Radium City: Film Review
What’s the greatest horror movie of all time? Documentaries never make the list but if they did this film might give Psycho a run for its money. Radium City is like a nightmare that you can’t wake-up from. The film begins in 1922 and you know or you feel you know that soon very soon a hero will emerge. Someone will cry stop. The bad-guys will be brought to justice. The horror and death will stop. Instead, the film ploddingly moves forward year after year. Your frozen, but the rotting zombie keeps plodding ever closer and you begin to realize this is a nightmare world you may never wake up from. The horror becomes more visceral as the victims survive longer. We watch as their bodies slowly rot away.
Ottawa, Illinois has another name. The name is Radium or Death City and the documentary is a history of the Radium industry in that small town. It is not for the faint of heart or the squeamish. It is however the perfect answer to anyone who believes in the god of deregulation. The film is currently available on youtube(see above). Similar to other great documentaries this documentary was difficult if not impossible to find until 2011 the film was again made available through youtube so watch it while you can.
Did this 1987 film inspire the Zombie genre? The radiation victims were referred to as the living dead. It’s hard to say but the movie has the same feel. The story is also about how our justice system deals with such tragedies.
So has the city’s horror ended in 2012? According to Wikipedia
“Several areas of Ottawa are still radioactive. The United States Department of Health and Human Services released a study outlining areas where contamination by radium-226 (Ra-226) as well as emissions of radon-222 (Rn-222) are at above normal levels. These areas include homes, public areas, schools, and even a car sales lot that is housed directly over the old Radium Dial Company site.”
Furthermore information can be found on the EPA website.
In 2011, an eighth grade hero emerged named Madeline Piller. She got the city of Ottawa to commission a statute that commemorates the victims so that the people of Ottawa would never forget.
by Todd Miller
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