Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Ray Milland both starred in and directed the morose, minimalist sci-fier Panic in the Year Zero! (original title: Panic in Year Zero!). En route from Los Angeles to a vacation in the mountains, Harry Baldwin (Milland), his wife, Ann (Jean Hagen), and his teen-aged children, Rick (Frankie Avalon) and Karen (Mary Mitchell), are appalled to see a mushroom cloud forming over the L.A. skyline. With the highways clogged by panicking motorists, Milland and his family decide to head to the shelter of their fishing spot, there to wait until more news about the nuclear disaster is available. Everywhere they drive, however, the family is confronted by rampaging looters, heavily armed survivalists, and doped-up motorcycle punks. Attempting to remain calm and collected in the face of Armageddon, Milland ends up as violent and animalistic as everyone else. Though it avoids proselytizing for the most part, Panic in the Year Zero! does fall back on the old reliable "The Beginning" fadeout title. The most powerful aspect of the film is the "normalcy" of Milland's family: we are made to feel throughout that what happens to them could very well happen to us, and how then would we react?
Armageddon, family, nuclear-holocaust, survivor, vacation, bomb