Monday, March 25, 2013

Only now does it occur to me... THINGS TO COME

Only now does it occur to me...  what an inspiration THINGS TO COME must have been on everyone from George Lucas to George A. Romero.

A heavy does of H.G. Wells future history that was designed as a sort of retort to the world of METROPOLIS, THINGS TO COME is an enjoyable, extremely well designed piece of classic science fiction.

I knew that it was influential, but I didn't quite realize what an impact its visuals had on everything from LOGAN'S RUN's domed metropolis to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK's Cloud City.

Then, the most curious thing:  "the wandering sickness."  Wells describes a plague in the latter stages of his Second World War (which stretches into the 1960s), spread by a poison gas dropped from airplanes.  Though it seems to be a vague prediction of the radiation sickness from atomic bombs, it immediately reminded me if the zombie film canon:  the victims wander a post-apocalyptic landscape in a daze, arms outstretched, and are highly contagious.  Infected family members must be killed immediately in order save other survivors; difficult decisions must be made.

I had always heard of I AM LEGEND/THE LAST MAN ON EARTH being the primary influence on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, so this came to me as a surprise.  Even the name, "the wandering sickness," evokes latter-day zombie fiction like THE WALKING DEAD.  So:  H.G. Wells predicted (often in roundabout ways) devastating aerial bombing, the Second World War, genetic engineering, automatic sliding doors, cell phones, flat-screen TVs... and the zombie genre!

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