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For films with similar titles, see Gas (disambiguation).
Directed by Roger Corman
Produced by Roger Corman
Written by George Armitage
Starring Robert Corff
Elaine Giftos
George Armitage
Alex Wilson
Music by Country Joe & the Fish
Barry Melton
Cinematography Ron Dexter
Edited by George Van Noy
San Jacinto Productions
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release date
  • 1970 (1970)
Running time
79 min.
Country United States
Language English

Gas-s-s-s (also known as Gas! or It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It) is a 1970 motion picture produced and released by American International Pictures. It was producer Roger Corman's final film for AIP, after a long association. He was unhappy because AIP made several cuts to the film without his approval, including removing the final shot where God commented on the action - a shot which Corman regarded as one of the greatest he had made in his life.[1]

The movie is a post-apocalyptic dark comedy, about survivors of an accidental military gas leak, of an experimental agent that kills everyone on Earth over the age of twenty-five. (A cartoon title sequence shows a John Wayne-esque Army General announcing — and denouncing — the "accident"; the story picks up after the victims have died.)

The lead characters, Coel and Cilla, were played by Robert Corff and Elaine Giftos, and the cast features Ben Vereen, Cindy Williams, Bud Cort and Talia Shire (credited as "Tally Coppola") in early roles. Country Joe McDonald makes an appearance, as spokesman "AM Radio".


In Dallas, at the Southern Methodist University, news comes in about a gas which has escaped from a military facility. It starts killing everyone over 25.

Hippie Coel meets and falls in love with Cilla. They discover a Gestapo-like police force will be running Dallas and flee into the country.

Their car is stolen by some cowboys. They then meet music fan Marissa, her boyfriend Carlos, Hooper, and his girlfriend Coralee. Marissa leaves Carlos, who finds a new girlfriend.

The group meet Edgar Allan Poe who drives around on a motorbike with a girl on the back. They then have an encounter with some bikers who play golf, after which they attend a dance and concert where AM Radio is performing, and passes on messages from God. Coel sleeps with Zoe but Cilla is not jealous.

Coel, Cilla and their friends arrive at a peaceful commune where it seems humankind can start fresh. Then a football team attacks them.

Eventually God intervenes. Coel and Cilla are reunited with all their friends, and there is a big party where everyone gets along.



George Armitage had met Roger Corman at 20th Century Fox when the latter was making The St Valentine's Day Massacre. Armitage later recalled:

The film was financed by American International Pictures. Corman says filming commenced using a first draft, which was rewritten constantly throughout the shoot.[1]

Editing disagreements[edit]

Roger Corman was angry about what AIP did to the film. He later wrote:

Samuel Z. Arkoff of AIP recalled it differently:


The film premiered in New York as part of a retrospective on Roger Corman's work.[4]

According to Samuel Z. Arkoff, "when Gas-s-s-s was released, it was promoted with ads that proclaimed, 'Invite a few friends over to watch the end of the world.' The picture didn't make any money."[3]

It was the last film Corman directed for AIP, although he went on to produce Boxcar Bertha for them.

Gas-s-s-s found a fresh airing on late night television in the 1980s. In 2005 it was issued on DVD, as a double feature with Wild in the Streets, another AIP movie.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Roger Corman & Jim Jerome, How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never lost a Dime, Muller, 1990 p 166
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Samuel Z Arkoff, Flying Through Hollywood by the Seat of My Pants
  4. ^ Film Retrospective to Honor Kazan By A. H. WEILER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 27 Jan 1971: 32.

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