Holocaust 2000 (1977)

Kirk Douglas, Simon Ward, Agostina Belli, Anthony Quayle,
Holocaust 2000 is a movie starring Kirk Douglas, Simon Ward, and Agostina Belli. An executive in charge of a Middle Eastern nuclear plant discovers that his son is the Anti Christ and sets out to stop him from using the nuclear...
  • 5.4 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Sergio Donati, Michael Robson, Writer:
  • Alberto De Martino, Director:
  • Producer:
6 / 10

HOLOCAUST 2000 (Alberto De Martino, 1977) **1/2

There's no question about it: Italian film-makers used to make the most enjoyable crap ? and this one is a prime example. Whenever a Hollywood movie became a runaway box office success, the Italians would waste no time in making their own carbon copy of it and, in this field, director Alberto De Martino was one of the top "go to" guys in the country; having recently made his own "pasta" versions of THE GODFATHER (1972) and THE EXORCIST (1973) ? in THE COUNSELLOR (1973) and THE ANTICHRIST (1974) respectively ? it was natural for him to be entrusted with concocting an Italianized clone of THE OMEN (1976). As it happens, this was an Italo-British co-production (as that impressively star-studded cast can attest) and the end result is, as I said, far more enjoyable than a half-arsed imitation has any right to be.

The film's ageing American star, Kirk Douglas (in the first of 4 horror/sci-fi outings he did in quick succession ? the others being Brian De Palma's disappointing THE FURY [1978], the maligned-but-fair SATURN 3 [1980] and THE FINAL COUNTDOWN [1980], which I haven't watched in ages), does have one up on Gregory Peck from THE OMEN in that he gets to share a nude love scene with leading lady Agostina Belli! The rest of the cast, unsurprisingly, is a mix of established Brits and Italians: Geoffrey Keen, Alexander Knox (as the requisite professor who unravels the diabolical scheme and who's given a memorably subtle death scene), Virginia McKenna (like in the subsequent BLOOD LINK [1982], also from De Martino, she's killed off during the opening scenes!), Anthony Quayle, Simon Ward (effectively cast as a cold-blooded Antichrist), as well as Adolfo Celi and Romolo Valli (playing the equally indispensable and ill-fated priest).

The plot comes up with an ingenious modernization of the Apocalypse prophecies, illustrating a plausible analogy between mythical and modern monsters. Among the film's most notable sequences is Douglas' surreal nightmare (in which he's stranded stark naked in the desert, witnesses the demons rising from the sea and is haunted by the presence of a religious fanatic in a Diabolik-like outfit!) and one where a Middle Eastern political leader ? opposed to industrial progress ? gets the top of his head chopped off by a helicopter blade (thus anticipating the more celebrated moment in George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD [1978]). Once again, Ennio Morricone's score may sound overly-familiar (given that he composed THE ANTICHRIST and also EXORCIST II ? THE HERETIC [1977])?but there's no denying that it serves the taut proceedings admirably.

Ultimately, though, the film results in not being at all scary: for one thing, the Antichrist has no direct relation to the 'accidental' deaths of those who stand in his way; also, he's left pretty much to his own devices (with no diabolical helpers as in THE OMEN), yet, nobody ever seems to question his decisions. Besides, there's no explanation as to just how Ward became "the chosen" (one of the titles by which the film's also known, as seen in an alternate opening sequence included on the DivX copy I watched) ? in THE OMEN, at least, it was a case of babies exchanged at birth! Other narrative flaws: why is the Agostina Belli character afraid of entering a church ? considering that the child she's carrying turns out not to be the Antichrist after all (as Douglas himself had feared)?; the second scene in the psycho ward (with the religious fanatic going berserk and inciting his fellow inmates to kill Douglas) is baffling and somewhat redundant ? since the latter has, by this time, become aware of Ward's true intentions!

The film concludes rather abruptly with the fairly ludicrous ? and pretentious ? suggestion of a new 'Holy Family'; I much preferred the alternate ending also found on the (once again) problematic DivX copy I have, after missing out on this title more than I care to remember on Italian TV over the years: while admittedly conventional, at least, we're shown Douglas willing to keep up the fight the only way he knows how ? through violence. Finally, I have to wonder what's holding up the film's release on DVD; it doesn't seem to be available in any region and, while no classic, it's eminently watchable ? apart from being, definitely, a commercially viable item (especially for fans of "Euro-Cult")...

7 / 10

Good, fun rip-off of The Omen

Italian filmmakers in the seventies weren't exactly slow when it came to ripping off successful films, and indeed it didn't take long for Alberto De Martino to deliver this obvious Omen rip-off just one year after the release of Richard Donner's successful film in 1976. The title suggests that the film will put something of a modern spin on the story, and indeed it has as in this tale of the Antichrist living among us humans, there is a nuclear power station at the centre. Kirk Douglas plays Robert Caine, an executive in charge of a Middle Eastern nuclear power plant. One of his main backers is his son, Angelo, but Angelo's reasons for wanting the power plant built are far more sinister than anything Robert would have expected. After a series of events, it becomes apparent to Robert that his son doesn't want the plant built to benefit mankind. In fact, he is the son of the Devil and his reasons for wanting the nuclear power plant completed is so he can carry out the Devil's work and use the plant to destroy all of mankind!

It has to be said that this really isn't a good film. It rips off The Omen so much it's almost painful, and the rest of the movie is a complete mess. However, I can't completely condemn this movie as aside from the numerous plot issues, it's a lot of fun to watch and there always plenty of stuff going on. The Omen became infamous for its gory and inventive death scenes, and while the ones here may not be all that inventive - they're plenty gory and serve in adding to the fun. The only big actor in the film is Kirk Douglas. This can hardly be considered the classic actor's best work (not that I'm a big fan of most of his stuff), but somehow he manages to stay fairly credible despite the fact that the dialogue in this film is choppy at best, and it cant be easy to act well when you're working with actors that are less than brilliant. There's not a lot in this movie that will make you think, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It all boils down to the sort of conclusion you can expect, but it's good fun getting there and overall I'd give this Omen rip off a thumbs up.

7 / 10

Kirk Douglas in one of his finest roles.

As a fan of European horror and cult cinema in general, I can tell that this in one of THE very best produced movies coming from Italy in the seventies. An incredible cast (Kirk Douglas, Agostina Belli, Simon Ward etc, Anthony Quayle; Massimo Foschi etc) doing their all. I've always been a fan of Kirk Douglas, and this is definitely one of his finest (and odd) roles. A wonderful and scary Italian horror classic that has to be seen. Far too underrated I'd say! Also - check for Massimo Foschi, who does an incredible job in this movie. Easily one of the best Italian actors from this period.

Thanks for bringing us a masterpiece, Alberto!

7 / 10

Alberto De Martino does The Omen.

Having already ripped off The Exorcist with his pretty dreadful 1974 movie The Antichrist, director Alberto De Martino has a bash at copying one of the other major horror successes of the '70s, The Omen—and he does a slightly better job this time around.

The decent cast certainly helps: Kirk Douglas stars as industrialist Robert Caine, who slowly comes to realise that his plans for a nuclear power plant in the third world might lead to the Apocalypse, as prophecised in the Bible; Simon Ward is his son Angel, who is determined to see the project to completion at whatever the cost; the lovely Agostina Belli plays Sara Golan, Robert's love interest, whose unborn child may or may not be The Antichrist; and Anthony Quayle appears as scientist Dr. Griffith, who unravels the truth but pays for his discovery with his life.

With such solid performers at his disposal, De Martino is able to deliver an entertaining slice of horror hokum despite the script's somewhat talky nature, its preachy anti-nuclear message and more than a few implausible plot turns, with the film's highlights being the juicy decapitation of a political leader by helicopter blade, beautiful Belli getting nekkid for a raunchy romp with ageing Kirk (such a coupling might sound unlikely, but if Michael can get it on with Zeta Jones in real life, then why not?), Caine's trippy dream sequence (which delivers the truly horrific sight of a naked Kirk Douglas), and a chilling scene where a room full of newborn babies are accidentally poisoned by a negligent nurse.

6.5 rounded up to 7 for IMDb.

3 / 10

Makers of The Omen fear not....this is not as good as your film.

Holocaust 2000 represents two things. It is the director's attempt to cash in on the huge success of The Omen. It is also Kirk Douglas's attempt to get a wider, younger audience back on his side by flirting with the horror genre.

The film is a mess, with Douglas playing the unsuspecting father whose business plans for a thermonuclear plant in the Middle East are enormously unpopular. His son, Simon Ward (a real Michael Caine lookalike in this film), is his closest ally when it comes to trying to build the plant, but what Douglas hasn't figured out is that his son is the embodiment of the AntiChrist, and that he only wants it built so that he can destroy mankind. Various people get killed (especially anyone who stands in the way of the plot) before Douglas figures it all out, but by then everyone thinks he is mad and he can't stop the completion of the plant. However, he does manage to escape and thus lives to fight another day.

The film never pushes the audience out of their comfort zone. It poses no thought provoking questions, no ominous atmosphere, and no originality. The performances are surprisingly good considering that the material is so poor. A couple of the killings are well filmed, especially the colonel who is beheaded by a helicopter rotor blade, but some of them are a bit unconvincing. The film's one sex scene is quite erotic (surprisingly so considering the age gap between Douglas and his co-star Agostina Belli) but that hardly makes it worth watching. All in all, this is a missed opportunity.