Soylent Green is People, but you knew that.

Soylent Green is part of the Holy Trinity of Weird Movies made by Charlton Heston in the 1970’s. The other two are Planet of The Apes and The Omega Man. All three are slightly over serious movies set in a very unfriendly future. Unfriendly to normal humans as we know them today anyway.
Soylent Green is based on Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! about a very crowded future were there is no food except the Soylent Company products of Soylent Green, Solyent Red and Solyent Yellow. Each is supposed to be made from soybeans and lentils and plankton. But the ocean can’t even support plankton anymore. So a vast system of body collection has been put into place to send every corpse to a collection center where it is secretly turned into Soylent Green.
I’m sure when this movie was made that Charlton Heston was such a big star that no one gave any thought to the fact that he looks enough like Chuck Conners to be his stunt double when you dress them the same. There is a point near the beginning of the film where Chuck Conners hires a poor starving man to go and kill someone. But the scene is shot in such a way that it is just a big blond guy hiring the hit man. A big blond guy that could just as easily have been Charlton Heston.
One of the interesting things about Soylent Green is that it co-stars a frail old Edward G Robinson, who played against Heston in The Ten Commandments. They are room mates that profess their love for one another a couple of times, even though Heston also makes use of a piece of ‘Furniture’ for sex a couple times. The slang in the film is kind of cute and kind of annoying at the same time. Women who are part of a rented apartment are Furniture. Money is D‘s and cents. His research assistant is called a Book. Going Home is committing suicide.
Several people die in the course of the story to protect the secret, kept in the film until the finial scene where Heston screams into a crowded room-Soylent Green is People!
To me the most shocking bit in the film is not that people kill themselves to get out of this living hell and be turned into fish food flakes, but that Heston’s cop is nothing but a petty criminal himself. Everywhere he goes he steals something. Him and his fellow cops have a system in place of divvying up the spoils of a crime scene. He is not a good man, because there are no longer any good men.
The scenes of people sleeping on all the stairwells and of mobs being Scooped up to be taken away give a real sense of massive over crowding. And yet, there is a curfew at night and the streets become magically vacant.
Soylent Green still has a very creepy feel to it and there is still the very real possibility that we will run out of things to eat one of these days. So, don’t be surprised when Soylent Green shows up on your grocer’s shelf.

Jon Herrera

Jon Herrera

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.
Jon Herrera

Latest posts by Jon Herrera (see all)

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.

Posted in sci fi, science fiction, soylent green

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