Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Immortal Nazis add confusion
to 'Cataclysm'

(aka "The Nightmare Never Ends" "Shiver", and "Satan's Supper") (1981)

Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Marc Lawrence, Faith Clift, Robert Bristol, and Richard Moll
Directors: Philip Marshak and Tom McGowan
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A doctor (Clift) is chosen by God to be the one person who can defeat Satan's immortal servant on Earth (Lawrence). Will she act before it's too late, or will she listen to her militantly Atheist husband (Moll)? Meanwhile, a Holocaust survivor (Bristol) and a cop (Mitchell) are also on the trail of Satan's chosen one.

"Cataclysm" is a disaster of a movie. Most of the actors are terrible (Mitchell, Bristol, and Moll being the only exceptions), the storyline is confused (although it is less confused than the boiled-down version of this film that was featured in anthology film "Night Train to Terror") and the film is padded to a degree that has rarely been seen (with the nightmares suffered by Claire being especially annoying s far as that goes). Although the script tackles some interesting issues--God and faith, the nature of evil--its quality is obscured by bad artistic and technical choices on the part of the editor and director, and truly awful delivery of the lines on the part of most of the actors. Faith Clift, who is called upon to carry much of the movie is especially awful.

And then there's the inclusion of the Nazi angle. I don't doubt that an immortal devil would be involved with the likes of Hitler and his gang of loonies, but would he really be so stupid so as to be a hands-on kinda guy? At the rate the Nazis liked to turn on their own, he would be better off as a quiet manipulator instead of an SS officer who runs around machine-gunning Jews. (The whole Nazi angle doesn't add much to the film beyond distraction anyway. It might have been a stronger film if the whole plot with Cameron Mitchell and the Holocaust survivor had been dropped entirely. Or saved for a different movie.)

As far as I know, this full-length version of the film is only available on DVD in multipacks--such as large collections like the "Nightmare Worlds 50 Movie Pack". In most cases, there will be enough other films for this one to not be that big a deal, but I would not recommend spending money on a stand-alone version. (And I'd save this one until you've watched everything else in the set.)

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