Science fiction fans might be familiar with the title In the Year 2889 because it’s the name of one of Jules Vernes’ lesser-known stories of the fantastic, but the creative work reviewed here that shares the same name is nothing more than a hokey TV movie about a motley cast of characters that survive a nuclear war.
We quickly know what we’re in for with this 1969 production when it opens with stock footage of nuclear mushroom clouds. Viewers are soon introduced to an old man and his sexy daughter who live in their remote, but somewhat palatial, home in some remote area beyond the city. I don’t remember if it’s ever stated where they are, but I think it’s some mountain retreat in California far enough from Los Angeles that they’d be safe from A-bomb fallout.
When all communications die, dad quickly knows what’s going on, but fortunately, he’s a prepper and has months of provisions stored for he and his daughter and her fiancé, who is currently missing as the story begins.
Unfortunately for this duo, they don’t stay lonely for long as a guy and his radioactive brother soon stumble in as does some other guy with a gun and his sexy girlfriend who force their way into the house. The cast of characters is complete when a nearby rancher shows up and moves in.
Dad, who is ex-military, natch, takes command and theorizes that they may be the last six people living on Earth and therefore would be responsible for populating the next generation of mankind. He also explains why they are all still alive. The house was intentionally built in a valley surrounded by lead-lined cliffs in order to survive a nuclear attack.
Paul Petersen, a former child actor, plays the father character as a no-nonsense TV dad who doesn’t take guff from any of the scruffy hippie n’er-do-wells that have showed up on his doorstep. When he tries to explain to his daughter, played by Quinn O’Hara who you may recall from her turn in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, that they may have to make tough decisions, to survive. She replies “We can’t become animals. We’re human and we have to act like it.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of. We’re all human,” he concludes.
As the convoluted inter-personal sub-plots unroll, the guy who appeared at their doorstep who was radioactive has a hankering for raw meat and starts hunting little creatures in the nearby woods for their flesh.
Dad remembers witnessing nuke tests from his time in the navy and points out that scientists have never really figured out the effects of the atom. Conclusion? Meat-eating guy is a dangerous freak that should be destroyed.
Speaking of mutants, a hideous deformed creature is stalking our survivors, including the girls who get to see in long scenes of them relaxing by the pool in their well-stuffed bikinis.
It’s about this time in the story that the young couples start coupling and decoupling as boy 1 and girl 1 start liking each other while boy 2 eyes girl 1 and the rancher sets his sights on girl 2. Dad is worried about mutants and thinks the women should be having babies as soon as possible to avoid freakish babies. And don’t worry, he was a captain in the navy, so he has the power to marry everybody so the babies aren’t bastards.
I won’t spoil the rest of the plot for you, because I don’t even know if I was able to follow it sufficiently. You’ll figure out who the mutant was long before he’s revealed and will probably lose interest by the time the credits roll in which we get to see one of the couples holding hands (and wearing wedding rings). And, of course, the credits say “the beginning” instead of “the end” which is I think is de rigeur for any story about survivors of a nuclear apocalypse.
Want to watch In the Year 2889 yourself, check it out here: