Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The 1970s brought us many new things to the popular culture--bad suits, overstyled hair (for men!), and repetitive music--but one of the lasting legacies is the "disaster film". These were films that featured large casts of well known actors, cheesy-but-probably-state-of-the-art-for-its-time special effects, and some impending disaster that would befall the protagonists resulting in death and destruction and heroism. Good examples of this are "Towering Inferno" (with Paul Newman, Richard Chamberlain, millions more--involving a fire in a high-rise building), "Earthquake" (with Charlton Heston, Victoria Principal, millions more--involving you guessed it, an earthquake), and "The Swarm" (with Michael Caine, Katherine Ross, millions more--involving a swarm of killer bees). Taken together, disaster films tought kids growing up in the '70s the following:

1) There are zillions of things out there that are going to kill you. Might as well get high. On the drugs!

2) Blood looks like bright red paint.

3) Evil corporations or the military are behind most disasters--curse those rich/militaristic bastards!

4) Some damn little kid or his damn dog are going to make things worse.

5) But fortunately there's a handsome hero who works as a professor or architect or some other noble profession (but definitely not a soldier, lawyer, businessman, etc.) who will save the day and fall in love with the one pretty woman who happens to be single.


  1. I am shocked by the glaring omission of The Poseidon Adventure!

    I've never heard of The Swarm. It sounds kind of awesome.

  2. When I said "awesome", I meant "like a shitty The Birds rip-off". That was clear, right?

  3. J, the Poseidon Adventure certainly would belong on the list--a freaking cruise ship that gets forced upside down for the remainder of the film by a tidal wave! Not to mention the "Airport" films (for which the spoof "Airplane" was the ideal sendup). The "Swarm" is a must-see--it has more cliches per reel than any film I've seen.