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Movie(s) of the Week: Part 18

David Mann (Dennis Weaver) calls police as the tanker comes in for the kill

David Mann (Dennis Weaver) calls police as the tanker comes in for the kill

Duel- 11-13-71

The morning following an argument with his wife, David Mann (Dennis Weaver) leaves the house to go on a routine business appointment somewhere far from home. His intention is to make it home before dark.

Unfortunately, he won't be home as planned.

After leaving the safety of Los Angeles, he heads into the desolation of desert roads on his way to the appointment, but when he passes an old decrepit tanker, his life hangs in the balance as the trucker sets out to kill him.

When he stops for gas, the tanker pulls in behind him and the gas station attendant (Tim Herbert) tells him that he needs a radiator hose. Mann tells him that he'll get one another time (for those who are really young, whenever you stopped for gas, the attendant would put the gas into your car and check under your hood for any problems). He should have heeded the attendants warning.

The truck driver becomes impatient and blows his horn to get the attendants attention and when he's through with Mann, he goes to the truck as Mann drives off.

With Mann safely on the road again, he flips through the radio stations, but with being in the desert, reception isn't that great and before he knows it, the truck is behind him forcing him to drive at over 80 mph.

While being chased, me steps on his brakes and slides into the parking lot across from Chuck's Cafe'.

In shock, he goes into the cafe' and heads to the men's room to gain his composure. The regulars give him the side eye as he comes out and takes a seat at an empty table. It's there that he spots the tanker.

Since he doesn't know what to do, he orders lunch and eyes the truckers sitting at the counter while they eat and drink. Mann's only vision of the trucker was his boots and he carefully studies the boots of those at the counter.

But who is the homicidal trucker?

Mann has fantasises of confronting the trucker, but again doesn't know who he is and when one or two of them leave, he thinks that the trucker will leave and he can finally confront him.

During one of his fantasies, the trucker does indeed leave, but he doesn't have the chance to confront him. He does chase the truck on foot but to no avail.

With the truck ahead of him, he believes that the nightmare is over and continues on his journey until he's stopped for a train. The truck pulls up behind him and nudges him toward the crossing signal.

When the train finishes crossing, he's able to speed off with the truck behind him and then it passes him disappearing once again, until it sits in a dark tunnel waiting.

Mann is flagged down by a school bus driver (Lou Frizzell) and he asks about the truck. The driver doesn't recall seeing the truck and pleads with him to help him out. Reluctantly, he does and the car is caught underneath the bumper of the bus.

Up ahead, he sees the headlights of the truck and the revving of its engine.

As the truck comes toward him, he is able to flee once again and seems to be free from harm.

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With no one in sight, he stops at The Snakerama and the old lady (Lucille Benson) encourages him to see her reptiles while he goes to call the police. Since hardly anyone comes through this part of the desert, she's happy to show off her reptiles and oddities, but that comes to a crashing halt as the truck comes for him.

After destroying The Snakerama, Mann flies out again onto the road and again with no sign of the truck, he manages to hide out off the side of the road. Due to his mental condition, he falls asleep and when he wakes up, he continues on his way thinking its once again safe.

Ahead of him is the truck as it waits for him and the duel between life and death begins as an elderly couple (Alexander Lockwood and Amy Douglass) refuse to get involved and flee the area.

With no one around and a battered car, Mann has to use his wits in the ultimate game of survival on a rural deserted highway and pray that he survives.

Dr. Janet Fraser (Lynda Carter) and husband Kevin (Parker Stevenson) are excited about being in New Zealand, but nature has other plans for the couple

Dr. Janet Fraser (Lynda Carter) and husband Kevin (Parker Stevenson) are excited about being in New Zealand, but nature has other plans for the couple

Terror Peak- 3-8-03

Kevin Fraser (Parker Stevenson) hopes to revive his thrilling adventure business by checking out a company in New Zealand, so he brings along wife Janet (Lynda Carter) and step daughter Melanie (Emily Barclay) for what he hopes will be a good business venture. And bonding with Melanie.

What they weren't planning on was the eruption of Mt. Extreme, which puts Janet back to work as she's a retired volcanologist.

Janet panics below as Rangi (William Davis) tries to calm her down and he tells her about Moana. A lightbulb goes off above Janet's head and she remembers that Melanie had an earlier encounter with her. He takes her to where she's been spotted in the past.

Upon meeting Moana (Patricia Ngawati), she pleads with her to tell her how to get to the mountain and she tells her that she knows of her heartbreak since she lost her husband in an eruption in the Philippines and is keenly aware of the eruption that killed Moana's husband and son.

With information in hand, it's up to Patrick (Peter Elliott) and former business partner Rangi to put aside their differences and help Janet get her family and Jason (Anthony Starr) off of the mountain.

Because Melanie won't listen to Kevin, she decided that spending time with Jason was the best thing to do and now the two are trapped in a cave and Kevin has to rescue them.

Mark and Valery Landis (Ken Tremblett and Joanna Pacula) say goodbye before he heads to the magnetic North Pole

Mark and Valery Landis (Ken Tremblett and Joanna Pacula) say goodbye before he heads to the magnetic North Pole

Lightning: Bolts of Destruction- 11-8-03

Sometimes disaster movies are just that- disasters.

I'm sure that if I had watched this when it first aired, I'd probably still be scratching my head as to how it had ever been made. Thankfully (?) I've been able to watch it on DVD and while I've only watched it twice, I still can't believe that I lost an hour and a half of my life.

Mark Landis (Ken Tremblett) is on his way to work on a project at the magnetic North Pole, leaving behind wife Valery (Joanna Pacula) and son Jeremy (Noel Fisher) for a few days. The parents are torn because Jeremy is a genius and they've been debating about his schooling.

Since he's a teenager, one thinks he should be in high school and the other thinks he should continue to take college classes. Really, that's not the point here, but the point is a really huge storm is on its way and since Valery is a respected meteorologist, her career is on the line as she can feel that this storm could end mankind.

In the past, she cried like Chicken Little and nothing happened in Seattle, but now, through her research, this storm is inevitable and has caused destruction elsewhere on the planet. Since it's in her backyard so to speak, she has to bring her way of thinking to the higher ups and her portable lightning tracker hasn't been wrong in predicting where the bolts will land.

With a lot of side drama, Valery and Mark have to soothe Jeremy's feelings when he finds out that he's been adopted and no one bothered to tell him. Even with lightning bolts hitting all around.

Since he had been skipping classes, he was able to come up with a solution to stop the storm and during a reprieve of wanting to know the details of his adoption, enlists the help of Mark and his company. Of course his theory hasn't been proven, but they're going to give it the old college try.

And win they do by saving mankind and the planet.

This family doesn't need a board game for family night. They just need a major storm to bring them together.

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