Saturday 11 May 2024

Movie Review: Avalanche (1978)

Genre: Disaster Thriller  
Director: Corey Allen  
Starring: Rock Hudson, Mia Farrow, Robert Forster, Jeanette Nolan  
Running Time: 91 minutes  

Synopsis: Skiers, figure skaters, and ski mobile racers gather for sports activities at the luxurious Colorado ski resort built by business tycoon David Shelby (Rock Hudson) in the shadow of a dangerous mountain. The attendees include David's ex-wife Caroline (Mia Farrow), his mother (Jeanette Nolan), a television reporter (Barry Primus), a champion skier (Rick Moses), and environmentalist Nick Thorne (Robert Forster), whose avalanche warnings are ignored. When a small plane crashes into the mountain after a snow storm, a deadly avalanche is indeed triggered.

What Works Well: From among a cast of actors who ought to have known better, Robert Forster suffers the least embarrassment, and the running time is mercifully short.

What Does Not Work As Well: Low budget producer Roger Corman joins the 1970s disaster movie cycle, and scrounges enough funds to attract a couple of marquee stars. But it's unclear if Rock Hudson (channeling William Shatner) and Mia Farrow (setting a speed record between F. Scott Fitzgerald '74 and Corman '78) ever fully read the script. They conclude this disaster exchanging gooey looks over champagne while surrounded by a mountain of corpses. The laughable special effects include prominent use of feathers and Styrofoam cubes, the actors struggle with throwaway dialogue, and no characters generate sufficient interest for anyone to care who lives and who dies.

Conclusion: Swept into the abyss of awfulness.

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