If life feels a little too joyful, if you’re looking to spend a couple of hours soaked in harsh misery, and if you wish a film knowledge that will haunt you for literally years to come, we have some good news. The 1984 BBC telemovie Threads is receiving a new Blu-ray release, remastered in HD by Severin Films.
Threads is grave viewing. Set in Sheffield in the UK, it tells the story of a woman, Ruth, in the month heading up to, and 13 years following, all-out nuclear fight between NATO and the USSR. It lacks the cheery, upbeat tinge of its closest US counterpart, 1983′s The Day After, bearing instead dour realism. As the threads of multitude mangle down, the bad unfortunates who survived the initial fusillade don’t so much live as merely exist in the post-apocalyptic ruins.
I was thankfully too immature to watch Threads when it creatively aired during the Cold War. Instead, we saw it at school in the late 1990s. The tumble of the Soviet Union finished the hazard of nuclear obliteration much reduction present—at the time it seemed almost absurd to even contemplate—but the pure, sheer horror of the film was nonetheless dire and deeply affecting. Teenage boys routinely hail critical element with asocial mockery; Threads got ashen-faced, queasy silence, and an strenuous clarity of service that the hazard of global thermonuclear fight was mostly averted.
This impact is likely the reason that, in annoy of the film’s status and reputation, it hasn’t been shown very often. It was aired a year after its initial broadcast, as partial of the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan, but the BBC didn’t screen it again until the mid-2000s. Its calm and runtime (just bashful of two hours) make it a severe awaiting for blurb broadcasters; while it has been shown on ad-supported networks, in the US, Canada, and Australia, it has finished so but ad breaks. Nobody would wish their products juxtaposed with such a film.
The introductions to Threads—for example, CKVU in Vancouver, Ted Turner for WTBS in the US, and CKND in Manitoba—make transparent just what an well-developed piece of radio it was. It has had releases on VHS and DVD, but with stipulations in placement and availability, and it hasn’t formerly had an central US release.
It’s a film that everybody should see. But the Blu-ray stays a little tough to recommend. Threads is not a film I’d wish to have in my own video library, for a elementary reason: having seen it once, we have no enterprise to see it ever again, and we consider this is not uncommon. Twenty years after seeing it, it still creates my stomach churn; the tangible despondency is as harmful currently as it was then. Threads is a story wholly abandoned of hope, destroying any idea of a “winnable” nuclear war. The very thing that creates it a must-watch creates it near-unwatchable.