(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.
For this week’s Saturday Night Double Feature I decided to go for two 70s Charlton Heston top-lined apocalyptic Sci-Fi thrillers that go very well together, not only for their legendary star, but their bleak visions of the future and that they are two of my favorite 70s flicks…
THE OMEGA MAN (1971)
1971’s The Omega Man is based on Richard Matheson’s book I Am Legend and is the second film adaptation of this classic tale after the Vincent Price horror The Last Man On Earth, and wouldn’t be the last, though, it’s probably the most famous. This version has a war between China and The Soviet Union spilling over to the United States, and the rest of the world, when a germ warfare plague spreads out of control. A military scientist Dr. Robert Neville (Charlton Heston) has developed a cure, but a helicopter crash keeps him from delivering it, destroying the supply save only enough for him to inoculate himself. Now the former Colonel appears to be the only man left alive on earth save for the vampire-like “Family”, a dangerous group of plague infested victims who did not die, but have lost all skin and eye pigment and who can only dwell at night. Under the leadership of former TV anchor Matthias (Anthony Zerbe), they seek to eradicate anything that reminds them of the old world, as they see the plague as punishment for man’s sins. This makes Neville public enemy number one and they seek to kill him on a nightly basis. Just as his lonely existence and one man battle against an army of fiends has driven him to the brink of madness, Neville finds he may not be the only human left alive after all and the discovery of a small hidden group of unaffected survivors gives him new hope…and gives The Family new fuel to add to their cleansing fires, as they would see all dead.
This version is directed effectively by Boris Sagal (father of Sons Of Anarchy’s Katey Sagal) from a script by John William Corrington and Joyce H. Corrington. He succeeds in creating a very bleak world that is a virtual ghost town of empty streets and scattered corpses for his lonely hero to populate. He then gives a sense of dread to the night, as our vicious Family and their murderous intent is quickly established and we know what is coming when the sun goes down. The script gives his villains intelligence, but with a inquisitional sense of justice to which fuels their sentence of death for Neville and rejection of any hope of being cured. Sagal also gives us a man on the brink of madness whose only purpose in his secluded life is to see his enemy destroyed as they would him. Once he discovers that he is not alone, the character transforms into a man with hope and new meaning as he befriends the tough but beautiful Lisa (Rosalind Cash) and her group of survivors, who are mostly kids. Best of all, Sagal gives the movie a real sense of fun and there is a lot of action as Neville seeks to save and cure this ragtag bunch, while Matthias seeks to see them all destroyed. He takes the material seriously, but has a little fun with the action-heavy premise and lets his actors ham it up a bit. The film is so delightfully 70s, right down to Ron Grainer’s funky score and the added nostalgia really makes this a good time and adds a lot of flavor to the film as well. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s a great example of 70s sci-fi and how it was done back then.
As for the cast, Heston hams it up just enough to put a smile on your face, but not enough to make you roll your eyes… OK, maybe a little. His Neville is noble and dedicated, if not a little wacky at this point and watching him go from Family hunting soldier, to brilliant doctor, to smooth player romancing Lisa is a lot of the fun. It’s Heston at his best whether shooting up the bad guys, or trying to charm the last woman on the planet. It’s just fun to watch Heston being Heston. As for that last woman, Rosalind Cash is the quintessential 70s movie black woman…sassy, sexy and a street smart, smart ass. She’s tough, but can turn on the charm as easily as Heston and holds her own quite well with the legendary star, making Lisa a very likable character and believable that she can be lethal if provoked. Villain Anthony Zerbe really adds flavor here with his very creepy Jim Jones-like Matthias, who takes this group of mutated survivors and turns them into a murderous cult, if they weren’t creepy enough already with their white skin, hair, eyes and black robes with Cool-Ray sunglasses. He portrays a man not only driven mad by what’s happened to him, but drunk on his own power over the others and his self appointment as the hand of God cleansing what he sees as evil from an already desolated world. He is judge, jury and executioner and Zerbe, a very underrated actor, brings him just to the peak of over the top without sliding down the slope of camp. The rest of the cast have small parts, as it’s Heston’s show, such as Eric Laneuville as Lisa’s infected brother Ritchie and Paul Koslo as hippie former medical student Dutch. They are effective in their parts and their performances fit in with a film of this type from this era, a little over the top, but not too much. The cast seem to be having a good time and Sagal lets them.
Yes, I love The Omega Man, been a favorite since childhood, and it is effective yet, entertainingly comic book, too. Add in the 70s nostalgia from it’s style, clothes and tone of the performances and you get a really fun and quintessential example of 70s pre-Star Wars sci-fi and one of Heston’s most famous roles among many. A real 70s blast of a good time.
Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) creepy ‘family’ members!
Two years after Heston ruled the wasteland as The Omega Man, he returned to the bleak future scenario with another film classic, Soylent Green. The film takes place in the year 2022, in a NYC populated by over 40 million people. The world has been ruined by pollution, over-population and being raped of it’s resources and now to feed the massive population, as real food is scarce and very expensive, the Soylent corporation makes various cracker like foods designated by color that supposedly signify it’s ‘healthy’ ingredients. This includes the new and widely popular Soylent Green which is supposed made with plankton from the sea. When a high ranking Soylent board member (Joseph Cotton) is murdered, hard-nosed NY cop Thorn (Charlton Heston) is sent to investigate what looks to be a simple case of a botched burglary. Thorn knows an assassination when he sees one and the deeper he and his researcher, called a “book”, Sol (the great Edward G. Robinson in his last role) dig into the case, and the Soylent Corporation’s possible involvement, the more he’s told to back off and the more in danger his life becomes. Thorn is not going to give up and the more he digs, the closer he gets to a horrifying secret that many would kill to keep hidden.
The screenplay by Stanley R. Greenberg is based on the book Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison and vividly brought to bleak life by prolific director Richard Fleischer. Fleischer creates a filthy world where people literally live in hallways and streets and, if one’s lucky enough to afford one, a person can’t leave their apartment without stepping over his neighbors. A world where police routinely rob the apartments of murder victims and use garbage trucks with bulldozer scoops to control food riots which are almost a daily occurrence. It’s also a world where the rich and powerful live in sterile and beautiful apartments, that actually come with women literally referred to as ‘furniture’ and eat actual food as opposed to synthesized crackers. A world of few haves and many have nots. In this world he thrusts his anti-hero Thorn, a bit of a bastard, who ransacks Simonson’s (Cotton) apartment while investigating it. At heart Thorn is a good cop and the film takes us on a gritty and sometimes very violent investigation, till revealing it’s classic and horrifying truth as to what the Soylent corporation are really feeding the populace. It is a tense film and far more serious than Omega Man and gives us a far more grounded and gruff performance from the usually hammy Heston. The film has a lot of atmosphere and is very successful at creating it’s overpopulated and ruined world with a modest budget by use of clever art direction and set decoration. It is actually a disturbing vision of the future and very successful as a mystery/action flick as well, as Thorn unravels why such a powerful man was so brutally eliminated. The film also has some great 70s nostalgia to add after all these years, but to be honest, even without it I think it still would be a successful and chilling sci-fi flick on it’s own. Add a nice score by Fred Myrow and you get a really good 70s science fiction thriller that isn’t always appreciated like it should be.
The cast is great. We get a toned down Heston whose Thorn could be a villain in any other flick with his blatant theft of his case victim’s belongings, his mistreatment of anybody who annoys him, including hitting women and the apparent coldness which he accepts death, murder and the world around him. Heston gives us glimpses that this violent man still has a heart and an overall moral center, despite his immoral code at times. When he realizes what’s really going on, he selflessly put’s his own life at stake to bring the bad guys to light. A complex man and a different role for the star and he pulls it off well. Robinson is wonderful as Sol and he and Heston have a great camaraderie together on-screen and they work so well and it is, in an ironic way, a fitting final performance. Cotton has a brief appearance as Simonson, but gives him a quiet nobility as he meets his demise with acceptance and understanding. Chuck Connors is appropriately slimy as Simonson’s crooked bodyguard and a man far more dangerous than he appears. The beautiful Leigh Taylor-Young gives some nice depth to Shirl, Simonson’s former ‘furniture’ who falls for Thorn and thaws the cop’s cold heart somewhat. She and Heston also work well together and it’s a shame that once the plot really gets going, her character is sort of brushed aside. Rounding out are the always enjoyable Brock Peters as Thorn’s boss Hatcher and Lincoln Kilpatrick in a small but haunting role as a priest driven literally mad by the weight of Simonson’s confessed secrets. We even get a cameo from Star Trek’s “T’Pau” Celia Lovsky, too! A really good cast who help add to the film’s atmosphere with their characterizations.
This is obviously another 70s favorite of mine and I can be very passionate about flicks like this. They have a character that few movies today have. Soylent Green in particular really represents that pre-Star Wars era very well and is a really fun flick despite it’s bleakness. It is a very well made movie and has a solid anti-hero character brought to life by it’s star. A really enjoyable flick made even more entertaining with the added nostalgia from an era of films which they don’t make anymore.
PERSONAL NOTE: One of the things that personally disturbs me somewhat about this film is that it was made before the World Trade Center towers were finished, but in a spooky irony, takes place in a future time where they would no longer be there and thus their absence from the NYC skyline is disturbingly accurate. Got chills just writing that!
If you have time for a third 70s apocalyptic feature, add on the lesser known Yul Brynner flick The Ultimate Warrior(1975) which fits in nicely with the other two mentioned here…and I will cover that film in the coming week!
Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) soylent green crackers!
For this week’s double feature I have decided to go with two underrated and under-appreciated films from recent birthday boy, legendary filmmaker John Carpenter. These two films also happen to be his strangest and most surreal efforts. Carpenter has referred to these two films as the second and third part of his “Apocalypse Trilogy” that was started with his classic The Thing. I wasn’t sure about either when I first saw them but, both have grown on me over the years and I have now come to believe that they are not given their proper due …
PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987)
Prince of Darkness is a strange movie written by Carpenter and combining religion and theoretical quantum physics. It sounds like a contradictory combination but, it works better then you might expect. It was the first of a multi-picture deal with Alive Films where Carpenter would make 3 or 4 low budget flicks. The second and last film was the cult classic They Live, as a disagreement over the third film’s budget ended the collaboration.
The story opens with the death of a priest who presided over a small inner city parish. Enter Donald Pleasence as another priest… who’s name is never given… who discovers that the deceased priest was part of a secret society within the church called The Brotherhood Of Sleep. And this sect have been protecting a dark secret that may challenge the very core of what we have come to believe both scientifically and religiously. A team of college students, led by Professor Birack (Victor Wong) and including Brian Marsh (Jameson Parker) and Catherine Danforth (Lisa Blount), are brought to the parish to investigate a strange cylinder filled with a pulsating green liquid in a locked chamber in the basement, as well as, the scriptures that come with it. They discover that the liquid is a form of the Anti-Christ and it seeks release in order to bring it’s father, the Anti-God into our world. And as members of the team start to fall under it’s powerful thrall and they all become plagued by the same strange dreams, it’s terrifyingly obvious that the remaining team members are in a fight against an ancient evil that their science may not be able to contain.
Carpenter delivers a very odd but, effectively creepy film. It’s has an atmosphere of dread from the start to the finish and presents a very chilling scenario that there may be things in existence that neither our religion or science may be able to handle. And as these are two things people most put their faith in, it is a disturbing concept. It also presents an interesting idea that Bible prophecies may have actually been warnings sent from the future as the dream effecting all our college science students appears to be exactly that. Carpenter also presents the possibility that certain Bible stories were put in place to cover more disturbing truths as the scientific knowledge to explain or understand the reality of it was not available. Basically we were told things in fable form because the science wasn’t there to properly explain it and we weren’t advanced enough to understand it. As someone who was born and raised Christian yet has always had an interest in science, I actually have had this thought myself occasionally and it was interesting to see the master filmmaker weave this theory into his plot. Carpenter also uses his low budget well and keeps the story, for the most part contained in the church. Again working with the fear of isolation as a horde of homicidal homeless people keep our besieged team members inside. Gary B. Kibbe provides the atmospheric cinematography and would collaborate with Carpenter on 7 more projects and he gives Prince a very unsettling look yet, rich with color. This is a strange film that may not appeal to everyone, it took me a few years and repeat viewings before I fully appreciated it and it’s grown on me since I first saw it in 87 and wasn’t quite sold on it then.
The film has it’s flaws, some of the make-up FX are cheesy and some of the violent death scenes, especially those perpetrated by the army of homeless people surrounding the church, lead by Alice Cooper, seem a little out of place in a film that starts out working in subtlety. But, since it does switch gears and become more of a traditional horror film in it’s second half, as the possessed students try to kill or possess the others who are fighting against their former friends to stay alive, so, in the overall scheme they work fine. Some may not have patience for some of the science heavy dialog but, I though Carpenter’s script does a good job of giving scientific explanations for some of the more supernatural elements of the religious scripture presented in his story. Regardless of your beliefs, Carpenter poses some interesting questions and the film is really creepy throughout. And adding to the effectiveness is one of Carpenter’s spookiest scores to date.
Overall, Prince Of Darkness is perhaps Carpenter’s oddest and most daring film, in some respects but, yet another that wasn’t all that well accepted at first and now has gained a following over the years and rightfully so. This flick may not be for everyone and it’s mix of science and religion may not work for some but, I think it’s an interesting and thoroughly creepy movie that not only presents some well executed traditional horror elements but, poses some interesting questions and theories about what we believe in as well.
3 canisters of gooey pulsating dormant evil!
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (1995)
John Carpenter directs what might be his most surreal film, from a script by Michael De Luca, and the final film in Carpenter’s self denominated “Apopcalypse Trilogy” begun by The Thing and Prince Of Darkness. The Lovecraftian film opens with Insurance Investigator John Trent (Sam Neill) being dragged in a straight-jacket into an insane asylum. An interview with his psychologist, Dr. Wrenn (David Warner) reveals that Trent was on a case to discover the whereabouts of famous, best-selling horror author Sutter Cane (a creepy Jurgen Prochnow) when his publishers file a claim that the Stephen King-like author is missing and hasn’t delivered his next book, which is due to be released very soon. Trent starts to read Cane’s books as part of the investigation and starts to have strange hallucinations but, chooses to wave them off as effects of his imagination combined with Cane’s effective prose which is said to have an equal effect on his readers. He decides to find Cane’s favorite setting, the supposedly fictional town of Hobb’s End which he believes is very real and is where Cane is hiding as part of a publicity stunt. Publisher Jackson Harglow (Charlton Heston) agrees to Trent’s quest as long as he brings Cane’s editor Linda Styles (Julie Carmen) along with him. But, while the journey does indeed lead to Hobb’s End, Trent and Styles find that the town may not be all that is real from Cane’s books as they are slowly drawn into a nightmare that may suggest that the belief in Cane’s novels by his massive fan-base, may be giving life to his prose and that his influence for those books may be from darker depths then just his imagination. Can Trent and Styles escape this living nightmare or are they just characters whose fates have already been decided by the pen of Sutter Cane and the ancient evil that serves as his muse.
Carpenter presents one of his strangest and most surreal film to date and while it gets a little hard to tell whether Cane’s books are effecting reality or if we are actually watching one unfold before us and it’s taking such life that it’s characters don’t realize they’re fictional… but, maybe we’re not supposed to figure it out which, does add to it’s unsettling atmosphere. Carpenter delivers his trademark visuals supported by frequent cinematographer Gary B. Kibbe and we get glimpses of horrible things lurking in the shadows, all tentacles, eyes and teeth, much like the horrors of H.P. Lovecraft. Hobb’s End seems like a typical sleepy New England town but, Carpenter slowly reveals that there is something horribly wrong here as there is an evil underneath the Norman Rockwell exterior with it’s children blood-thirstily pursuing a frightened dog or the sweet old lady who runs the inn and keeps her frail old husband handcuffed behind the counter. When we finally meet Cane things really start to spiral into madness for Trent and Carpenter takes us on the ride with some of the most bizarre and trippiest sequences he has presented and that’s saying a lot.
Where Madness really stumbles is in some weak dialog in it’s script and in an area that Carpenter is usually strong in, casting. For characters in a John Carpenter film, I found Trent and Styles to be fairly weak… though it is not his script or they, his original characters… characters from Carpenter’s own scripts are usually memorable and strong. But, I also thought that Sam Neil and Julie Carmen, didn’t quite fit their roles properly with Carmen especially appearing very uncomfortable or unsure how to play the material. She is the weak link in the film though I don’t really feel Neill, who I am a big fan of, quite fits the role of Trent either. He just seems like he really isn’t clicking with the weird material though he is nowhere near as awkward as Carmen who is borderline annoying here. Neill at least seems to enjoy playing the ‘going mad’ part of his role while Carmen gets worse as the story gets stranger. Prochnow is the only one who seems to get what’s going on and dives in with both feet in his portrayal of the sinister Sutter Cane and Heston is a perfect fit as Arcane Publishing head Harglow. Except for a few of the supporting characters in Carpenter’s The Ward… another film not written by the master… this is one of the only Carpenter films where weak characters or miscast actors were a factor. Classic characters are Carpenter’s forte’, at least when he writes the script.
Overall, In The Mouth Of Madness is a creepy, freaky, surreal film that works far more then it doesn’t. It’s his visually and conceptually most surreal film and it is very effective in both atmosphere and delivering some really cool creatures and bloody gore. Carpenter again writes a cool score, though this time with composer Jim Lang. While it’s leads don’t seem quite right for their roles, it still provides a spooky 90+ minutes that messes with your head a bit and there’s nothing wrong with that. Another Carpenter film that has garnered a bit of a cult following and as a fan of his work, I agree this under-appreciated flick deserves it, even with it’s flaws. Also stars Bernie Casey as Trent’s boss Robinson and John Glover as an eccentric asylum employee.
Despite believing a movie should be judged based on it’s own merit and not by any gimmicks attached to it, I have always been amused and fascinated by all the gimmicks that have been used to sell movie tickets over the years. One of these gimmicks that I was able to experience personally and more than once, was called Sensurround. Sensurround was a cheesy gimmick used briefly in the mid to late 70s by Universal Pictures to accompany certain releases to add to the theater experience and give a sense of realism to those event movies. It was basically two huge amps set up in the back of theaters which would amplify the bass in certain scenes making the theater literally rumble and shake during the appropriate moments to match what was happening on the screen and make you feel more like you were there. And as a dumb kid in the 70s, I fell for it and saw all of them!… in my defense, the process did get an Academy Award so, I wasn’t the only one…
The first film to use this gimmick and the film for which it was created for was Earthquake in 1974. Earthquake followed the 70s disaster movie format perfectly by having an all-star cast, lead by Charlton Heston along with the likes of Ava Gardner, George Kennedy and Lorne Greene, with soap opera level melodramatic storylines going on between the large cast of characters, till the massive disaster struck forcing them to into a fight for survival. In this case a massive earthquake hitting L.A. and when it did, the whole theater shook. The SPFX are pretty good for the time and the flick is good cheesy 70s fun, but not quite as good as the best of those flicks like Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. When Earthquake premiered on TV, certain radio stations broadcasted the audio to be played while watching the movie to simulate the Sensurround effect. The first and best use of the short lived gimmick.
rating of 3 and 1/2!
The second movie to be released in Sensurround was the all-star casted 1976 war drama Midway. Again, a who’s who of stars, including Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn and Toshiro Mifune, were brought together in a re-telling of the Battle of Midway where a hopelessly out-numbered American Navy (what was left after Pearl Harbor) handed the Japanese fleet their first major defeat of WWII. Most of the battle footage was stock footage from earlier films or actual colorized war footage spliced in between the new footage of the cast. The film was a bit long winded and filled with the usual melodrama for films of this era, but wasn’t bad overall and made decent use of the Sensurround sound system during the battle sequences.
rating of 3
The third film to use the Sensurround process was an odd choice. 1977’s Rollercoaster, despite being marketed like a disaster film, wasn’t an action flick, but a suspense thriller about a mad bomber (Timothy Bottoms) who is targeting roller coasters and is being hunted by an amusement park ride inspector (George Segal) who is doing a far better job at it than the F.B.I. It’s actually a fairly entertaining and suspenseful thriller, but one has to question the need to use this gimmick here other then Universal not having enough faith in the film to release it on it’s own. Good flick, but weak use of the gimmick as it only functions to enhance a few scenes featuring roller coasters and the bombers handiwork.
rating of 2 and 1/2
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1979)
The fourth and final film to use the Sensurround gimmick is the 1979 Battlestar Galactica. A bit more appropriate choice of application then Rollercoaster, but still not as good as in Earthquake. Basically all Universal did was re-edit the three hour pilot that was aired on US TV and release it in theaters and attach the Sensurround gimmick to it. This theatrical version was released in ’78 as a movie in Canada and Europe, where they were not getting the TV show, but then Universal released it in Sensurround in the states in May 1979, to try to recoup it’s expensive cost as the show tanked and was canceled. The only differences are, it moves quicker then the bloated 3 hour TV episode and the villainous traitor Baltar is executed by the Cylons instead of given his own ship like in the show. As a use of Sensurround it was on par with Midway to enhance the battle sequences and the ship hurtling through space.
rating of 3
EXTRA MONSTERZERO NJ TRIVIA!:
While it was never made, when Paramount and Universal were both preparing their own remakes of King Kong at the same time in the mid 70s, the plan was for Universal’s The Legend Of King Kong to be released in Sensurround as well. Paramount won the battle, apparently with some cash going Universal’s way, but the audience lost the war as their remake is notoriously terrible and they had the audacity to make an even worse sequel, King Kong Lives, 10 years later. But hearing King Kong roar and beat his chest in Sensurround might have been cheesy fun! We’ll never know as Sensurround disappeared and Dolby Sound had arrived with Star Wars and seemed to accomplish the same thing.