End of Days Films: How Charlton Heston Cornered the Market

Charlton ‘Chuck’ Heston (real name John Charles Carter) wasn’t the greatest of actors, but could be surprisingly serviceable in decent roles. Aside from his early penchant for starring in some rather tedious Biblical epics*, Chuck carved out a quite niche for himself in an unofficial sextet of Apocalyptic movies. Septet if you include Tim Burton’s lousy POTA remake (2001) where he made a brief appearance.


First up, the most famous of them all is PLANET OF THE APES (1968) where Charlton rocks up on Earth in the year 3978 AD, thinking that it’s another planet outside of our solar system that’s strangely ruled by intelligent apes. But who just happen to speak English!  – come on Heston, why didn’t you figure it out earlier?


Planet of the apes ...You did it... God Dam you all to Hell Charlton Heston


Then there was his much maligned sequel BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970) where Chuck returned only on the proviso that he could blow up that world.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes IT'S DOOM DAY...THE END OF THE WORLD....HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!


Then there’s his THE OMEGA MAN (1971), the second adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 sci-fi novel I Am Legend. The first film adaptation was The Last Man on Earth (1964) which starred Vincent Price. A third adaptation, I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, was released in 2007 and was terrible.

The Omega Man (1971) Official Trailer - Charlton Heston Movie


Next in line was SOYLENT GREEN (1973) – Star Date: 2022: peckish for a spot of ‘long pig’?

Soylent Green trailer original 1973


His next ‘End of Days’ thriller was John Carpenter’s IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (1994): A classic Lovecraftian horror show:

In The Mouth Of Madness (1995) - Official Trailer


Then there was his brief appearance in ARMAGEDDON (1998) where Heston narrated the opening of Michael Bay’s overblown meteor flick:

Armageddon - Opening Scene


PLANET OF THE APES (2001) – Charlton cameos as Tim Roth’s chimpy Pa:

Planet of the Apes (2001) - Official Trailer


Although not really noted for his sense of humour, Heston was game enough to play along in this ITV Dame Edna show from 1987:


Syrup** looking a bit dodgy there Chuck.


Speaking of his biblical epics, in the *waspish Ben-Hur co-writer Gore Vidal commented that when he arrived for the filming of the picture:

all the sets had been builtincluding Charlton Heston”

**’syrup of figs’ Cockney rhyming slang for a hairpiece/toupee/wig


Heston deftly sends himself up on SNL (1993):

Monologue: Charlton Heston is Captured by Apes - SNL

The very funny Phil Hartman rips Chuck (1996):

Cold Opening: Charlton Heston - Saturday Night Live

Did I miss any?

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Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'