Tidal waves, fires, earthquakes - the world is a dangerous place, full of natural disasters! And on this episode of Planet 8, we talk about three of our favorite disaster movies: The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Submersion of Japan, aka Tidal Wave (1973/1975), and The Towering Inferno (1974). All three are excellent examples of the disaster genre, which came into its own in the 1970s, but is still going strong today. Disaster films take the real world and flip it sideways -sometimes literally - turning a realistic situation into a frightening fantasy of survival. Like fantasy and science fiction films, these movies also rely on special effects to convince the audience that the characters are in peril.
Karen starts us off by remembering The Poseidon Adventure. The brainchild of producer Irwin Allen (you'll hear that name again), it was a big Hollywood epic at a time when the studios were putting out smaller, more intimate, and cheaper stories. Poseidon brought big name stars and spectacular thrills to the screen, even winning a special achievement in special effects award from the Academy Awards. It also ushered in the genre of disaster films.
Disaster films were not exclusive to the US, as we discover when Bob tells us about Submersion of Japan, later released in the US as Tidal Wave. This film depicted an apocalyptic vision of the entire island of Japan being wiped out by a massive tidal wave. It was a huge hit in Japan, and two years later, Roger Corman released a much-altered version which cut a bunch of footage and replaced it with footage of Lorne Greene! Bob wants to thank Oki Miyano for additional details on the film.
Larry brings us home with another Irwin Allen spectacular, The Towering Inferno. The backstory of how two books were combined and Allen finagled his way into making the film is pretty amazing. People had questioned if Allen could duplicate his success with Poseidon Adventure - with Towering Inferno, he succeeded, both at the box office and by winning a Best Picture award from the Academy.
We round out the episode with our Sensor Sweep, this time focusing on some of the latest things we are watching or reading, like The Last of Us on HBO. Maybe you're watching some of the same things!
We hope you enjoyed this episode. Let us know some of your favorite disaster films by reaching out to us on our various platforms:
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