Download Disaster Movies: A Loud, Long, Explosive, Star-Studded Guide to Avalanches, Earthquakes, Floods, Meteors, Sinking Ships, Twisters, Viruses, Killer Bees, ... Fallout, and Alien Attacks in the Cinema!!!! PDF

TitleDisaster Movies: A Loud, Long, Explosive, Star-Studded Guide to Avalanches, Earthquakes, Floods, Meteors, Sinking Ships, Twisters, Viruses, Killer Bees, ... Fallout, and Alien Attacks in the Cinema!!!!
PublisherChicago Review Press
ISBN 139781556526930
CategoryArts - Film
File Size6.4 MB
Total Pages433
Table of Contents
Foreword by Mike Nelson, host of Mystery Science Theater 3000
Introduction by Glenn Kay
Introduction by Michael Rose
A Brief History of Disaster Movies
I’ll Never Fly with This Airline Again!
Shake, Rattle, and Roll
Disaster Movies’ Greatest Stars
Fun with Snow
Hot Molten Lava
The Best Disaster Movies Never Made
Sinking Ships
Don’t Be a Hero: The Disaster Movie’s Hardest Lesson
Big Space Rocks
Now That’s a Fire
The Most Ridiculous Disaster Movie Concepts Ever
Really Bad Storms
Just a Little Radiation
What’s with All the Love Themes?
Mad Bombers, Killer Bees, and Wild Animals
The Highest-Grossing Disaster Movies of All Time
Those Darn Aliens!
Movies That Sound Like They’re Disaster Films, But Aren’t
Disaster Movie Parodies
Our Ultimate Disaster Movie Lists
Document Text Contents
Page 2

A Loud, Long, Explosive,
Star-Studded Guide to

Avalanches, Earthquakes,
Floods, Meteors,
Sinking Ships,

Twisters, Viruses,
Killer Bees, Nuclear Fallout,

and Alien Attacks
in the Cinema!!!!

Glenn Kay and Michael Rose


An A Cappella Book

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���B I G S p A C E R O C K S

give us a real show, utilizing the bigger budget while still getting down and dirty with
spectacular death scenes and other more exploitative elements.

The movie does get off to a slam-bang start. As goofy Superman-esque opening
credits roll, each name is scored with a booming dah-dah-dah-dum. The movie won
an Oscar nomination for Best Sound. Apparently, all you needed to do to get a Best
Sound nomination in 1980 was crank the volume up. A foreboding voiceover starts
up, while stock footage of the solar system is displayed. But the grade-six science les-
son ends abruptly.

Suddenly, the action cuts to the sea and Dr. Paul Bradley, played by the always-
entertaining Sean Connery. Connery hooks up with Karl Malden, who grimly tells
Connery about a horrible accident that’s caused a meteor threat, all with a long and
now unnecessary flashback that left me wondering why didn’t the filmmakers didn’t
just open the movie with this sequence to begin with. At this point, the filmmakers
dote on long shots of a probe (a sign of things to come) floating in space for end-
less amounts of time. Was I supposed to be admiring the wonderful miniature work
or something? Remember all of the endless shots of the Enterprise in the original Star
Trek movie? Well, it’s just like that, only worse, since here the filmmakers opt to use
cheap models.

Naturally, there is one huge honking meteor out there. Malden informs us that an
enormous, five-mile wide chunk of it will hit the earth in six days, with many smaller
chunks arriving in the meantime. Connery agrees to meet with NASA officials to dis-
cuss how to deal with the problem. At this point we still have no idea what type of
doctor Connery is (he could be a dermatologist, for all I know), why his input is so
important, or why he’s so grouchy all the time.

Cut to Switzerland, where B-movie queen Sybil Danning appears as a female skier
walking through a small village. Moments later, a meteor fragment hits the top of a
nearby mountain, causing a devastating avalanche. Skiers are swept under the wave
of snow. Bleachers, skiers, snowmobiles, and even a lodge all get taken out. But even
this was not satisfying to me; I had the feeling that I’d seen it all before. Indeed, I was
right. Samuel Arkoff actually used footage from Roger Corman’s Avalanche and in-
serted it into the scene. All that is new is Sybil Danning, who runs into a church that
collapses on top of her under the weight of the snow.

Also lame is a tidal wave that slams Hong Kong. Panicked crowds run, stealing
apples and paintings. The camera focuses on one particular man rushing to find his
wife, baby, and dog. The wave hits and washes them away, along with a communica-
tion center. Why is this important? Maybe the filmmakers figured that it’s the little

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D I S A S T E R M O V I E S���

stories that add meaning. No, it’s just stock footage.
In case you’re still interested, Connery and Malden are shipped off to “meteor

headquarters,” for lack of a better term. It’s an underground base next to an old
subway station under the Hudson River in New York, hidden under the American
Telephone and Telegraph Company. Malden cleverly comments that “nobody would
think of putting their most important emergency striking power under the busiest
city in the world.” Indeed, because it’s a terrible idea. Regardless, Connery grunts
in agreement.

After dozens of agonizingly long shots of rockets in space, the climax arrives.
There are explosions, rubbles falls, and before you can say, “Great idea, Malden, build-
ing a base under a city!” the exit to the building is blocked. The characters have to
hurry out through a subway tunnel, extending the pain of watching this stink bomb
for another 10 minutes.

In summation, I was hugely disappointed with this yawnfest. When I was a kid
I had a couple of T-shirts with press-on designs. One of my favorites was my Fonzie
shirt. But my absolute favorite was an orange shirt with a press-on picture of the
poster artwork from this movie, with the title, Meteor, in bold letters. It pictured doz-
ens of rockets about to strike the giant rock. (I can’t remember if it had Sean Connery
and the other celebrities’ heads along the bottom, but I hope it did.) There is actually
no shot like this in the movie, and that makes me angry. This terrible flick should be
viewed as an example of how not to make a disaster film.

Most Spectacular Moment of Carnage
Well, it’s the avalanche, but as I said, the scene is stolen from the film Avalanche, so
does it still count? It’ll have to, I guess. (GK)

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�0�I N D E X

207, 218, 298, 335, 350
Twister (1996), 250, 253–256, 347, 348
2001: A Space Odyssey, 339
Tycus (1998), 192
Tyler, Liv, 173–175
Tyler, Steven, 218
Tyne, Billy, 305
Tyson, Cicely, 15, 54

Under the Volcano (1984), 370
Underwood, Blair, 180
Unforgiven (1992), 81
United Artists, 111, 135, 303, 367
United Pictures Corporation, 280
United Productions of America, 326
Universal Pictures, 9, 11, 13, 15, 59, 63, 108,

132, 253
Universal Studios, 35, 332, 342
Universal TV, 47

Vaccaro, Brenda, 13
Valdemar, Carlos, 229
Valdez, Juan, 64
Valentine, Scott, 76
Valli, Alida, 264
Van Dyke, W. S., 73
Vargas, Jacob, 31
Vaughn, Robert, 170, 218, 295–296
VelJohnson, Reginald, 22
Vernon, John, 374
Vertical Limit (2000), 101–103
Viacom Productions, 222
Villarreal, Daniel, 335
Villechaize, Hervé, 374
Vint, Jesse, 312
Virus (1980), 83, 295–297
Viva Knieval! (1977), 84
Void, The (2001), 227
Voight, John, 302
Volcano: Fire on the Mountain (1997),

Volcano (1997), 5, 108, 113–116, 117, 171
von Bargen, Daniel, 222
von Sydow, Max, 243
Von Trier, Lars, 53
Von Zernick Sertner Films, 250, 289
Voyage of Terror (1998), 169
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), 80,


Wager, Walter, 22
Wagner, Robert, 115–117, 159–161, 218, 221
Wahlberg, Mark, 247–248
Waite, Ralph, 286–288
Walker, Jimmie, 15–16, 372
Walsh, J. T., 24, 278
Walsh, M. Emmet, 13, 152, 286–287
Walston, Ray, 304
Walter, Jessica, 241–242
War of the Worlds (2005), 6, 81, 347, 348, 349,

364–366, 382
War of the Worlds, The (1953), 2, 5, 189, 270,

349, 360–363, 382
Ward, Fred, 52–53
Ward, Luci, 67
Ward, Sela, 96
Warden, Jack, 129
Warner Bros., 24, 26, 48, 119, 129, 201, 218,

232, 247, 253, 276, 338, 356
Warner, David, 15, 154, 165–166
Warning Sign (1985), 259, 298–301
Washington, Denzel, 369
Waterston, Sam, 298–300
Watson, James A., Jr., 374
Wayne, John, 53
Weathers, Carl, 370
Webb, Clifton, 159
Webber, Timothy, 88
Weekend at Bernie’s, 39
Weir, Peter, 26
Weiss, Arthur, 201
Weitz, Bruce, 180
Weller, Fred, 54
Wells, H. G., 360, 364
Welsh, Jonathan, 245
Wendt, George, 374
Werntz, Gary, 180
Whalen, Sean, 253
When Time Ran Out… (1980), 4, 80,

119–121, 370, 383
When Worlds Collide (1951), 2–3, 6,

189–191, 360
White, Al, 374
White, Betty, 235–236
White, John Manchip, 56
Whitman, Stuart, 226
Whittaker, James, 132
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, 30
Whoops Apocalypse (1986), 381
Widmark, Richard, 332, 338–341

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Woodward, Tim, 139
Wopat, Tom, 187, 224
Wrecking Crew, The (1969), 80
Wright, Teresa, 232
Wright, Tracy, 211
Wrongfully Accused (1998), 371
Wyndham, John, 367
Wynter, Dana, 9

Yamamura, Sô, 326
Yglesias, Rafael, 26
York, Francine, 232
York, Susannah, 257
Yost, Graham, 235, 335
Young, Gig, 35
Young, John Sacret, 305
Young, Karen, 59–60
Young, Robert M., 37
Young, Roger, 289
Young, William Allen, 269
Yumi, Kaoro, 326

Zacarias, Alfredo, 309
Zagarino, Frank, 192
Zal, Roxana, 304
Zane, Billy, 165–167
Zero Hour! (1957), 48, 372
Zeta-Jones, Catherine, 162–163
Zimbalist, Efrem, Jr., 11
Zimet, Julian, 56
Zimmer, Hans, 218
Zucker, David, 372–373
Zucker, Jerry, 372–373

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