The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THIS IS NOT A TEST (1962) ** ½

A group of disparate strangers (including a womanizing truck driver, a beatnik, a serial killer, an old coot, and a cuckolded husband and his cold as ice wife) encounter a police roadblock on a mountain road just hours before a nuclear attack on America.  The marble-mouthed copper (the awesomely named Seamon Glass) lets his authority go to his head and pretty soon he starts bossing everyone around.  His big plan to survive the impending attack is to hide in the back of the trucker’s 18 wheel rig, but it quickly goes down the tubes once a band of mischievous looters show up. 


This is Not a Test is a bleak look at the end of the world (at least for a flick from the early 60’s) and would probably make a good double feature with Invasion, USA.  (The 1952 version, not the one with Chuck Norris.)  The opening scenes are filled with a lot of substandard soap opera theatrics, but thankfully the flick gets better as it goes along.  It’s worth sitting through all the pointless bickering and inane melodrama to get to the hopelessly downbeat ending, one that you are unlikely to forget any time soon.  


That said; the film is filled with a lot of missed opportunities.  Chief among them was the fact that very little was done with the serial killer that was in the survivalists’ midst; and the scenes involving the killer himself weren’t handled very well either.  Director Fredric Gadette may have dropped the ball when it came to the fidgety killer, but I at least have to give him credit for sticking to his guns and having the guts to film one heck of a depressing ending. 


The cranky beatnik gets the best line of the movie when he chides another survivor:  “You must be out of your nut!”

Tags: drama, t
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