Holocaust 2000 (1977) aka The Chosen


For years, I’ve vividly remembered a movie in which a car was driving down a lonely highway and the giant electrical towers along the road changed back and forth to and from demons. Maybe there was lightning when the demons were revealed, or maybe there were just flashes of light as they appeared and then disappeared. At some point, I thought I had identified the film as Holocaust 2000 (1977.)

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Concurrently, in recent years, Shout! Factory released a Blu-ray of a film called, The Chosen. Researching it, I learned that Kirk Douglas was in it and… Kirk Douglas was in Holocaust 2000. Therefore, The Chosen = Holocaust 2000 = giant electrical towers changing into demons. Right? Wrong. I can now find no evidence that a scene that lives so clearly in my mind either exists, or at least exists in either version of this movie.

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What’s eerie is that in Holocaust 2000, Robert Caine (Douglas) has a nightmare in which the seven turbines of his planned third world nuclear power plant rise from the ocean and, in flashes of light, momentarily transform into the heads of seven demons. The scene looks very much like my memory of the roadside electrical towers, but is it possible the details have been confused, or is there another movie that contains the scene from my memory?

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In either case, Holocaust 2000 would be a better third film in The Omen series than The Final Conflict (1981), if it was part of The Omen series… which it’s not. That doesn’t mean it’s a good movie, but it’s one that I liked quite a lot. Don’t believe its reviews, ratings, and scores, but discover it for yourself. Against all expectations, it was coherent, engaging, and entertaining. It was not the narrative mess multinational co-productions can sometimes be.

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The Chosen, the American International Pictures U.S. version, is a bad alternative title. The trailer for it assumes you can’t discover plot points for yourself and spoils the mystery of the film. On the other hand, it emphasizes a connection to The Omen that may not have been intended, but probably was. Holocaust 2000 is a better title, although I don’t know where the number comes from. If it’s the year, “the future” isn’t a part of the movie.

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The two versions have different endings. The conclusion of Holocaust 2000 is neither ambiguous nor bleak. However, The Chosen tacks on a stinger that more overtly gives the bad guys what they’ve got coming to them. I didn’t notice any other significant differences between the two as I pressed fast-forward through The Chosen. Maybe there was a little less of Caine and Sara Golan (Agostina Belli) frolicking in bed.

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The scene I was certain would be edited by American International Pictures for The Chosen doesn’t seem to be different. It’s a graphic depiction of a man, his head, and a helicopter. It’s the most creative of the Omen-like deaths for those who get too close to the secret of the impending apocalypse. The secret is the identity of the Anti-Christ. The movie provides legitimate options, but when one of the characters is named “Angel,” well…

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Holocaust 2000 was directed by Alberto De Martino, who was not as prolific as other Italian directors pumping out spaghetti westerns, sword and sandal films, gialli, and horror movies in the 1960s and 1970s. However, he made a couple genre films which I’ve just added to my Watchlist: The Antichrist (1974) and The Pumaman (1980.) Yeah, the latter carries only a 2.2 rating on IMBb, but Holocaust 2000 carries only a 5.4, and I certainly don’t agree with that one.

 

Written by Sergio Donati and Albert De Martino and Michael Robson

Directed by Alberto De Martino

Starring Kirk Douglas, Simon Ward, Agostina Belli, Anthony Quayle, Alexander Knox

RT 102 min.

Released Nov. 25, 1977 (Italy), Sept. 13, 1978 (U.S.)

Home Video Blu-ray (Shout! Factory)

Rating 7 possessed children (out of 10)


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