Disaster Movie

The genre.....

Not this.

Just The Facts

  1. Since the dawning of the film industry, the disaster genre has existed.
  2. It was popularized in the 1970s and again in the 1990s.
  3. Titanic is the only disaster movie to claim Best Picture at the Oscars (As well as ten other awards).

Exploding in a Theater Near You!

In 1895, film went mainstream (Granted it was only ten seconds of horses galloping, factory workers, or people kissing). Some ten years laters, the public was introduced to "Fire!", a five minute silent drama which is considered the first disaster film. Well sure enough, it caught on. Some five more years later and viola, the first "Epic Disaster" movies are created. The List included: Atlantis (1913), Titanic (1913), and some Italian movie about Pompeii (1913). The Public liked it.

Beats watching five minutes of this.

Wait! What's a Disaster Movie?!!

Good question. Now sit your ass down! Disaster movies are generally centered around a major "Disaster"

Uh-- No. This isn't considered a disaster.

The "Disaster" is generally something natural like a volcano, hurricane, twister, and what not. If it is however, centered around a man-made disaster, the majority of the movie has to be centered around it. Otherwise, The Final Destination Series, Unbreakable, and Die Hard would also be considered disaster movies.

Also--- involvement with extraterrestrial activity generally qualifies in the disaster genre: "Independence Day", "War of the Worlds", "Armageddon"

Howard the Duck

1920-1969: When You're Quake Was Merely a Tremor.

In the 1920s it was all religious epics. In the 1930s it was all musicals. In the 1940s it was all Oscar material. In the 1950s it was all Westerns. In the 1960s it was teens being rebelious. Every now and then during that era, you'd encounter an occasional Giant Ape wreaking havoc, maybe an earthquake if you were lucky, but this time was more of a Renaissance for this Genre.

None a bigger disaster than this

Renaissance meaning, exploration (and exploitation) of this genre. In the 1930's, King Kong was praised for its effects, and considered the first Successful Disaster Movie. In 1936, the public was introduced to "San Fransisco" dealing with the Great Earthquake of 1906, and hailed for its engineering effects. In the 1940s, it faded into obscurity. It was the dark ages basically. It seemed dead until revived to much success with the birth of the "Air Emergency" genre, including: Zero Hour and The High and the Mighty. The public also had a fetish for giant monster movies....

And I have no clue why.

The Seventies: The Disaster Film Golden Age

Airport, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Hindenburg Disaster, The Poseidon Adventure, Rollercoaster, The Swarm, Meteor, The China Syndrome.... The List goes on forever. In 1970, Airport was released. It happened to pick up Oscar Attention, and wouldn't you know it, Helen Hayes took home her second Academy Award. In 1972, The Poseidon Adventure comes out. Booyah! Box-Office Gold. In 1974, we were introduced to Earthquake and The Towering Inferno which both recieved Oscar Credit for their special effects. This was the time to show public the "What-ifs". What if a ship was overturned in a tidal wave? What if a hotel caught on fire with people trapped on the top? What if a terrorist was planting bombs on rollercoasters because he knew it was the most open target? The answer was in the movies. The public got all that they asked for. But then they got bored......

Burt Lancaster? Boring? Naah---

1980-2010: The Impact.... (The Deep Impact)

The 1980s were eerily reminiscent of the 1940s.... But the 1990s were similar to 1970s... Proof that disaster movie popularity changes every ten years. With the 90s, we had Backdraft, Twister, Armageddon, Deep Impact

Pauly Shore

Although popularity has decreased in the 2000s, it's a safe bet they'll be back again in, oh, maybe five-ten years.

And by the way, I'm not going to mention "Disaster Movie" because it kills cinema to even mention it.