HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
   
 
Newest Articles
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
   
 
  Rollercoaster Ups And Downs
Year: 1977
Director: James Goldstone
Stars: George Segal, Richard Widmark, Timothy Bottoms, Henry Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Helen Hunt, Dorothy Tristan, Harry Davis, Stephen Pearlman, G.F. Rowe, Wayne Tippit, Michael Bell, Charlie Tuna, Lonny Stevens, Robert Quarry, Craig Wasson, Steve Guttenberg
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Early one morning a young man (Timothy Bottoms) sets up his fishing equipment on a Californian pier, but he's not interested in catching anything. He is actually staring through his binoculars at someone doing maintenance on a rollercoaster at a nearby fun park, and that night he enters the park and begins to wander around, partaking of the amusements and acting natural. Yet he is anything but a normal customer, as he has been here earlier on that day and set a device up on the rollercoaster, an explosive which he will trigger later on - but nobody could be that callous, could they?

Oh yes they could, and this psychopath who also happens to be a technical genius is our villain. We never find out his name or even his true motives other than the financial one, but you come to see him as taking pride in outsmarting the authorities, and that could be his main impetus. This was lumped in with the then-fading disaster movie genre when it was first released, but actually where that type of film concentrated on a number of characters and their lives to offer us that essential human interest angle, here we're only interested in one person.

That person is Harry Calder, played by George Segal with that brand of world-weariness that he carried off so well. Harry is a safety inspector, and he is called by his boss (Henry Fonda in the kind of role he spent most of the seventies taking) to find out what happened when the rollercoaster we saw in the opening crashed and killed the passengers, a nasty sequence which does well to resonate throughout the rest of the film. Harry begins to have his suspicions about foul play when later that week he hears of an amusement park fire; no one killed there, but strange enough not to be a coincidence.

Soon he is on to the mad bomber, and being the sort of man who can be a pain in the neck to even people who like him, Harry is determined to prevent any more loss of life and wheedles his way into a top secret meeting to discuss the blackmail plot. This gets him noticed by the villain and we begin to see how underrated a thriller this is as director James Goldstone, best known for his television work (he directed the first episode of the original series of Star Trek), tightens the screws of tension. The centrepiece of this is not a rollercoaster tragedy, but a lengthy sequence where Harry is chosen to deliver the ransom at one of those parks.

This marks out the bomber as a man to be reckoned with as he effortlessly outwits Richard Widmark's F.B.I. man, and although the feds believe they have the upper hand, something which turns out to be a potentially deadly mistake. Then comes the climax, drawn out over a palm-sweating half hour, where there is a race against time to find a bomb without panicking the public at a park where a brand new ride is being premiered. Segal does very well out of this in an enjoyably sardonic and exasperated performance, reminding us what an underestimated star he was, and there are plenty of details to catch the eye, such as Sparks playing at the park and Ron Mael looking as if he'd rather not be taking part until he smashes up his piano stool. Rollercoaster may be regarded as gimmicky now, and it did utilise Sensurround to enhance its sound in cinemas, but it's actually a very professional, well crafted thriller of the type this era did so well. Music by Lalo Schifrin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2835 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: