42nd Street Cinema

Cyclone (1978)

René Cardona Jr.'s insipidly ambitious disaster exploitation picture Cyclone.

Starring: Arthur Kennedy, Carroll Baker, Lionel Stander, Andrés García, Hugo Stiglitz, Mario Almada and Olga Karlatos.

After a powerful storm system knocks down an airplane from the sky into the sprawling ocean and a local fishing vessel is sunken, the survivors are forced to take shelter on a small tourist boat. Arguing and chaos ensues as the group run out of food and water, with seemingly no rescue in sight.

Cyclone is an Italian-Mexican co-production and a prime example of a director trying to accomplish too much in one feature. The combination of both boat and aeroplane catastrophe with some crude cannibalism, human-on-animal violence and animal-on-human violence thrown in for good measure sounds great on paper and perhaps in the right hands could have been a glorious cinematic experience. Instead, Cardona Jr.'s final piece is a mixed bag of purely enjoyable exploitation filmmaking hampered by terrible dubbing and an awful soundtrack that constantly repeats the same piece of music.



While the narrative is straightforward, not a lot happens once the survivors are aboard the glass bottomed cruiser. Everyone sits around staring at each other while they literally starve to death. Once a few of the weaker survivors finally snuff it, the crew consider resorting to cannibalism in an act of self preservation. An odd scene ensues, involving the lead character deliberating the ethics of anthropophagy, as if Cardona Jr. was trying to make a philosophical point. Their debate is mainly disparaged by Arthur Kennedy's character, known only as 'The Priest'. A perfect segue onto my next point, the characters. Cyclone is overpopulated by poorly developed characters, in fact, they had so little depth that to be honest, I didn't really care what happened to any of them.

However, after a long period of watching people sit around wasting away, contemplating if anything else is going to happen. Cardona Jr. pulls his finger out and with it follows a last bastion of action. Yes, as a last resort the rich girl's dog, oddly named Christmas, is slaughtered and his meat is used as bait. This sets in motion the closing half of the film, in which we see sharks devour clothes and packets of blood.

Regarding the dog 'Christmas', there is an ongoing debate between me and Nigel of Italian Film Review, as to the validity of a real dog being used in the scene. Anyone, who wants to add their two cents feel free to leave a comment below.

2 Stars

7 comments:

Nigel Maskell said...

I watched this again recently- still unsure about the dog. Have read claims it was a puppet- but this claim wasn't backed by any sources, it looks pretty shocking though

tladner300moviebuff said...

the dog scene was very disturbing for me,if i was aboard that boat and somebody killed my dog, i would have killed the son of a bitch, and i'm not talking a quick merciful kill, i'd dismembowel him,but thats just me lol. and why didn't anyone kick that guy's ass?!

MartinUthero said...

it would be very interesting to watch a movie like that in our times, I mean it could be funny don't you think?? I do think so because many things, even beliefs from those years have changed

viagra online said...

hey I totally agree with that guy above me, Martin Uthero, I also consider that if someone watches that movie today, that person will laugh and it would be so funny for him or her

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price per head bookie service said...

I wonder why I did not knew this before.... it was a good read. You are working on a very good blog.. I look forward to visit your blog again...2 starts is my vote for this movie :p

Anonymous said...

Get a grip! It's a Dog

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