Holocaust 2000 aka The Chosen – Italy/UK, 1977

Holocaust 2000 – aka The Chosen and Rain of Fire – is a 1977 Italian-British supernatural horror feature film directed by Alberto De Martino (Formula for a Murder; Blood LinkThe Antichrist; Horror) from a screenplay co-written with Sergio Donati and Michael Robson. The Aston Film-Embassy Productions S.p.A. movie stars Kirk Douglas, Simon Ward, Agostina Belli and Anthony Quayle.

Scream Factory is releasing the film – as The Chosen – on Blu-ray on May 14, 2019. It will feature the longer, 120 minute international version the film.

Plot:

Despite doomsday warnings from throngs of locals, wealthy industrialist Robert Caine (Kirk Douglas) makes the controversial decision to build a nuclear power plant near a sacred cave in the Middle East.

However, before Caine can reap the benefits of his latest bid for global domination, he discovers that his son, Angel (Simon Ward), is the Antichrist, who is planning to use his father’s project to trigger the end of the world…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

” …best moment is a nightmare sequence in which Douglas hallucinates the nuclear plant he is working on rising from the sea and transforming into a multi-headed hydra. In short, The Chosen might be a knockoff but it’s a knockoff of the best kind — one with energy, style and a few bizarre ideas of its own.” Donald Guarisco, All Movie

” …even though The Omen comes to mind, Holocaust 2000 will still end up feeling quite different. The extended nightmare scene of a naked and helpless Caine on some kind of island of salt with some fun blue screen work of something big coming out of the sea shouldn’t be missed…” Giovanni Susina, At the Mansion of Madness

” …the wildest farrago yet to have come out of the demonology genre […] the religious allegory adds little weight to the confusion of the plot.” BFI Monthly Film Bulletin

Holocaust 2000 is definitely an interesting film, while not totally successful. A major plot twist can be seen coming a mile off, and the ending makes little sense. It’s one of those horror movie endings where the characters are sorted out, but the plot is left hanging.” Black Hole

” …there are few films more rip-roaringly insane than Holocaust 2000, a blatant attempt to cash in on The Omen, but with unintentional comedy, more blood and less horror. You know you’re onto a winner with any film that can be summed up like that…” British Horror Films

“A fine international cast struggles with a muddled screenplay.” John Stanley, Creature Features, Berkley Boulevard, 2000

“Given its obvious pedigree and its almost total lack of surprises in the story, I still found this one a decent watch; in particular, I liked the moment where he discovers how the seven-headed demon of legend manifests itself in real life.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” …in the great tradition of Italian exploitation, De Martino jumps straight into the apocalypse without worrying about things like narrative cohesion and the end result is an enjoyably chaotic film that rarely makes sense but is never boring.” Lisa Marie Bowman, Horror Critic

” …despite the mask of religious pretensions, an exploitation film. Here is where it is at its most entertaining, with a lively series of Omen-esque deaths, the best of these being a beheading by helicopter blade. In an amazing dream sequence, the nuclear power plant, seen rising from the ocean, turns into a vision of the ten-headed Beast from the Book of Revelations.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“There’s not denial that Holocaust 2000 is exploitation, but it’s a fact that it’s a damn fine production – with what looks like a decent budget and an all-star cast. Kirk Douglas is all over the place, but in a good way. He gives everything he’s got to deliver an awesome performance.” Fred Anderson, Schmollywood Babylon

“The film moves at a good pace, with enough mystery and a few bloody deaths, most notably a beheading by a helicopter. Especially those parts of the film about Caine trying to end Sara’s pregnancy are atmospheric and convey a genuine sense of fear and paranoia.” So Sweet… So Perverse

“Alternately more subtle than The Omen…yet with sudden bursts of violence more shocking than anything in Donner’s original […] Beautifully conceived by de Martino and with a memorably stirring score by Ennio Morricone.” The Terror Trap

Holocaust 2000 bears most of the worst traces of international co-production, notably a sense of disunity between cast and direction, some poor dubbing, and lines of dialogue that sound just like subtitles (‘Your mother used to blame you subconsciously for being the only one to survive’).” Time Out London

Choice dialogue:

“Stop talking like a ridiculous prophet of the Apocalypse!”

Cast and characters:

  • Kirk Douglas … Robert Caine
  • Simon Ward … Angel
  • Agostina Belli … Sara Golan
  • Anthony Quayle … Griffith
  • Alexander Knox … Meyer
  • Virginia McKenna … Eva Caine
  • Spyros Fokas … Harbin (as Spiros Focas)
  • Ivo Garrani … Prime Minister
  • Massimo Foschi … Young Arab
  • Romolo Valli … Charrier
  • John Carlin … Robertson
  • Peter Cellier … Sheckley
  • Gerard Hely … Clarke
  • Penelope Horner … Caine’s Secretary
  • Caroline Langrishe … Girlfriend (as Caroline Horner)
  • Jenny Twigge … Air Hostess
  • Richard Cornish … First Journalist
  • Denis Lawson … Second Journalist
  • John Bancroft … Third Journalist
  • Joanne Dainton … Nurse
  • Geoffrey Keen … Gynecologist
  • Allan Hendrick … Fanatical Demonstrator
  • Adolfo Celi … Dr. Kerouac
  • Domenico Di Costanzo … Asylum patient
  • Omero Capanna … Asylum Orderly (uncredited)
  • Tony Clarkin … Leader of protesters Megaphone Man (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Bigbury-on-Sea, Devon, England
Palatino Studios, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Twickenham Film Studios, St Margarets, Twickenham, Middlesex, England

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