The Omega Man

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The Omega Man is a science fiction dystopian-survivalist fiction movie starring Charlton Heston.

The Omega Man is based loosely on the 1954 American author Richard Matheson classic Post Apocalyptic World dystopian survivalist fiction novel I Am Legend. An reviewer describes it as,

"Taking place in the near future, the Omega Man imagines a world where the majority of the population has been wiped out by biological warfare. Those that have survived have become albinos who can only come out at night. In a clever touch that has never really been given its due, their leader is a former TV news commentator named Mathias. Mathias has declared that the only way to purify the world is to destroy all reminders of their former life and that includes anyone who may not have been infected with the plague. At the beginning of the movie, that would appear to be all of one man -- a former military scientist played by Charlton Heston who spends his days driving through a deserted Los Angeles is search of both a cure and more humans. At night, he hides in his well-lit apartment while Mathias's mob angrily tries to force him out."[1]

"The Omega Man is at its strongest in the beginning. The scenes of Heston driving across a deserted Los Angeles (scenes that were shot on actual L.A. street) continue to haunt thirty years after they were first filmed and, for all its inherent camp value, there's something undeniably powerful about seeing the half-mad Heston passing the time by sitting in an empty music theater and watching Woodstock. As well, Mathias' siege on Heston's apartment is also well handled. After this, the film loses its way slightly with Heston predictability getting trapped outside after dark and much of the film's action falls flat. However, uneven as it may be, it all builds up to a truly powerful ending that will shock those raised on the science fiction films of the '80s and '90s and the final visual image of Heston still packs an incredible amount of power. Despite the fact that Charlton Heston's performance here (and Soylent Green) provided the inspiration for many impressionists, he actually gives an excellent performance. While he spends much of the film gritting his teeth NRA-style, he also brings a very believable sense of fear to the night scenes. Heston doesn't make his hero an obvious hero -- instead of being a standard good guy, mankind's last hope is instead presented as having been driven almost mad by his responsibility."

The story of the novel takes place in a then-futuristic Los Angeles of 1976 where a plague has transformed all of humanity into vampires, except for the protagonist Robert Neville.[2] The novel has been adapted into three films, the first being The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price, which was released in 1964.[3] The second adaptation was the 1971 film The Omega Man which featured Charlton Heston in the lead role.[4] The most recent adaptation of the novel is the 2007 film I Am Legend starring Will Smith.[5]


  1. review. Accessed December 18, 2014
  2. Richard Matheson's I Am Legend at
  3. The Last Man on Earth at the Internet Movie Database
  4. The Omega Man at the Internet Movie Database
  5. I Am Legend at the Internet Movie Database

External links