Thursday, May 27, 2010

Prepare: SHTF Movie Villians - Seargent Jody "Earthquake"

Nobody likes a good end of the world movie more than me. But too many of the heroes tasked with saving the world are cardboard characters. The villians, on the otherhand,  in SHTF movies are usually so far over the top they make an otherwise cheesy movie that much more enjoyable.

"Earthquake!" released in 1974, was the masterpiece of disaster movie mogul Irwin Allen (with a screenplay partially written by Godfather author Mario Puzo!). It starred heavy hitter actors Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and Lorne Green among others.

An ensemble cast, the plot centers on different people's individual stories after a killer earthquake hits 70's Los Angeles. People are stuck in highrises, flooding ditches, underneath downed powerlines and even in aircraft circling devasted LAX airport flying on fumes looking for a place to land.

Our villian of the day, Seargent Jody, is a California National Guardsman sent with his unit into post-earthquake LA to maintain order and prevent looting. But his story goes further than that.

In his dayjob, weekend warrior Jody is a miserable employee at a supermarket where he has a stalking, peeping Tom, perverted crush on shopper Rosa. When the possibility of an earthquake looms, Jody is activated for duty, however, first he has to deal with the trio of bullies in his apartment building who pick on him at each chance. Jody will deal with them later in the film natuarally.

In the aftermath of the quake, Jody arrives with his men for patrol duty. As they arrest looters, Rosa is discovered among a group of suspected thieves. Jody has her turned over to his custody where he hides her away in a damaged building with no intention of letting her go.

Eventually, Rosa is rescued and Jody put to his demise by tough, but lovable cop, Lew Slade (George Kennedy), but not before uttering some of the best villian lines of the film.

A few choice selections:

Rosa: I'm so scared. I am worried about my brother, he must be looking for me.
Jody: Aw forget about him! He's probably dead. Besides you have me to take care of you now.

Jody: So, found some looters with jewelry, huh? What else did you take? Some dresses? What are you? F***ots?
Bully/Looter: Come on Jody. We were just kidding. Let us go.
Jody: (Laughs). Sure go on, I was just having fun.
Jody: (Automatic fire, shoots bullies in back while they run) All looters are to be shot on sight!

Jody: As soon as this is over I am going to open a karate studio. I've been saving up.  There's big money in karate!

Jody: (To Officer Slade and Heston) This area's under quarrantine! Go away, go around somewhere else!

Interestingly enough, the role of Jody (we never hear his last name) was played by actor Marjoe Gortner. An evangelist before going into acting, Gortner was the subject of an award winning 1972 documentary about his ministry. Gortner also produced an album of his own music (where he sang and played most of the instruments) and starred in several other movies.

But for our purposes, he will be forever known as Seargent Jody, a post-apocalyptic villian extraordinaire.

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