Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cyclone (1978)

I picked this one up, thinking it was going to be a Mexican Jaws ripoff. I was surprised to learn that its more of a natural disaster type film then an all out shark attack flick. I was even more surprised at how well it was executed.

When a tornado strikes an airplain full of passengers comes crashing down into the ocean. The survivors are left stranded in the middle of the sea. They are pulled onto a boat filled with more stranded victims of the storm. Naturally the boat runs out of gas and it is a race against time. Will they starve to death? Will the injured bleed to death? Will they be eaten by sharks? Or will they be rescued? Cyclone plays like an exhausting drama. The men, women and children aboard the boat are dieing of starvation and dehydration. They are forced to do things that go against their moral and religious standards in order to survive.

The victims slowly start to turn against each other and they seem to be hanging on to life by a thread. One scene in particular stirred up some controversy when one of the men on the boat slits a dogs throat out of survival instinct. If they eat dog in Thailand, why not in Mexico? Apparently some were outraged by this scene and while it was done very realistically the blood looks more like that 70's Dawn Of The Dead blood then anything real. Either way it makes for a very memorable scene and for me personally it makes the film well worth owning. Aside from the doggy meal we are treated to a bit of cannibalism and eventually the shark attack massacre.

Cyclone was directed by Rene Cardona Jr. who's father was responsible for such delights as Night Of The Bloody Apes and various Santo & friends Lucha Libre films. Cardona Jr. would go on to do more Nature Gone Wrong films such as Beaks and Tintorera : Killer Shark which I hear plays more like a true Jaws ripoff. None the less Cardona Jr. makes a realistic and believable drama. He combines natural disaster stock footage with nicely executed staged storms. We see land slides, violent tidal waves, electrical storms and some really nice under water photography. Still Cyclone is not without flaw. The film tends to run a little bit to long. In its uncut form it clocks in at 118 minutes but thanks to the decent budget and the believable actors (Hugo Stiglitz) the running time is not unbearable.

Cyclone is one of the more entertaining natural disaster films. It has a hint of exploitation to it and is far superior to something like Open Water.

No comments:

Post a Comment