Terror on the 40th Floor (1974)

How can this be a ripoff of The Towering Inferno when it came out a few months before that movie? I assume that they read in Variety about that film and said, “Let’s get this on TV in a hurry!” That’s not a bad thing, though.

Director Jerry Jameson made HurricaneHeatwave!The Deadly Night TowerSuperdomeRaise the Titanic! and Airport ’77, so he knows all about disasters (he also made The Bat People and The Secret Night Caller, so he’s a favorite around here). He’s working from a script by Jack Turley (Prey for the WildcatsEmpire of the Ants) and Edward Montagne.

A Christmas party goes on way too long, which leads to a fire starting in the basement and making it to, well, the fortieth floor. But if you love disaster movies, you know that the plot is secondary to the cast of stars who will be sacrificed for our entertainment.

This one has Dynasty star John Forsythe, TV movie vet Joseph Campanella, Lynn Carlin, Anjanette Comer from The BabyMonday Night Football announcer Don Meredith, Pippa Scott, Bon Hastings (who also faced death in The Poseidon Adventure) and more. Yeah, it’s not the kind of cast that Irwin Allen would have assembled. Even stranger, only one person dies. Come on — have we learned nothing from movies like Earthquake, where Hollywood favorites are snuffed out with impunity?

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.

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