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Dick Van Dyke,
An investigative reporter stumbles onto an artist that has made a pact to come back after his death to sculpt a statue of a demon using human blood and clay. Once the demon is awakened he will be granted immortality.
A U.S. Senator is spirited away to a secret New Mexico medical lab after a serious car crash. His injuries are completely healed by a secret organization that has developed advanced medical technology. What does the organization want in exchange for saving his life? Meanwhile, a reporter who witnessed the accident decides to investigate the senator's disappearance.Written by
To me, at least, "The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler" belongs to a very selected group of 70s cult/science fiction movies. They are criminally obscure and practically forgotten, presumably due to the low-budget production values and lack of action and/or special effects, but at the same time they are unbelievably intelligent and downright terrifying due to the ahead-of-its-time themes and story lines. This film pretty much gave me the same overwhelming effect as when I first watched the 1979 gem "Parts: The Clonus Horror". Not coincidentally both films are very similar, dealing with early types of cloning methods, conspiracies to protect the elite classes and massive media cover-ups. Both titles are original, tense, disturbing and fascinating, but also inexplicably underrated. Oh, and they have something else in common: Michael Bay stole the innovative ideas of both films for his own fake Sci-Fi box office hit "The Island"!
The film predates Leslie Nielsen's typecasting period, which began with "Police Squad" and lasted for the rest of his life, so you might have to make a mental switch to take him serious as the stubborn but persistent research journalist. He, Harry Walsh, arrives at the scene of a tragic car accident and identifies a near-fatally injured victim as the young & upcoming senator Zachary Wheeler. Later in the hospital, however, all the staff denies that Wheeler got admitted and Walsh is rudely thrown off the premises. Despite pressure from his chief editor and government spokespersons, Walsh refuses to publicly recall his earlier reporting and gets fired. He privately continues to look for answers, though, and traces down Wheeler to a remote New Mexican medical facility where, in all secrecy, the upmost amazing scientific breakthroughs are being realized. Meanwhile, the recovering senator Wheeler also discovers the truth behind his miraculous rescue, and he's not as pleased as you'd think.
I deeply and humbly bow my head to the writers of progressive Sci-Fi like this! Can you believe this plot is nearly 50 years old? The plot already dealing with clones before the term "clones" was even properly integrated. They are referred to as "Somas" instead. Topics like stem cell treatment nowadays still lead to heavy moral discussion, but it featured here first. Moreover, "The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler" is also a very competent action/thriller effort! Walsh's cat-and-mouse games with a duo of pursuing goons are amusing and certain sequences inside the facility definitely hold a shock-effect in store. Excellent performances from Bradford Dillman and Angie Dickinson as well. The utterly abrupt non-ending initially feels frustrating, but it also underlines the soberness, realism and intellect of the script. Rich, influential and powerful people always win.
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