Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas... Kinda: Terror on the 40th Floor (1974)

Terror on the 40th Floor

Network: NBC
Original Air Date: September 17th, 1974

What's Christmas without eggnog, mistletoe and a burning skyscraper? I know, what's the point of celebrating without these? If sex, drink and death are your Modus Operandi, look no further than this tale of yuletide disaster known as Terror on the 40th Floor. OK, please look a little further, because Towering Inferno this ain’t.

Work it!

It's Christmas Eve and the office party on the 40th floor is plugging along. That drunken guy who loves to tell everyone he loves them has just given his groan-inducing speech and now the employees are starting to pair off or leave for better parties. Three potential couples and one older broad all end up in the VP's office, drinking and, ahem, spreading merriment throughout the land. Too bad a fire has started on one of the floors below. Now the smoke has reached them and it will be a true test of their survival instincts to make it through (hopefully there is a raise in there somewhere!).
Ewww, action-packed... for about 5 minutes!

The cast is full of great faces like Joseph Campanella, Anjanette Comer and John Forsythe, but the script just isn't up to par. There a couple of OMG moments, but mostly the cast just meanders around as the blaze moves through the building. To fill up the running time, there’s plenty of flashbacks and some footage of firefighters, uh, fighting fires. Anjanette is great as the swinging secretary with eyes for the VP and she looks simply stunning in her red dress. And that’s about the only nice thing I have to say about this fiasco. I know, Terror on the 40th Floor isn’t here to defend itself so I’ll just leave it at that.

Or better yet, let me just say I chose this film because Home for the Holidays seemed such an obvious TV horror movie pick. Next time, I'll go for the obvious.


Cindylover1969 said...

The gulf between this rubbish and "The Towering Inferno" is summed up by the opening; "The Towering Inferno" has a helicopter trip across San Francisco accompanied by swaggering John Williams music, "Terror On The 40th Floor" has a slow cityscape pan with Vic Mizzy (!) furnishing something slow and melancholy. Oh dear.

Emmanuel Williams said...

Agreed with you. The huge difference with Terror On The 40th Floor and Irwin Allen's The Towering Inferno is clearly obvious. From the powerhouse heat of Steve McQueen,Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway,and William Holden. To the oscar winning cinematography and the fire effects. John Williams epic sweeping score. Especially the opening intro score blending in with Doug Roberts helicopter flying acrosss Downtown San Francisco. And the closing score "A Architect's Dream showing how Williams will become the multiple Oscar Composer to come. Plus the co-collaboration of Warner Bros. And 20th Century Fox all make Inferno far and away better than this 1 star flameout of a movie.