A highway patrolman stops motorists on a highway after he hears news reports of a possible nuclear attack.A highway patrolman stops motorists on a highway after he hears news reports of a possible nuclear attack.A highway patrolman stops motorists on a highway after he hears news reports of a possible nuclear attack.
It is essentially an elongated Twilight Zone episode combining elements of Martian in a Diner with The Shelter and Maple Street.
Many here ridicule this film saying it's horribly done, bad acting, etc. This is wholly incorrect. Most self appointed experts on films commenting here and other places often complain in like deed and manner, using the same phrases and complaints.
This film was shot, composed, scored, and sound recorded professionally, albeit with a lower budget than A pictures.
This film was shot with skill. The sound is without any noticeable errors, drops, or sound asymmetry, with dialog, Foley, score, incidental music doing what they are supposed to do. Comparing this film to Ed Wood's is way off base. Wood's films are very poorly made (and lovable).
Too many times, people trash old films making clichéd generalizations that it's 'crap' or 'shoestring budget' or has 'wooden acting' etc. I'd wager those who make such comments have never made a movie, or probably anything else creative in their lives, certainly not on a scale of a motion picture, even a lower budget one. Sorry, Youtube videos don't count. Such people, and we have a lot of them these days, find it easy to make such blanket statements.
Ignore them. For it is the easiest thing in the world to ridicule something as if you are an authority, and it's the most foolish thing in the world to believe it.
I'm not saying this film is great. It's classic B movie drive-in fare. But, that doesn't mean that skill wasn't involved, or that professionals didn't do their best with what they had to work with to put an entertaining picture on the big screen. I urge you, if you care, to just take any shot in the film, pick any one, or any scene, and look where the camera was placed, what angle, how is it composed? What can you see in the shot, does the camera move, and if so, is it smoothly done? How are the shots mixed? Does the variety of divergent shots create a feeling you can describe? How is the mixture of shots set up to build tension? Are close ups used? Long shots? Mid shots? Two shots? Overhead shots, low angles? Thru windows, around objects? Dolly shots? Crane shots? Moving vehicle shots? What shots were done in a studio? How many did it take to complete a scene?
How are the actors' eye lines? Do they match up, or are they looking in the wrong direction, wrong angle, wrong side of the frame? Do they move off their marks?
Did they flub their lines? How is the wardrobe? Do they look "wardrobed"? How about their hair? Does their hair change suddenly shot to shot, as is often the case when continuity is not managed well?
How is the cutting? The editing? Does it make sense? Is it convincing that things are happening in real time, even though a 1 minute scene may have taken all night or one week or month of nights to shoot? Did the editor develop a rhythm within each scene, and an overall one for the entire story? Were sound bridges used, where actors' lines, or sound effects cross over visual cuts? Were many lines delivered off camera, so we can see reactions to the lines from the other players?
How are the sound effects used? Are they convincing? Or out of sync? The crickets? Do they suddenly stop for no reason shot by shot, or are the sound effects consistently maintained? Is the police car radio convincing? How about the static from the other cars' radios? Door slams? Were they foleyed well? Do you see any mic booms? Light set ups? Can you even tell how they lit each scene, so we could see what we should see and not see what we shouldn't? There is no large lampposts, yet we believe we should see them. How is this violation of reality accomplished so the viewer doesn't have it ruin the illusion.
The above is only the tip of the iceberg of what a filmmaker goes through for each second, each frame of film that is shot. Remember this is film, not video.
If you are the type of person who makes fun of B/W movies, old TV shows, music made before you were a teenager, then don't bother watching it. You've got greater issues to deal with and you need all the time you have left on earth to deal with them.
If on the other hand you are one who has an open mind, and enjoys fun movies, then take a peak. You may like it. It may stay with you. You may surprise yourself.
One of the worst things to ever happen to cinema, to old movies in particular (and all movies become old movies eventually) was Mystery Science Theater. Even though it was very funny, and a good concept - we often did the exact same thing in college way before MST did it, as did probably many of you out there - it cued many young people into thinking ALL old movies, ALL B movies should be made fun of. This was a dire mistake and has transformed into a tragedy. It has brought upon us an avalanche of cynical so-called experts who strive to elicit the end-all cut or put-down of such fare as This is Not A Test.
The challenge in life is not to find things to ridicule, but rather to find the beauty in things others can't see, and maybe, with a little luck, show it to them.
- Sep 19, 2007