Avalanche (1978)

The vacationers at a winter wonderland struggle to survive after an avalanche of snow crashes into their ski resort. Their holiday then turns into a game of survival.
— A great logline for an awful movie

Ugh. I might as well . . . after reviewing the falling rock that was Embryo (as part of our month-long blowout with Mill Creek’s B-Movie Blast film set), I had this second Rock Hudson-foray into the horror/sci-fi genres stuck, unable to eject from the ol’ cerebral VCR (but I saw this one at the Twin Cinema, ugh). I know . . . I know, the guy who was in the war drama A Farewell to Arms (1957), and the romantic romps Pillow Talk (1959), Come September (1961), and Send Me No Flowers (1964). Hey, at least Rock didn’t convince Doris Day to pull a “Joan Crawford” (how can we forget her 1970’s Trog) and join him on a frolic through Roger Corman’s falling (yellow) Styrofoam.

I know! Rock Hudson and Roger Corman . . . doing a movie together!

Ugh. Even the theatrical one-sheet sucks yellow snow, because . . .

. . . New World stole the layout from Universal.

So, instead of ol’ Doris, Roc n’ Rog shanghaied Woody Allen’s muse Mia Farrow as their snow bunny in this disaster of a disaster flick . . . and the guy that Tarantino made everyone remember always was a top-notch actor, Robert Forster. (As goofy as it was, Alligator is a Forster classic; did you ever see his work in Outside Ozona? Amazing.) What exactly was it about this Roger Corman production for his New World Pictures that made Rock and Mia sign on the dotted line? I can understand Paul Newman — considering it was an Irwin Allen production (The Poseidon Adventure) by Warner Bros. — hornswoggled on the dotted line for the disaster-of-disaster doppelganger When Time Ran Out (1980). But why would a major star, okay, granted a fading star, but still . . . sign up for a quickie with quickie Corman, the guy infamous for recycling footage and music from his own films, this film’s $6.5 million budget, be damned.

What a crap-ass trailer. You can smell the B-Movie Doberman poo all over it.

Now, I know what you’re saying, as Sam already brought it up: This review is breaking rank with this week’s “Post-Apoc” tribute week (an odds n’ sods catch-all to get to those post-’90s flicks we didn’t include during our month-long “Atomic Dustbin” tribute to ’70s and ’80s post-apoc films). Avalanche is a disaster flick of the Earth-goes-wild variety, à la Earthquake, and not of the man-goes-wild-and-nucs-the-joint or God-goes-wild-and-tosses-comic-debris variety, you say. We want David DeCoteau post-apocs starring Mario Lopez and Richard Grieco! We want snow sharks! Who you jivin’ with this cosmik debris, R.D.?

Hey, send your complaints to the Grand Wazoo and tell it to the residents of Durango, Colorado, who, after filming completed and the spring thaw hit, were left with the “post-apoc” clean up of the special effects Styrofoam used to augment — remember, this is a pre-CGI disaster — the “snow effects” of the avalanche. Did Corman donate his $2 million network television pre-sale for the ecological disaster? (I don’t know, did he?) But isn’t that pretty much what you’d expect from a production that recycles (stock) music from Corman’s previous-year Smokey and the Bandit-rip Grand Theft Auto, then sells its original-effects footage as stock to the production of Meteor (1979) . . . hey, wait a minute . . . Meteor was an AIP production . . . and Corman was one of that company’s principals.

Watch out where the Doberman that Rock grew in Embryo, goes. Don’t eat the yellow snow, Nanook.

Oh, yeah. The “plot,” as it were . . . as if that logline above wasn’t enough: Rock is the wealthy, cocky owner of a new ski-resort built in an area environmentalists consider “uninhabitable” due to the area’s heavier-than-normal snow fall and, as result, its propensity for avalanches (it’s all about that fresh powder). Red tape cutting, bribes, and cons ensue, along with another “red tape” cutting for the grand opening (or maiden voyage of The Poseidon or grand opening of The Glass Tower, if you will), at which time, nature goes wild.

What crappy acting. You can smell the rotted, Razzie fruits.

LOOK OUT BELOW! Another awful avalanche of the Twin Cinema days of yore. Again, watch out where the Huskies go.

And to the celluloid gods: we pray ye does not include this on a Mill Creek box set; for we never want to see this excuse of a movie ever again. Thank you, oh, holy analog one. Oh, Tubi, if ye must. . . .

We’ve since reviewed this again (with a less-unhinged take) as result of our December 2022 week dedicated to “Disaster Films” for the holiday season. No, we’re not wishing anything bad happen to Mother Earth, really. We love you, Santa! Anyway, we’re running the gamut from the ’60s to today with reviews for Crack in the World (1965), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Silent Running (1972), Earthquake (1974), The Towering Inferno (1974), and the TV flick City on Fire (1979), along with the modern takes on the genre with The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Geostorm (2017), and Moonfall (2022). If you need a more “realistic” documentary take of a disaster flick: check out The Late Great Planet Earth. Oh, and Japan got into the disaster game with the pretty decent Virus, aka Day of Resurrection (1980).

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.