Chosen Survivors (1974) Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review



An entertaining movie which has been well remastered on Blu-ray.

Plot: A group of diverse individuals are suddenly taken from their homes and flown via helicopter to a futuristic bomb shelter in the desert, one-third of a mile below the surface of the Earth. There, they learn that a nuclear holocaust is taking place and that they’ve been “chosen” by computer to survive in the shelter in order to continue the human race. The shelter is designed to allow the people to exist underground comfortably for years, but they are faced with a threat nobody could have predicted: a colony of thousands of bloodthirsty vampire bats finds a way into the shelter and launches a series of vicious attacks where they claim the humans one by one.

Review: Right before global thermonuclear war occurs, 11 men and women are taken to a remote outpost in New Mexico and shoved into an elevator where they descend 1,758 feet into the ground and there they watch the world go to war on big T.V. screens. Disoriented and instantly depressed and angry, they are told by an automated voice that 168 people throughout the United States were specially chosen for their talents and abilities to remain alive and repopulate the Earth after years of waiting and keeping fit in shelters just like theirs. One of the first things they hear from the voice is “Good morning, Chosen Survivors. Good morning to the first day of the New World.” In a few days, they encounter a predator: blood-sucking bats. Since the shelter is so far underground, there are bats living in the caves nearby and somehow they get into the shelter and prove themselves to be a resilient force in their midst. In less than a week, all but 5 of the characters have been killed by the bats (not even mutant ones!), and they all find out that the nuclear war was made up by the government and that the whole scenario was a test.

Chosen Survivors is a silly movie, but it works. It has such a serious tone that it’s bound to make you laugh at some point, but if you like subterranean / bomb shelter apocalypse films, then this should please you on some level. For the most part, the characters are stock-archetypes (an athlete, a scientist, a drunk and bigot, a beauty, a neurotic) and they say stupid lines drawn from the monster movies of the 1950’s, but it does work. It’s about as believable as the Italian exploitationer Rats: Night of Terror is. Take that as you will. With Jackie Cooper as the bigot (who survives!) and Richard Jaeckel. Directed by Sutton Roley. Surprisingly, it’s rated PG, but I would’ve given it an R.

Kino Lorber is about to unleash Chosen Survivors on beautiful Blu-ray in a new high definition transfer, and it’s a noted upgrade from the old MGM/Fox double feature disc (it was paired with The Earth Dies Screaming, which incidentally is getting a concurrent Blu-ray upgrade from Kino) from more than a decade ago. Kino’s release comes with an audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith, and a trailer gallery. This is a fun release just in time for the spooky season.