Carry On Abroad (1972, dir. Gerald Thomas)

Assorted Brits book onto a package break to the resort of Elsbels. Single entendre-tastic and somewhat shopworn series entry, focused – like others of its time – on holidaying to set up character arcs, innuendo and basic gags. Almost a subversion of the disaster genre: Peter Butterworth is on fine form here.

Here’s the trailer.

The Ice Road (2021, dir. Jonathan Hensleigh)

Trucker brothers transport key equipment over treacherous ice roads to rescue trapped miners. Straightforward thriller with action elements, riffing on Hawksian reality TV and The Wages of Fear. Somewhat perfunctory in plotting and direction, though a decent cast, location shooting, and some character elements add value.

Here’s the trailer.

Awake (2021, dir. Mark Raso)

A dysfunctional mother tries to protect her unique child after a freak event which prevents people from sleeping. Patchy Bird Box/Children of Men variant that struggles to tell its miniseries story within a movie running time. A decent (if not always well-used) cast and a few nicely weird moments help, tho.

Here’s the trailer.

Marooned [AKA Space Travelers] (1969, dir. John Sturges)

A US space vehicle suffers a failure prior to re-entry: NASA works on solving the problem. Stolid SF drama trying to present a realistic version of an Apollo-ish space race-era disaster possibility. Slow and serious, and not especially dramatic as a consequence.

Here’s the trailer.

The Towering Inferno (1974, dir. John Guillermin)

A new San Francisco skyscraper catches fire on opening: a firefighter and the building’s architect work together. About the best of the 70s cycle of disaster movies: Inferno is star-packed, properly spectacular and hubris-tastic – if slightly po-faced – showcasing fun practical effects and stunt work.

Here’s the trailer.

Army of the Dead (2021, dir. Zack Snyder)

A crew is assembled to pull a vault heist against the clock in a zombie-infested Las Vegas. High-concept, messy, bloated and undisciplined action-horror. There’s a tight 95 minute flick in the material: while this is undemanding genre fun while it’s on, it’s second-hand stuff all the way.

Here’s the trailer.

The Abyss (1989, dir. James Cameron)

A team of deep sea drilling experts attempt a rescue on a sunk nuclear submarine. Overambitious but in parts dazzling SF/action hybrid. There’s too much going on, but the film looks great, feels as authentic as it might, and is still impressive in technical respects.

Here’s the trailer.

Stowaway (2021, dir. Joe Penna)

An injured technician is found aboard a Mars mission: a dilemma ensues. Contrived hard SF drama that struggles to maximize the possibilities of either its premise or the ensuing threat. Not really a stowaway either. Good-looking and well acted, though. Nevertheless, Marooned did this better back in 1969.

Here’s the trailer.

Prophecy (1979, dir. John Frankenheimer)

A doctor investigating environmental harm in Maine finds that pollution is causing animal mutations. Daft, naive, though well-meaning studio eco-horror juggling post-Jaws monster mayhem, evil corporations, First Peoples legends, white saviour storytelling, and some fun effects and stunt work. A big ol’ mess.

Here’s the trailer.

Death Ship (1980, dir. Alvin Rakoff)

A cruise vessel sinks after a collision: survivors find shelter on a ship that may be haunted by Nazi ghosts. Clumsy, dull, and poorly-directed horror/disaster hybrid. A couple of strong ideas lurk, but this is lumpen stuff that doesn’t have much in the way of focus or story.

Here’s the trailer.