(director: John Llewellyn Moxey; screenwriter: Lewis John Carlino/from a story by Lewis John Carlino; cinematographer: Michael D. Margulies; editor: John A. Martinelli; music: Robert Prince; cast: Peter Graves (Steven Anders), Kathleen Quinlan (Deborah Anders), George O’Hanlon (David Anders), Verna Bloom (Jenny), Michael-James Wixted (Michael), Noble Willingham (Jim Clancy), Doug Chapin (Tom Clancy), J. W. MacIntosh (Barbara Anders), Dan Barrows (Man with Gun), Ken Sansom (Jack McFadden); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Gerald I. Isenberg; NBC; 1974)

“The best thing about this 1970s made for television sci-fi film is the title.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The best thing about this 1970s made for television sci-fi film is the title and the only good thing about that is that it’s strangely long. John Llewellyn Moxey (“No Place to Hide”/”Who Murdered Joy Morgan?”/”Panic in Echo Park”) draws no tension or credibility or much that’s imaginative. The only thing weaker than the direction is Lewis John Carlino’s inert screenplay.

An eerie series of solar flares proves fatal for the Earthlings, except for the fortunate few who are immune from the effects because of a special gene. The professorial Steven Anders (Peter Graves) is on a camping holiday in the mountains of Rainbow, California with his physics student son David (George O’Hanlon) and younger daughter Deborah (Kathleen Quinlan); his scientist wife (J. W. MacIntosh) just left to return home to Malibu. While exploring a cave with his daughter and son the explosion occurs and the trio return to the camping site to find their guide Tom Clancy (Doug Chapin) dying. In town, they find it empty except for a startled married woman clutching a doll. When the survivors siphon off gas for their Volkswagen bus for their trip back home to see if the matriarch is still alive, they take along the woman and she eventually snaps out of her zombie posture to tell them her name is Jenny (Verna Bloom) and her children were killed in front of her by a pack of rabid dogs. After having their car stolen by a man with a gun, picking up a young farm boy (Michael-James Wixted) whose parents were murdered by car thieves, facing off rabid dogs, and arriving in Malibu to find the matriarch dead–the survivors decide it’s worth trying to survive in the destroyed world and trek to northern California for a new lease on life. Sounds like a good plan to me, but the pic thrilled me about as much as sitting through a power outage.

Where Have All the People Gone Poster