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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fukushima Blues: Still Totally Lost on the Human Highway

"When Love and Fate Collide"
Human Highway - Directors Bernard Shakey & Dean Stockwell (1982)

Back in Spring 2011, we posted on the unfolding nuclear calamity in Japan and the ensuing meltdown.

Since then, the Fukushima nuclear crisis has only gotten worse, and "powerful technologies are out of control and are threatening the future of all life."

On a more mundane note, we've learned that a "director's cut" of Neil Young's film Human Highway has been under consideration for a possible future release.

But here's why we're posting this now -- there has to be a better way to produce energy. And we need to get on with it.

The 1982 film Human Highway by Neil Young portrays the Earth's last day following a nuclear holocaust. Original movie posters referred to it as a "nuclear comedy" and filming began soon after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident and continued over four years with Young spending $3,000,000 of his own money on production (source).

The film is considered a cult classic somewhat similar to the legendary Journey Through the Past and has been described as "if David Lynch directed "The Wizard of Oz on acid." (If you're lucky, you might find a used copy of Human Highway on Amazon.)

"It's so bad, it's going to be huge" proudly declared the poster .

Human Highway Trailer

From Amazon review by Tom Keogh:
Neil Young's 1982 comic mess of a feature left many faithful fans baffled and was otherwise unappreciated at the time of its release. But with the benefit of hindsight and shifts in pop culture in the last couple of decades, much of Human Highway now feels warm and funny where it once looked disastrously undisciplined.

DEVO Gets Nuked

The plot revolves around a small gas station-diner in a fictional town next to a nuclear power plant. A choreographed musical dream sequence takes place as the nuclear blast occurs. At the destroyed gas station-diner post nuclear holocaust Booji Boy (DEVO's Mark Mothersbaugh) is a lone survivor.

At the nuclear power plant, trash collectors (members of DEVO) reveal that radioactive waste is routinely mishandled and dumped at the nearby town of Linear Valley. They sing a remake of "Worried Man Blues" while loading waste barrels on an old truck. There's a leak at the power plant and "Barrel go boom," as the power plant worker so succinctly puts it. A character's (Otto) recent death is by radiation poisoning.

DEVO and Neil Young

A noted sequence in the film features the band DEVO (named after "de-evolution") and a bizarre rendition of "Hey, Hey, My, My". In a particularly ironic manner, DEVO covers Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In the Wind" just before Booji Boy says:
I don't know what's going on in the world these days.

It seems that everybody's just got everything turned around.

People don't seem to care about their fellow man. They're all going for that big ice-cream cone in the sky! They haven't figured out what happens when your eyes get bigger then your belly. Like an ostrich who eats his pizza with his head stuck in the sand. If they can't see it, it isn't there.

And you know, it really *does* take a worried man!

Neil Young and Dennis Hopper
On the set of Human Highway, 1st July 1978 (c) Caterine MILLENNIUM

More on Neil Young Films.

Also, see Human Highway on Amazon.

Neil Young as "Lionel"
I come down from the misty mountain
I got lost on the human highway
Take my head refreshing fountain
Take my eyes from what they've seen.
Take my head and change my mind
How could people get so unkind?

~~Neil Young

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At 11/14/2013 09:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love to see a directors cut. I think the whole film copied from an old vhs is somewhere on you tube. Its not great quality reproduction but a good fun film.

I am not holding my breath for a directors cut though. I think its lost in the vaults with that 80's tour documentary 'Rusted Garage'??, 'Weld' (please give us a Blu ray release), 'Freedom' (Again, full length concert on blu ray would be mouth watering) and lets not forget......Trunk Show.
I would like to see some of the old film catalogue rereleased on Blu Ray.

At 11/14/2013 10:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

should be re-relased on the Criterion collection.

mitch from brooklyna

At 11/19/2013 06:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The picture is not Fukushima as captioned - it's the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara, Chiba. Located across Tokyo Bay from Tokyo itself.

At 11/19/2013 10:01:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Anon for correction. Updated. The sourced photo was labeled Fukushima.


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