The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler (1971)

G   |    |  Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller


The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler (1971) Poster

A reporter uncovers an amazing medical plot.


5.5/10
216

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25 January 2010 | Chase_Witherspoon
7
| Conehead Clones
A senator (Dillman) is near-fatally injured in a car wreck witnessed only by intrepid reporter (Nielsen) whose eyewitness account is gagged for national security purposes. Discontent with the ruse, Nielsen investigates and ends up discovering an elaborate human organ harvesting clinic that potentially holds the key to mankind's survival - but only a select few. Science Fiction/pseudo political thriller chooses to focus on the moral dilemmas of its cause, resorting to limp-wristed protection of its diabolical secrets, when opposition threaten to reveal the project's secrets.

Small in scale, and more akin to the production values of a telemovie than a fully fledged feature film, there are however some assets in the cast and one or two plot twists to which you can look forward. Dillman as the title character spends most of his time comatose and then in a wheelchair debating scientific heresy, while Dickinson looks more like a space cadet than the dedicated doctor, who believes her work is of national significance. Nielsen is essentially the central character, a tenacious reporter not content to digest the force-fed facts without due interrogation. He spends most of the film, piecing together evidence that eventually leads him to the mysterious clinic in New Mexico. Noted stage actor Daly is also quite effective as the clinic's principal surgeon; his attempt to rationalise the existence of the coneheaded clones (called Somas) lies more in the field of fantasy than it does in any serious debate on human cloning.

Well scripted, with okay special effects, concerned mostly of pale-faced make-up on stupefied faces - the Dillman zoo experiment is unintentionally funny, his 'full retard' no doubt perfected by hours of rehearsals and takes. Dressed in monk-like garb with coneheaded frontal lobe projection, the Somas are also quite inspired imagery; more emphasis on their existence might have balanced the argument better, but their brief inclusion is still an alarming visual demonstration of the human harvesting process depicted in the film. Despite its 100 minutes, there's ample action, characterisation and plot development; had the climax resolved more satisfactorily, the film might have become a minor cult favourite, ahead of its time in terms of content. As it is, a worthy sci-fi companion, and perhaps no longer such a distant prospect.

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Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

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