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Disaster Porn Saturday Night: Avalanche

Hanging onto her dignity/career Caroline Brace (Mia Farrow) hopes for a miracle

Hanging onto her dignity/career Caroline Brace (Mia Farrow) hopes for a miracle

As the 1970's were coming to a close, disaster movies were basically crap and everything associated with them started coming down the mountain faster than the styrofoam snow used in this movie.

With twenty five plots going on you can be sure of one thing: the snow wins.

Caroline Brace (Mia Farrow) has been summoned to her ex-husband David Shelby's (Rock Hudson) winter wonderland resort for the first annual Shelby Games (I'm not sure if this is the correct term, but there's a Shelby trophy up for grabs).

Anyway, top athletes are also invited to attend, including Bruce Scott (Rick Moses) the stud of the ski set. Women throw themselves at him, which infuriates Tina (Cathey Paine) Bruce's married squeeze. Tina's married to Mark (Barry Primus) who's covering the games and her affair with Bruce is an open secret since she pretty much embarrasses both men.

Then there's figure skater Cathy Jordan (Pat Egan) who's losing confidence in her routine, even though rival skater Cindy Perpiche (as herself?) boosts her ego and compliments her at every turn. While Cathy is timid, Cindy loves to have fun and gets down at the party the night before the opening games and ends up in bed with Bruce.

Feeling frisky (and braving a snowstorm) Tina sneaks into Bruce's room and finds the two. He sends her on her way, half naked, back into the snowstorm only to be rescued by Mark.

Caroline breaks free from David and leaves the big party with photographer Nick Thorne (Robert Forster) and they head back to the cabin that he built for a little snowstorm romp.

The next morning, hangovers are being nursed, but David's mother Florence (Jeanette Nolan) keeps the party going with her assigned "chaperone" McDade (Steve Franken). She's happy as long as the Bloody Mary's keep flowing!

Since Nick has been battling with David over snow safety, he stole some explosives from park ranger Phil's (Jerry Douglas) truck and in the early morning has gone out to shoot at the snow shelves, leaving Caroline alone.

The games begin and everyone is having a great time until a small plane crashes into the side of the mountain causing the avalanche. Everything for David's games would have been fine if he hadn't demanded some paperwork get to him ASAP, but now they have to face the consequences of the deadly snow.

While this isn't the best disaster movie around, it does come with a few firsts.

This is the first movie to include nudity (it is a Roger Corman film) and if you look very carefully while David and Caroline are slow dancing, you can see (what I think is) a gay couple dancing just behind Caroline.

One of the other firsts occurs when the avalanche strikes the spectators at the ice rink. There's a close up of a little girl and then she's shown again getting struck by the tons of snow. Sure there have been disaster movies where you wished something happened to the kid, but this girl had nothing to do with any of the plots of the movie. It was probably used as shock value.

This hasn't been a favorite movie of mine since it takes forever for the destruction to occur and there really aren't any characters worth rooting for. It's also bad for reviving one character from death, only to have the ambulance skid off a road and fall into a canyon where it explodes.

I remember when it came out that I had to go see it, but it wasn't out more than a week and when I did buy the DVD, I wished an avalanche would have taken me from my misery.

However, the tie-in is much better and does fill in the plot holes.

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