The year is 1978 and most of mankind has been wiped out by germ warfare. Charlton Heston is a research scientist who develops a serum to make himself immune to the virus, leaving him with a lot of free time to tool around deserted downtown Los Angeles in his sportscar, search for food, and talk to himself. Whenever he gets bored he goes and watches the only movie in town, Woodstock, which he has memorized completely. (Did I mention this is Charlton Heston? Staunch Republican, Moses? I did? Okay).
So, he memorizes Woodstock during the day (Charlton Heston?), and at night he retires to his swinging bachelor pad/fortress where he talks to himself some more and fights off the evil horde of albino vampires that are trying to kill him. The albino vampires are druidish mutants who have developed a Holy Order that rejects all materialism. Charlton exercises his Fourth Amendment right and uses them for target practice. Now that’s the Charlton Heston we’ve come to expect!
Pretty soon he meets up with a gang of young revolutionaries who haven’t yet mutated. Eventually Charlton hits on the idea of using the anti-bodies in his blood to create serum for everyone. He dies in a battle with the albino vampires but not before making enough serum for all the revolutionaries who head off to start a new America. That’s just a summary, of course. There’s plenty of ass-kickin' interspersed throughout but that’s the gist of it.
Omega Man is a great movie as well as a great time-saver since once you watch it you never have to see another Charlton Heston flick ever. It’s the consummate Charlton Heston film.
It’s a biblical epic like Ben Hur, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and The Ten Commandments with Heston as a Christ figure. Early on he’s told to "get crucified" and put his out-stretched hands up against the wall. Dutch, one of the revolutionaries, talks about starting the human race over in a Garden of Eden ("and this time we ain’t listenin' to no friggin' snake!"). And when he dies he slumps over with his arms outstretched, knees bent, and feet together. It’s a little more than obvious what director, Boris Sagal had in mind.
Omega Man is also a disaster flick like Earthquake, and Airport '75 that goes one step further by killing off practically everybody on the planet. Also, instead of weepy Karen Blacks and singing nuns around, Heston opts for all the booze he can drink and groovy machine guns. Finally, he gets to enjoy the apocalypse.
Omega Man is a sci-fi squankfest, i.e., Charlton may be hunted by blood-thirsty futuristic bad guys, but he still gets the chicks. What guy hasn’t thought about how Bright Eyes whiled away the hours in his cage with Nova in Planet of the Apes? He scored again in Soylent Green with an Ali McGraw look-a-like who sort of "came with the house" in a Handmaid's Tale-esque relationship. He gets the girl (and guilt-free sex) in Omega Man, but here we can segue into another Charlton genre: Risky Career Moves.
Under this heading we can put Touch of Evil in which he tried to pass as a Mexican and hired the unhireable Orson Welles to direct; stupid big budget foreign movies like Solar Crisis; anything with Edward G. Robinson as a biblical figure; and Omega Man. For you see, this time his love interest is African-American. The late Rosalind Cash plays Lisa, one of the revolutionary kids Charlton hooks up and with whom he eventually falls in love.
Despite all the discussion of interracial romances in Love Field and Jungle Fever, no mention is ever made of Omega Man. Why not? Unlike Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, Cash is not a "safe" African-American woman that white audiences might accept with a big name star like Heston. Cash’s character is cut from a more Afro-centric/Pam Grier mold. When Heston says the albino vampires "got spooked," our woman from Harlem reels on him, saying, "watch your mouth!"
The question is; why did Sagal introduce an inter-racial romance? Because of it, Omega Man probably wasn’t shown in the Southern market, financial suicide for sci-fi/drive-in fodders like this. It is not an integral part of the story. No one makes mention of their race. Possibly the biggest question here is why here, in a movie about albino vampires, did Hollywood grow some balls and make a movie where a white guy and a Black woman could sleep together and no one (except, apparently, me) makes a big deal about it? It’s just another cool reason to see The Omega Man, as if albino vampire ass-kicking and watching Heston reciting Country Joe dialogue isn’t enough!