24 April 2014

Chosen Survivors (1974)
99 min.
Directed by Sutton Roley.
With Jackie Cooper, Alex Cord, Richard Jaeckel, Bradford Dillman, Diana Muldaur, Barbara Babcock, Pedro Armendariz, Jr.
1974 science fiction/horror hybrid worth seeing for its ensemble cast and unique premise.

The U.S. government rushes a handful of citizens to a top secret facility hidden somewhere deep within the New Mexico desert. Seriously deep. Turns out the place is a high-tech bomb shelter located more than 1,750 feet below the Earth's surface, a completely self-sustainable outpost with a computer surveillance system and advanced life support resources.

Dazed and confused, the group wonders why they've been whisked away from their lives and deposited here. Seems there's been a nuclear war up above, all life on Earth has been decimated, and they've been chosen as the survivors who will repopulate Earth. Sound like a plan?

There's only one problem. They're not alone. A huge colony of vampire bats are in the facility with them, ravenous for human blood and ready to pick off these 'chosen survivors' one by one!

This bleak apocalyptic terror is well acted, with Cooper, Babcock and genre regular Jaeckel (Grizzly, Jaws of Death, both 1976) giving standout performances. The sterilized design of the facility contrasts nicely with the bat hordes and the chaos they bring. There are some solid suspense sequences, including the nailbiting run up which leads to the (appropriately) downbeat climax.

Some might find it all too self-serious for its own good (think Poseidon Adventure meets The Day After). Nevertheless this is still worth a watch.

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