If you're like me you're an Irwin Allen apologist and completist. You'll watch anything he had his hand in. Even dull fare like HANGING BY A THREAD, CAVE-IN and THE NIGHT THE BRIDGE FELL DOWN have allure for you. You would really prefer to watch FIRE! and FLOOD! back to back if possible. You really just can't get enough. Something about disaster films just pulls you in. You are very familiar with the mugs of guys like Chuck Heston and George Kennedy, who pop up in so many disaster films. The inspiration to do this list came to me last night whilst rewatching 2012 with my wife and son. Yes, I watched it twice. I am a sucker for disaster movies! I appreciate a guy like Roland Emmerich if only for the fact that he continues to carry on the tradition of making them. Are they any good? Not really, but I'll still watch them. I get caught up in them. I think it's kind of like slasher films for me. Disaster films in general have a pretty repetitive structure and I like that. It makes even the lamest ones interesting to me for some reason. I remember seeing THE CORE in the theater with some friends when it came out and we had such a good time. THE CORE is a terribly silly film, but I find that a film like that can be even funnier than many comedies that come out these days.
Most of my favorite disaster films come from that golden era in the 1970s. This 3-D revival we're seeing now is great, but I would love to see a return to gimmicks like Sensurround. Two of my favorite disaster films were theatrically released in Sensurround and I know it would have been a hoot to see them in that format. I was lucky enough to catch a screening of EARTHQUAKE at UCLA some years back wherein they had a Sensurround decoder and ran the film that way. It was so much fun. I mean EARTHQUAKE(which was co-written by Mario Puzo by the way) is already such a nutty film that it was just this raucous comic experience to see it with a crowd. Add to that the bass vibration from the Sensurround and it was one of the best times I've had at the movies in the past 20 years. There's something so nostalgic for me about films like EARTHQUAKE and especially ROLLERCOASTER. I didn't see them at the time of their release, but they are of a time I remember. A time when there was no internet, cell phones and other modern conveniences. It was a time when people used to go amusement parks in droves. There really was less to do so amusement parks were a much bigger deal. Not that people don't still enjoy them today, but they have obviously died away considerably as compared to the 1970s. I love ROLLERCOASTER and have always meant to see THE DEATH OF OCEAN VIEW PARK because I hoped it would convey a similar feeling. Anyway, that sense of another period whether it be conveyed through clothing, set design or what have you, is really wonderful in the disaster films. Even something like MIRACLE MILE(my favorite) has a similar feeling of the 1980s. Sadly, you can't just drive over to Johnnies and grab a cup of coffee anymore. If that were the case I'd be in there all the time. I'd love to write an entry sometime about all the great films that featured Johnnies as a location, but I feel like someone has covered that somewhere. Anyway, enough of my yacking. The list:
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