Charlton Heston died, and not of a gun shot. Too bad – I would have appreciated irony. Life just doesn’t work that way I guess. I can’t say I was a fan of Heston’s, but he did make two movies that influenced me greatly: Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green.

I first watched Planet when I was a young guy – Maybe 12 or so? It was on TV one late night, and I had of course heard what it was about. The dirty apes were impressively done – this was before CGI was invented, of course – even if the premise of a simian takeover was, well, a bit silly. The end is classic, and the overall post-apocalyptic feel was pretty good. If you cannot appreciate the famous Statue of Liberty moment, then you have no sense for art.

Soylent Green is probably lesser known among regular folks, and it’s far more disturbing than a world in which mankind annihilated itself in nuclear Armageddon. In Soylent, mankind has turned Earth into a good approximation of hell simply by reckless pollution and unchecked population growth. A very dystopian view of our future, and a very nasty revelation at the end make Soylent Green quite chilling.

Did I grew up an outsider because I watched such weird movies, or did I watch weird movies because I was an outsider? Who knows. I am pretty sure few of my High School classmates ever even watched Soylent Green. Even if they did, most probably didn’t take anything from the movie. Kind of like when our English teacher made us read 1984. I doubt anybody in my English class got the point of the novel. For them it was another annoying assignment. Most of them were married by the time we had our first class reunion.