Let’s be honest, we all love a good disaster movie. Violent earthquakes, uncontrollable storms, and raging fires will always fill seats. However, some movies’ biggest disasters occur in the writers’ room or in post production. In honor of these catastrophes, DMG Entertainment highlights the six most disastrous disaster films to hit the big screen. So strap yourself in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
1. VOLCANO (1997)
Director: Mick Jackson
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffman, Don Cheadle
Summary: When Los Angeles’ La Brea Tar Pits strangely forms into a raging volcano, DEM director Mike Roark (Tommy Lee Jones) and geologist Dr. Amy Barnes (Anne Heche) must rush into action to stop turtle-paced lava from engulfing the city. Can they come up with a hysterically unbelievable solution to save Los Angeles? You be the judge!
Here Comes the Cringe: ROARK: We’re going to put as many people in front of it as it takes. Listen up, people! Let me tell you what’s south of us: no more museums, no more department stores, just homes! People! If we turn and run now, they’re going to be defenseless! You don’t like my plan? That’s good. Give me another plan, but don’t tell me we’re backing out!”
Fun Fact: Some saw the disaster before it happened. The lead role was initially offered to Ed Harris and Bill Pullman, but both backed out. Rotten Tomatoes score = 44%.
2. TWISTER (1996)
Director: Jan DeBont
Starring: Bill Paxton, Helent Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jami Gertz
Summary: When Oklahoma’s “Tornado Alley” creates a series of tornadoes, which remarkably lasts 113 minutes, storm chaser Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) drags her ex-husband Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) and his new girlfriend Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz) towards a category F-5 tornado. No, this isn’t a revenge flick. She just wants to “test out” a new kind of weather system. Does the new weather system work? Can they survive an F-5 tornado unharmed? Will Bill and Jo get back together? Check the nearest toilet bowl for answers.
Here Comes the Cringe: BILL: Jo. Things go wrong. You can’t explain it, you can’t predict it. Killing yourself won’t bring your dad back. I’m sorry that he died, but that was a long time ago. You gotta move on. Stop living in the past, and look what you got right in front of you.
JO: What are you talking about?
BILL: Me, Jo.
Fun Fact: One of the original taglines was “It sucks”, but producers felt that it would be too easy for disappointed critics/audiences to blast the film. They guessed correctly. While TWISTER was a box office success, it only has a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes making this one of the best, of the worst.
3. 2012 (2009)
Director: Ronald Emmerich
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover
Summary: After a team of geophysicists discover the Mayan prophecy was correct, G8 leaders decide to build themselves the ultimate yacht to ring in 2012. Years later, divorced and struggling writer Jack Curtis (John Cusack) hears about the Mayan prophecy and tries to crash the G8’s New Year’s party. Can CGI compensate for story? Find the answer here!
Here Comes the Cringe: When an earthquake hits the Sistine Chapel, a crack forms which separates God from Adam in the Creation of Adam.
Fun Fact: North Korea banned this film. No, the film wasn’t THAT bad. The year 2012 marked Kim Il-Sung’s 100th birthday. Another one of those weird twists of disaster movie fate, 2012 made tons at the box office but only gets a lowly 39% on Rotten Tomatoes.
4. THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS (1963)
Director: Steve Sekely
Starring: Nicole Maurey, Howard Keel, Janette Scott
Summary: After a blinding meteorite shower spawns flesh-eating plants called Triffids, sightless citizens must fend for themselves and navigate around murderous vegetation. Can humanity survive this laughable adversary? There’s only one way to find out!
Here Comes the Cringe: MR. COKER: Most plants thrive on animal waste, but I’m afraid this mutation possesses an appetite for the animal itself.
Fun Fact: The original film was too short, so they needed to add additional scenes. The crew hired extra staff, including a new director, to shoot enough footage for a full feature film.
5. POSEIDON (2006)
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum, Kevin Dillon, Fergie
Summary: On New Year’s Eve, the luxury cruise liner ‘Poseidon’ is capsized by a rogue wave, gravely endangering the 2,000 people onboard. Passengers must navigate their way through dangerous obstacles to escape the capsized ship. Can a group of eccentric passengers survive the cliché disaster? Waste 98 minutes of your life to find out!
Here Comes the Cringe: [after the ship capsizes, ROBERT asks to go to the ballroom]
DYLAN JOHNS: You suddenly have the urge to go dancing?
Fun Fact: Infections quickly spread among cast and crew members from being in dirty water for long too long. This remake of the classic disaster flick THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, falls short earning a sad 33% on Rotten Tomatoes compared with 79% for the 1972 original.
6. AVALANCHE (1978)
Director: Corey Allen
Starring: Mia Farrow, Rock Hudson, Robert Forster
Summary: In the Colorado Rockies, skiers, snowmobilers and other vacationers enjoy a beautiful skiing resort. Suddenly a helicopter crashes into the resort’s hilltop, unleashing a giant avalanche. Will David Shelby (Rock Hudson) and Caroline Brace (Mia Farrow) rehash their romance and make it out alive? Watch this disaster to find the answers… and how a studio can waste $6.5 million.
Here Comes the Cringe: Aside from Rock’s bad rug (see above)…most of the film is totally cringe-worthy. However, the real avalanche stock footage is mildly entertaining to watch.
Fun Fact: Even though it was filmed on location in Durango, Colorado, the film crew used Styrofoam to augment the ‘snow effects’ of the avalanche. However, they never thought of cleaning it up. By spring, the town was still discovering Styrofoam everywhere.
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