Youth runs wild — call Mars for religious guidance!

WILD IN THE STREETS (1968) stems from the same fantasy as DC’s Prez, that if the kids of the Baby Boom got to vote there were enough of them to take over — though giving 18 year olds the vote a few years later did not, in fact, lead to the prophesied youthquake.

Christopher Jones stars as Max Frost, a superstar rocker PO’d about a system where old people run everything: if the old fossils can force us to fight and die in ‘Nam, how can they say we aren’t mature enough to vote? Frost forms an alliance with Senator Fergus (Hal Holbrook) who’s courting the youth vote but this almost immediately proves a bad call for the senator. He’s cool with Frost advocating for 18-year-old suffrage but Frost proposes fourteen instead. When the singer doesn’t get buy in, he calls for nationwide youth protests until the government compromises on fifteen.

With the power of the youth vote, Max pushes his lover Sally (Diane Varsi) into Congress where she lowers the age qualification for public office to fourteen. In a short while the Boomers have taken over and begin the work of squeezing out the oldsters (this also has a lot in common with Logan’s Run), even Max’s devoted mother Shelly Winters (“I’m sure my son has a very good reason for paralyzing the country.”).  The end result is a black-humored satire: it’s not plausible but it’s entertaining. “You’d kill the Almighty himself if you could get your hands around his throat.”

RED PLANET MARS (1951) is just as implausible but much less entertaining. Peter Graves succeeds in contacting Mars but learning their technology will let us live 300 years, feed a continent on an acre of farmland and heat a city from a pieces of coal crashes the economy (the coal industry goes on strike, demanding government protection) and plunges the world into chaos. Then the Martians reveal their great religious leader once taught them to “love good and hate evil” which Graves’ wife (Andrea King) recognizes as the exact message of the Sermon on the Mount. That’s only possible if the Martians were Christians — OMG, their religious leader must have been Jesus!

This is as daft as it sounds but instead of being delightfully bad it’s boring, a talky, plodding film with a dull cast (Graves has none of the energy he shows in other low-budget work). If you’re curious, I have a more detailed write-up at Atomic Junkshop. “We can choose between good and evil — but if we choose evil now, that’s the end of the human story.” #SFWApro. Prez cover by Jerry Grandenetti, all rights to images remain with current holders.


Filed under Movies

2 responses to “Youth runs wild — call Mars for religious guidance!

  1. Pingback: Sex and rebellion on paperback covers | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Only murderers on the road to Bali — it’s a gas! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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