satire in the Richard Lester vein would have turned out had not American International Pictures re-edited it against his wishes. He left the studio after 15 years with them after this.

The script is decidedly weak, a common Corman failing, full of potentially intriguing, half-formed ideas that are never realised. Meanwhile the cast of unknowns never get any real chance to build up their characters into anything sympathetic or likable. It's as if the director isn't really interested in them.

It's an adequately stylish, and zippy enough production. But like much of Corman's later stuff for AIP, it also has an air of opportunism about it, riding the post-Easy Rider youth-counterculture boom while having only an outsider's empathy with it (Corman was 44 when he made this).

Still, if nothing else he does get a chance to say an ironic farewell to Edgar Allan Poe (the author of Corman's earlier celebrated cult film series), who here appears in period dress riding a Harley Davidson with a stuffed raven on his shoulder!
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8/10
Corman's enjoyably screwball end-of-the-world hippie counterculture oddity
Woodyanders23 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This gloriously gaga dippy hippie early 70's end-of-the-world counterculture cinematic artifact deals with a man-made airborne germ warfare virus which accelerates the aging process, thus killing off everybody who's twenty-five and older. Only young kids are left to inherit the world and maintain some semblance of civilization. Naturally, in the hands of these crazy, carefree, amoral, unsupervised, and totally uninhibited youths all-out anything-goes anarchy, hedonism, and pandemonium soon become widespread: California degenerates into a fascist Nixonian police state, football-inspired brutality reigns supreme in Texas, greasy bikers enforce conservative moral rectitude on the golf links (!), and horse-riding, pistol-packing psycho cowboy bandit car thieves terrorize the dusty back-roads of America.

Directed with customary gusto by legendary exploitation movie maestro Roger Corman, adopted from a bold, biting script written by the great, ever-underrated George Armitage (who later wrote and directed the terrific "Miami Blues"), further enhanced by Ron Dexter's garishly excessive, heavy on the bright lurid colors and flashy psychedelic visuals cinematography and a groovy, fuzz-tone and saxophone blastin' lowdown blue-eyed soul rock'n'roll score by Country Joe and the Fish, this breezy, irreverent, playfully mordant black comedy riot satirizes both the establishment and the counterculture alike, biker pictures, brooding Gothic horror films (Edgar Allen Poe appears as a grimly philosophical Greek chorus astride a black chopper with Eleanor as his motorcycle mama!), and apocalyptic sci-fi cinema in general. Robert Corff and Elaine Giftos are quite affable as the increasingly confused leads, while Ben Vereen as an angry black militant, Cindy Williams as a chirpy, pregnant ditz, Talia Shire as a daffy, rock music-loving flower child, Bud Cort as a smarmy longhair, and Armitage as the deranged Billy the Kid contribute deliciously grotesque supporting performances. A wonderfully kooky and cockeyed one-of-a-kind delight.
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8/10
Sensational surreal fest
corgi375 April 2004
Acting, production values - nah, you dont need any of that stuff in the very last days of hippie-ness. Think open air sets, glorious hammy over acting based on silent movie principles and a "hip" cast (for 1971 anyway). This movie seems to be almost 100% based on a stage production. I dont know if it was originally a play. But, you can just imagine the cast performing this at Berkely, or maybe off, off Broadway. Cindy Williams went on to American Graffiti, then to sitcom heaven through out the 70's and early 80's. Ben Vereen made a career as well, and surely this is close to his 1st movie. For lovers of alternative culture, college type movies that were so cool back then. Put it this way, they dont make movies like this any more. Depending on your view, that could be a good thing, but i love the naivety and exuberance.
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3/10
It's the end of the world as we know it...
moonspinner5526 June 2010
A gas-leak at a chemical warfare plant in Alaska increases the rate of neuron depletion in humans over 25, killing off all the adults in the world; a band of happy young people drive across the Southwest in search of a new existence, encountering jock fascists who want to run things like a football game and rival gangs at a country club who have turned the golf course into a mutinous dictatorship. Political allegory with rock music and psychedelic flourishes should have contained funnier satire. From what we can see, the point being made is that--left to their own devices--kids will screw up the planet just as badly as their elders have done. Producer-director Roger Corman, coasting on the exhaust of "Easy Rider", had some quirky ideas, but nothing is developed far enough to sustain interest. Even the bits of outré comedy stop short of becoming revue material (à la TV's "Laugh-In"), though perhaps a more exaggerated format would have been successful here. The handling isn't far-out enough. Some of the low-budget style looks good, and many of the cast members went on to bigger and better things. *1/2 from ****
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