Wednesday, February 07, 2007


In 1977 television producer Quinn Martin created a pilot for a TV series called 'Code Name: Diamond Head'. It was not picked up by any of the American television networks, possibly because the network executives had seen it, and then promptly died of boredom. Frankly, in a list of the most reviled pilots in history, it would have to rank somewhere between Kiyoshi Ogawa and Mohamed Atta.

Thanks to an iron constitution, a firm will, more than two decades of bad movie desensitisation and the guiding hand of MST3K, I have seen this pilot in its awful, awful entirety. And yet I couldn’t tell you what it was about. Nobody can. It seems to exist in a sort of self-negating limbo, in which it can exist and yet have absolutely no defining characteristics. As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult to review.

A creative and lateral solution was needed. So I decided to review the movie’s poster instead. What does the poster tell us about the movie? Well, more than the movie told us about the movie! Hooray!

Let’s start with the title. Note the font. It says future! It says computers! It says dated within five years of release! This movie must have had a strong technological component, even though the most advanced piece of technology in this picture appears to be some guy’s polyester windbreaker.

On to the most important part of any movie poster: the tagline. “One man stands between the release of a deadly gas… and the fate of the world.”

Ahem. I’m sure we’ve all been that man at some point… usually after eating chilli.

Possibly, just possibly, this is the most hilariously inept tagline in the history of cinema. Even if we play along and studiously ignore the scatological double entendre, it still doesn’t make any sense. Logically the fate of the world must occur whether the deadly gas is released or not. A more sensible tagline would read, “One man stands between the release of a deadly gas… and the non-release of a deadly gas.”

I really wish tagline writers would think these things through.

Moving on to the images themselves, we can discern that 'Code Name: Diamond Head' starred Roy Thinnes, presumably as the titular hero, since his picture is bigger than everyone else’s. He is shown here apparently trying to shoot down a Concorde with a revolver. In a brave piece of casting, he has been given the lead role despite the fact that he has no legs.

It also apparently starred Ian McShane as some sort of army guy who makes a phone call. We do not know who is on the other end of the phone. Judging by the expression on his face, it may be the Emergency Incontinence Hotline. He too has no legs.

Then there’s France Nuyen as a woman in a bathing suit, being menaced by someone… possibly Huggy Bear, to judge from the oversized hairdo. As the only person with legs in this movie, she will have to do most of the running around. True, she doesn’t appear to have feet, but in the kingdom of the blind, as they say, the one eyed man is king.

There is also a yacht, a mountain, a lot of water and at least one palm tree. None of them have legs either. After all, if they did, they would have run away. Anything to avoid being in this horrible, hideous, mind-defiling wreck of a movie.


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