Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 22nd, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1986
Director: Rene Daalder
Writer: Rene Daalder
Cast: Tomata Du Plenty, Sheela Edwards, Vampira, Beck, Penelope Huston, El Duce, Al Hansen, Carel Struycken, KK Barrett, Tommy Gear, Steve Hufsteter, Steve Berlin
DVD released: October 28th, 2008
Approximate running time: 61 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
The origins of Population: 1 can be traced by to purposed film that was to feature the Punk rock band The Sex Pistols. Conflicts with the film’s director Russ Meyer and the eventual melt down of The Sex Pistols brought an end to this project.
A year later Rene Daalder (Massacre at Central High) would find his muse after being introduced Tomata Du Plenty the lead singer of The Screamers. Their first feature film collaboration Mensch would quickly find itself in trouble when the financiers would pull the plug 1/3 of the way through the film. Down but not out Rene Daalder would take the footage from the aborted Mensch and concert footage with The Screamers and use it as the starting point for what would ultimately become Population: 1.
The plot for Population: 1 revolves around the last man on earth who creates his own revisionist history of America. The film does a superb job moving the plot forward with its inventive musical numbers. Visually director Rene Daalder creates a world that is utterly convincing. The main reason why Population: 1 works as well as it does is because of Tomata Du Plenty’s inspired performance. In a minor role is musician Beck playing the accordion! The film’s musical numbers are its greatest strengths. The score brilliantly fuses image with sound. Ultimately Population: 1 is a satisfying mix sight, sound and satire that hasn’t lost any of its impact over the years.
Cult Epics presents Population: 1 in its original 1:33:1 aspect ratio. Overall considering the limitations of the source materials the transfer looks very good with nicely saturated colors and details looks reasonably sharp throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The musical numbers fare best in the mix as they all come off sounding robust. Even though the dialog sounds a tad too thin at times it is more than serviceable and gets the job done.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs. Extras on disc one includes the original and re-release trailer for Population: 1 and behind the scenes stills gallery. Other extras include four audio tracks of songs from the film, a live performance clip of The Screamers performing at the Whiskey a Go Go in 1979, a trailer for Palace of Variety and six minutes of footage from Mensch the unfinished prequel to Population: 1.
Extras on disc two include a music video for Penelope Houston’s Girls, six minutes of outtakes from an interview conducted with Vampira, a ten minute preview for a documentary about Al Hansen and the releases most unusual extra a seven minute segment titled Tomata Du Plenty Tribute. Also included with this release is forty minute performance with The Screamers live at the Whiskey a Go Go in 1979. Other extras include a twenty six minute documentary titled Je Maintiendrai in Hollywood. This spoof documentary follows director Rene Daalder as he prepares for his first big budget Hollywood film. The main extra on disc two is a thirty five minute interview with Rene Daalder who talks in depth about Massacre at Central High, Population: 1, Tomata Du Plenty and The Screamers and Mensch. Rounding out the extras is a four page booklet that gives a thorough overview about the origins and the making of Population: 1.
All around Cult Epics have assembled a variety of interesting and informative extras with the standout of the lot being the interview with director Rene Daalder. Overall Population: 1 gets a definitive release from Cult Epics that leaves no stone unturned.