TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: HOSPITAL MASSACRE (1981)

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HOSPITAL MASSACRE aka X-RAY (1981)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

This is a routine and rather dull slasher flick from legendary Cannon Pictures schlockmeisters Golan and Globus. The film is written by Marc Behm and directed by Boaz Davidson, whose only noteworthy directorial effort is the cult 80s teen flick, The Last American Virgin.

Flick opens with young Harold (Billy Jayne) leaving a Valentine’s Day card for little Susan Jeremy (Elizabeth Hoy) and then watching through her window as she opens it. When it is greeted with distain and laughter, young Harold murders her friend David (Michael Romano) in revenge. Nineteen years later, Susan is a grown woman (now Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton) who is entering a hospital to get some test results. Guess who works there though and soon Harold in a surgical mask is switching her test results to get her admitted to the hospital for more tests. As Susan tries to convince the doctors there has been a mistake, Harold leaves a trail of bodies as he makes his way to Susan to get his revenge on his lifelong Valentine.

Hard to tell just how seriously director Boaz Davidson was taking this flick, as he really overdoes it with the horror movie tropes and it is almost comedic that every person…save Benson’s heroine…acts like a creep and the hospital seems to be filled with more mental patients than medical patients. The staff alone make this possibly the creepiest hospital on the planet and that’s not even considering the loonies apparently allowed to freely roam the halls. Even Arlon Ober’s score overdoes it and seems more appropriate in an Omen spoof than a legit slasher. Despite that, it’s still a dull affair, even with the overdone atmosphere and generous but routine bloodshed. Harold seems to wander the halls randomly slaughtering folks and one has to wonder how no one in a fully staffed hospital notices anyone missing or sees Harold transporting dead bodies to the empty 9th floor. It also seems weird that despite being left alone constantly, it takes the deranged killer well over an hour to get to finally pursuing Susan. Benton makes a fiery heroine and really gives it her all, but the cast of unknowns around her act fairly woodenly and our killer doesn’t exude too much menace either, despite the decent body count. When his identity is revealed, we’re not all that surprised as the film tried way too hard to make him the least obvious suspect. There is little suspense or tension and it’s only steady bloodletting and some nudity from our Playboy Playmate that holds our interest…and even her nude scene comes from a very date-rapey examination sequence by one of the hospital’s spooky staff.

I love this era of slasher/horrors and so had to give this one a look. There isn’t much to recommend other than Barbi Benton making for a good heroine, running around in her skimpy hospital gown and flashing the attributes that made her fairly famous in the late 70s and early 80s, especially on TV and in the cult classic Deathstalker. Despite a little 80s nostalgia, this is a forgettable slasher and one of the lesser efforts in the 80s slasher era.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 scalpels.

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974)

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THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974)

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Another Irwin Allen production, The Towering Inferno is one of the all-time great 70s disaster epics that I was privileged to see in a theater…the now long gone Park Lane…as a kid. The flick follows the formula of an all-star cast of characters embroiled in their own personal melodrama until a disaster brings them together…or tears them apart. Here,  the setting is the world’s tallest skyscraper in San Franscico. While the building is enjoying it’s dedication ceremony with a massive party, the shortcuts taken by owner James Duncan (William Holden) and his jerk son-in-law Roger (Richard Chamberlain), catch up with them when an electrical fire breaks out on the 81st floor and quickly spreads. Now it’s up to angry architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) and Fire Chief Mike O’Halloran (Steve McQueen) to figure out a way to stop the blaze before it reaches the 300 guests at the penthouse floor party, who are now trapped.

Another movie that is well-written by Stirling Silliphant based on two books, The Tower by Richard Martin Stern and The Glass Inferno by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson. As with his Poseidon Adventure script, he keeps the melodrama to a minimum and maintains a claustrophobic setting inside the building for most of the film. While John Guillermin directs the film fairly by-the-numbers, the script affords him plenty of opportunity for suspenseful action, daring escapes and some nail-biting rescues. The fact that we also have some well-written characters and the dialog stays remotely grounded, makes for a more realistic and relatable drama. The fire scenes are really intense and well orchestrated, as are some of the sequences outside the building, such as one involving a teetering glass elevator. The action is solid and while the film is moderately paced, it is never dull. If the film has any main flaw, it’s that at 165 minutes it is about 30 minutes too long and thus there is some repetition in the action and subplots that really don’t further the story. For example…Robert Wagner’s entire character and scenes with his secretary (Susan Flannery) could have been removed without effecting the film and trimming it by a good 15 minutes. There is also some weak model work during the climax, but it’s brief and not enough to tarnish a first rate thriller. Back on the plus side, there is yet another effective score from master composer John Williams and Fred J. Koenekamp provides the vibrant cinematography.

There are a lot of characters in this flick With Newman, McQueen and Holden being the top three spots. Newman is a legendary performer and is solid here as the architect who finds out his specs were changed to cut costs and now it has caused a disaster. He dives right in saving lives and assisting McQueen’s fire chief and is a memorable hero. Same said for McQueen. His fire chief is tough, but remains cool under pressure and he is put through the ringer with this out of control blaze in the worst possible place. He and Paul Newman work well as a team and the flick smartly gives them numerous scenes together. Holden’s Duncan is interesting as he is not an outright villain, a role reserved for Chamberlain. He admits he made mistakes and shows remorse and sorrow over the death and destruction it has caused, so we don’t readily hate him like we do his son-in-law. Supporting them are Faye Dunaway, Robert Vaughn, Susan Blakely, Fred Astaire and the infamous O.J. Simpson as the head of security.

Definitely one of the best of this type of flick due to a toning down of the cheesy melodrama and some very intense action and suspense sequences. It maintains a large cast well and presents a very straightforward depiction of what a disaster like this might be like. If it has any flaws worth mentioning, it’s that it could have lost about a half hour and still been a solid action thriller. The leads are legendary performers who give it their all and the support is generally strong too. There are the usual disaster clichés, but that’s why we watch these flicks! Another 70s disaster movie classic!

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 towering infernos.

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: CABIN FEVER (2016)

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CABIN FEVER (2016)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

I’m not the biggest fan of Eli Roth’s original Cabin Fever. The combination of horror elements and really goofy humor didn’t mix well, killing any tension it tried to build and the homages to his influences were way too obvious and intrusive. It still managed to be moderately entertaining and at it’s core was a good idea.

This might be one of the most pointless remakes in the current trend, not only using the original’s script, but dumbing it down even further. So, yet again we have five twenty-somethings going to a remote cabin and contracting some kind of flesh eating virus from a weird homeless guy living in the woods. Panic and paranoia set in and so do stupid antics by our main characters.

Roth’s script is adjusted a bit, for the worse, by Randy Pearlstine and directed lifelessly by someone named Travis Z. It becomes just a series of dumb behavior by the characters who do the stupidest possible things during this viral outbreak. Having sex, despite being supposedly terrified of contracting it and constantly putting themselves in the proximity of blood from the infected, are just a few of the moronic things these folks do. The scene where the homeless guy gets set on fire by the five dumb-asses is so clumsily staged, that you can’t believe what you just saw. Is this a student film? Note to stupid yuppies…don’t lament setting a guy on fire when you doused him with lighter fluid to begin with, that’s kinda what happens. Yes, the film is filled with that kind of blatant stupidity that the only person you feel bad for is the first contractee Karen (Gage Golightly), mostly because she shares your contempt for the rest of them. You are almost rooting for this bunch to melt away, they are such unlikable idiots. And don’t get me started on the gun that only fires when convenient. Travis Z’s attempts at Roth-like humor also fail miserably, though they are thankfully few and far between and the gore isn’t any more inventive than it was last time around. At least I did like Kevin Riepl’s score.

Awful movie, a complete waste of time and one of the most pointless remakes ever made…and Roth produced it! Also stars Alexandra Daddario’s brother Matthew, Samuel Davis, Dustin Ingram and Nadine Crocker as the other four ill-fated morons.

-MonsterZero NJ

1 and 1/2 pancakes cause even that stupid bit is recycled.

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES FEB 12-14

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

1. “Deadpool” $135 Million

2. “KungFu Panda 3” $19.65 Million

3. “How To Be Single” $18.75 Million

4. “Zoolander 2” $15.65 Million

5. “The Revenant” $6.9 Million

6. “Hail,Caesar!” $6.59 Million

7. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens ” $6.2 Million

8. “The Choice” $5.25 Million

9. “Ride Along 2” $4.1 Million

10. “The Boy” $2.9 Million

source: Box Office Mojo

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 HORRORS TO WATCH ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

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Human heart in hand isolated on blackDuring this season of candy and flowers, those with horror in our hearts can have plenty to watch with that special boy or ghoul…or for the single folk to calm the storm of sappy sentimentality they are enduring from their paired-up friends on social media! Not all are classics, but even the lesser titles are suitable for this day of grave emotional attachment!

(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews of the titles covered here at the Movie Madhouse!)

1. My Bloody Valentine 1981

2. Spring

3. The Bride Of Frankenstein

4. The Prowler

5. Return Of The Living Dead 3

6. Valentine

7. My Blood Valentine 2009

8. The Crow

9. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

10. Burying The Ex

11. Let The Right One In

12. Blacula

13. A Chinese Ghost Story

14. The Lost Boys

15. Fright Night 2

-MonsterZero NJ

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REVIEW: DEADPOOL (2016)

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DEADPOOL (2016)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Up to this point, I knew almost nothing about the Deadpool character, other than fans were not happy with his portrayal in the 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So, I went into this flick without too many expectations, other than it wasn’t going to be your typical Marvel superhero movie, based on the trailers and ad campaign. I was right…but I also had more fun than I expected.

Flick tells the story of Wade Wilson, a former special forces soldier turned black ops operative turned mercenary and assassin. Wade has a fairly low level clientele and a beautiful stripper girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) who loves him for who he is. Wade’s life is turned upside down when he is told he has terminal cancer and is then contacted by a mysterious organization called Weapon X, that claim that not only can they cure him, but they can turn him into a superhero. To save his relationship with Vanessa, he takes the offer and is transformed into a virtually indestructible, yet horribly disfigured man. Now hot for revenge for turning him into a monster, Wade becomes Deadpool, a wise-cracking superhero-like assassin, leaving a blood-soaked trail in pursuit of Ajax (Ed Skrein), the man who performed the procedure and his powerful sidekick/bodyguard, Angel Dust (Gina Carano)…all the while being pursued by the X-Men to give up his bloody ways and join the team.

This is certainly one of the most brazen and self-aware of the recent spate of superhero films, with Deadpool not only stopping the action to talk with the audience, but also his constant verbal jabs at the rest of the Marvel universe. It is also one of the rudest, crudest and bloodiest flicks to wear the Marvel tag and there is sufficient wit to go along with that, which makes it work. Some of the dialog is very funny and Reynolds has the perfect delivery for Wilson’s sarcastic frat-boy sense of humor as he’s slaughtering bad guys. The film is well directed by Tim Miller, with a clever script by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese and it mixes the graphic violence with the twisted humor very well. The action is on a smaller scale than the usual Marvel flicks, especially those recently, but includes more gore and body parts than possibly even the Blade films. The FX are rendered very well and there is a solid emotional core to all the blood and toilet humor when dealing with Wade’s turning into something he’s horrified with…something he feels Vanessa would never love. Surprisingly, the combination of violence, crude humor and Frankentein-ish story does pretty much work for most of the time thanks to Miller’s knowing when and how much and Reynold’s spot on performance. If the film has flaws, it’s that not all of the humor is successfully funny, the film does slow down a bit when delving into flashbacks as to Deadpool’s origin and Skrein isn’t all that strong a bad guy and is upstaged by Carano’s Angel Dust. Back on the plus side, there is a hip, fun soundtrack and it was refreshing to see a superhero film with a anti-hero who is far from being a boy scout…ex. Deadpool’s lethal and illegal advice to an Indian cab driver over how to solve his love problems.

Obviously, this is Ryan Reynolds show and he really brings it. Not only is Deadpool a very likable and sarcastically funny anti-hero, but Reynolds really gives him a heart and we feel for him when he is first deformed. He delivers his lines perfectly, whether it is to lament his transformation and loss of Vanessa, or shamelessly taunting his blind roommate (Leslie Uggams). He was born to play the part. Morena Baccarin is smoking hot as a movie geeks dream girl, a stripper with extensive nerd knowledge and a pop culture reference vocabulary to rival the boys. While she doesn’t get to do all that much, she and Reynolds do have a nice chemistry and she is fiery in what she does get to do. As stated, Ed Skrein is a serviceable villain, though not a very memorable one. Carano makes more of an impression as his bodyguard with superhuman strength. She doesn’t say much, but is a physical presence especially when batting the metal skinned X-Man, Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić). T.J. Miller is fun as Wade’s buddy Weasle, Brianna Hildebrand is an explosive teen member of the X-Men and Jed Rees is appropriately creepy as the recruiter for Weapon X…and a certain Marvel icon has one of his funniest cameos yet!

Overall, Deadpool was a fun flick. It deftly mixes masturbation jokes, bloody violence and some surprisingly effective drama to make it one of the more unique superhero flicks to come out in this era of cookie-cutter comic book movies. Not all the jokes work and the film does slow down a bit here and there to tell it’s origin story, but overall the mash-up formula connects more often than not. Ryan Reynolds is a hoot as Deadpool and he is given some very funny, rude and pop culture reference filled dialog to spout, when not splattering the bad guys all over the place. Not great, but a fun flick that will occasionally make you giggle like a teenager, whether you are one or not, and sometimes laugh out loud. As with these flicks, stay through the credits!

-MonsterZero NJ

3 unicorns…don’t ask…

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BARE BONES: GRANDMA and FREAKS OF NATURE

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GRANDMA (2015)

Written and directed by Paul Weitz, Grandma tells the story of cantankerous Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin), an aging lesbian poet who has just ended a relationship with a younger woman (Judy Greer). On that same day she gets a visit from her granddaughter, Sage (Julia Garner)…obviously, Elle was married once…who needs over $600 for an abortion. The penniless Elle now begins a trek across L.A. to see friends, her ex-husband and ultimately, Sage’s mother, trying to raise the cash for her granddaughter’s procedure and unintentionally raising a little hell and learning something about herself, as well.

The performances in this flick are first rate, with Tomlin ruling the roost with her angry, volatile Elle and the film is well directed with some snappy dialog. It’s the story that fails to really involve the audience as it’s a just another ‘angry eccentric learning something about themselves’ flick. The film also tries way too hard to have all it’s liberal and indie film pieces in place with it’s story of an eccentric, lesbian poet helping her granddaughter get a *gasp* abortion story. It thinks it’s daring, but clear away the controversial topic and it’s just another journey of self-discovery movie about someone realizing they have let their inner pain sully their life. Elle is an interesting character, but one we’ve seen before, who comes to the same realizations that these types of grumpy characters usually do. Adding a pro-abortion element doesn’t make it any more new or daring. Also stars Sam Elliott and Marcia Gay Harden as Elle’s ex-husband and daughter respectively.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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FREAKS OF NATURE (2015)

Dumb and dull horror/comedy takes place in the town of Dillford, renown for it’s rib sandwiches. Also, the community is made up of a mix of humans, vampires and zombies living in an uneasy harmony. When an alien spacecraft arrives, it creates a panic, which in-turn reignites old rivalries. As human, vampire and zombie are once again at each other’s throats, three high school kids, human Dag (Nicholas Braun), vampire Petra (Mackenzie Davis) and zombie Ned (Josh Fadem), are forced to work together to save all from the alien invasion.

This is a silly flick with a very convoluted concept and plot, that could have worked in more capable hands. It all boils down to the same “we can live together despite our differences” message we have seen so many times before and a bland use of it’s oddball story set-up. The film is goofy and gory and that would certainly be fine if it were also clever and funny. It’s just a bunch of ideas thrown in a blender with a half hour plot dragged out over 90 minutes. The action stops for long periods of character moping and once it’s over, you realize it went exactly where you expected it to from scene one. The SPFX are surprisingly good, as is the gore and at least the cast gets the tone of the weak material. As directed  by Robbie Pickering and written by Oren Uziel, the film is basically a ho-hum mess, whereas somewhere inside it there might have been a fun midnight movie buried under all the mediocrity. Also stars Denis Leary, Joan Cusack, Patton Oswalt and the yummy Vanessa Hudgens as Dag’s hopeless pursuit turned vampire vixen.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE MARTIAN

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THE MARTIAN (2015)

The Martian is a fun and suspenseful sci-fi adventure directed by Ridley Scott from Drew (The Cabin In The Woods) Goddard’s screenplay, based on Andy Weir’s book. It tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney who, while on a manned mission to Mars, is left behind after being lost in a storm and thought dead. Now Watney must find some way to let NASA know he’s alive and then survive till help comes…which would be long after his food supply runs out.

This is a very well crafted and really entertaining survival story of one man’s determination to overcome the impossible…living on a lifeless planet. There are some fun and clever ways Watney uses his knowledge as a botanist and astronaut to grow food, elongate the use of crucial equipment and communicate with Earth. Damon is great as the ever chipper Watney, who refuses to give up even when his food supply is damaged. Meanwhile on Earth it’s a race against time to try to figure out a rescue before Watney’s time runs out. If the film has any flaw is that as a crowd pleaser, we do feel manipulated when things go right…and wrong…at exactly a crucial time to elicit an emotional response or suspense…though it works more often than not. That and even at 141 minutes, it seems like certain things are rushed to keep the film at a reasonable length. The film does jump ahead a lot.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable flick with a totally engaging hero played by Matt Damon. It’s fast moving and cleverly written with just the right amount of sentiment. Damon is supported by great cast including Jessica Chastain, Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Ant-Man’s Michael Peña and The Winter Soldier’s Sebastian Stan. Recommended!

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972)

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THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Produced by prolific 70s disaster movie producer Irwin Allen, this is simply one of the best, if not the best of the 70s disaster flicks. Story finds an assortment of characters, like a rebellious preacher (Gene Hackman), a New York detective (Ernest Borgnine) and a kindly Jewish couple (Jack Albertson and Shelly Winters) traveling from NYC to Athens on the final voyage of the S.S. Poseidon. It’s New Years Eve, and while there is a lavish celebration in the ship’s grand ballroom, a massive underwater earthquake triggers a 90 foot tidal wave and sends it in the aging ship’s direction. The wave slams into the vessel, capsizing it and setting the remaining survivors on a journey upwards through the upside-down decks, towards the hull of the ship in hope of rescue.

Flick is well-written by Stirling Silliphant and Wendell Mayes from a book by Paul Gallico. What makes it a step above most others is that it is directed with passion and intensity by Ronald Neame, where most of these types of flicks are very by-the-numbers. The characters are well-rounded and appear very human and even our hero is flawed. The melodrama between them is kept to a minimum, as the action starts within the first half-hour and doesn’t stop till the end. Along the way we get some very thrilling action and escapes, as our group overcomes one challenge after another, all the while trying to keep their heads above water…literally. It makes for a very exciting and suspenseful two hours and the sets the survivors climb through are very impressive. It’s a maze of pipes and steel, either flooded or on fire and the benefit of this is that models and miniatures are kept to a bare minimum, making it far more realistic feeling than say, Earthquake. The cheese factor here is limited to the heavy 70s vibe and a few over-the-top performances like Stella Stevens’ ex-hooker turned policeman’s wife. There is also a heavier religious undertone, with it’s preacher hero and Israel bound Jewish couple, than is fashionable today, but I find that very charming and old-fashioned…as is the rest of this fun flick. There is a rousing score by John Williams and crisp cinematography by Harold E. Stine to accent a top-notch suspense thriller.

The cast here is not as obnoxiously star-studded, as some of these movies can be, containing more character actors. This gives it a more identifiable feel than with an all A-listers cast. Hackman really sells it as the preacher who walks to the beat of his own drum. He’s a bit more relatable than a more larger-than-life actor like Charlton Heston and more passionate in his portrayal. Borgnine gives us a Lt. Rogo with a fiery temper who battles Hackman’s preacher at every turn. The quality script and Borgnine being an absolute pro, makes the character more than a stereotypical antagonist. He’s angry, afraid and even though the two man battle for leadership, Rogo can be seen in a heroic light by the end credits. Albertson and Winters are very endearing as the old Jewish couple headed to Israel to meet their grandson. Winters can lay it on thick here and there, but is never out of control. We also have Red Buttons, Roddy McDowell, Carol Lynley and Pamela Sue Martin as accompanying survivors with Stella Stevens a bit overacting as Rogo’s wife and Leslie Nielsen, before Airplane turned him into a comic actor, as the ship’s ill-fated captain. A great cast.

This might be one of my all-time favorites of this era and genre. It’s well-written, intensely directed and has a wonderful cast of character actors to give some dimension to the struggling survivors. There is a lot of personal nostalgia, as it is another flick seen with the folks at the long gone Park Lane Theater, but is also just a really good flick that holds up to the test of time. It’s setting cleverly omits the need for SPFX that may be seen as cheesy in today’s digital world, instead settling for well-crafted sets and dramatic set pieces that still work. Add in some 70s nostalgia to an already solid adventure flick and you have a film that earns the title classic easily! Still as effective today as back in 1972!

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2.

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: EARTHQUAKE (1974)

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EARTHQUAKE (1974)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Been in the mood to revisit some of the classic 70s disaster films that I saw in a theater as a kid and Earthquake is a prime example. It has the classic formula of having an all-star cast of characters engaged in some soap opera level drama until some disaster hits and everyone has to survive it. This flick has Charlton Heston’s ex-pro football player, juggling a shrew of a wife (Ava Gardner) and a young mistress (Geneviève Bujold) while rebellious cop Slade (George Kennedy) is in trouble once more. Mix in Richard Roundtree as a motorcycle daredevil, Victoria Principal as his hot assistant and Marjoe Gortner as a crazed National Guardsman and you have a cast ripe for…disaster! Soon, a mega-quake hits L.A. and all our characters are torn out of their melodrama and forced into a fight for survival. Add in a last act dam burst and it’s a cheesy fun time.

Despite being very fond of this flick due to it’s nostalgic personal importance, I’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t aged all that well. Written by George Fox and Mario Puzo, there is some really bad dialogue and some awfully cheesy subplots going on in this flick. The drama between Heston and Gardner is as overblown as his relationship with Bujold, who is young enough to be his daughter, is silly. Kennedy’s cop is too much of a loose cannon to have lasted on the force this long and Gortner is so obviously a psycho, one wonders how loose the National Guard’s qualifications are. We also get the classic bureaucratic stall as the suits decide whether the scientist’s scary data is worth telling the public. It’s all directed very by-the-numbers by Mark Robson, a prolific director since the 40s. As for the quake itself, it lasts for about ten minutes and we get all sorts of chaos and destruction represented by miniatures that range from well-done to cheesy. The FX were praised in the day, but haven’t really aged all that well after over four decades, though the matte paintings still look good. The carnage is still fun to watch, as is the cornball melodrama of our cast being rescued or rescuing others. Apparently L.A.’s emergency response team in the 70s consisted of Charlton Heston and George Kennedy as they seem to be the only ones actually saving lives. There are daring rescues and heroic derring-do, all the while the National Guard just seems to be in town to shoot people and not actually help. Adding dramatic impact is a score by the great John Williams and if you had seen it in a theater, it was all presented in the cheesy glory of Sensurround! (Click on the link HERE to learn more about that!)

It’s too large a cast to give everyone props, but they all perform with corny, melodramatic intensity. Heston is Heston, as he is in every film he’s in. Ava Gardner is very over-the-top and you can see why hubby Heston is shacking up with the young honey. Also hilarious is that Lorne Greene plays Gardner’s father while only being seven years older. Roundtree’s cocky character is an Evel Kinevel wannabe, who oddly disappears from the action in the third act. Marjoe Gortner is in Shatner territory with his looney weekend warrior and Victoria Principal is really cute, but not quite convincing as a street-smart chick with an afro that’s almost as impressive as her bustline. Kennedy is solid as the cop with anger issues and is probably the most grounded performer in the cast aside from Lorne Greene.

Earthquake may not live up to the memories of a nine year old MonsterZero NJ sitting in the Park Lane Theater in Palisades Park, N.J. back in 1974, but it is still cheesy fun. We get a quintessential 70s disaster flick with cornball melodrama, a classic all-star cast and the destruction of a L.A. in the form of a model Godzilla would have loved to romp in. It brings back memories of going to the movies with my grandfather and my folks and even if it hasn’t aged well, there is heavy personal nostalgia. Not a great movie, but still a classic.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 heroic Hestons.

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