Reprobate Movie Night: Encounter With Disaster

Our occasional movie presentation returns with a classic 1979 shockumentary.

Eager readers will have noticed a certain radio silence from The Reprobate since Christmas. This is not down to idleness or some similar malaise; quite the opposite. Reprobate Towers is currently undergoing a remodelling as we finally empty our storage unit and attempt to cram everything we own (so. many. books.) into a space not designed for such things. It’s quite the task and has allowed no rest for the wicked. So what better time to bring you another Reprobate Movie Night, with the pioneering 1979 quasi-Mondo shocker Encounter with Disaster, one of several at the time (others included Days of Fury and Catastrophe) that combined news footage of natural and man-made disasters in a way that had not been done before. Of course, this is now a TV staple, but you can’t beat the glorious intensity of the originals.

We’ll be back in action ASAP – once we can make it from one side of the room to the other – but in the meantime, enjoy this forgotten classic.

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  1. Good luck witht he movie and all-power cubed for the Next ride round the sun. Excellent choice of film, would like to style myself a connoisseur of the 70s vitage disaster doc and associated vineyards, very much excited by Sun Classics and Rene Cardona pics – The Jupiter Menace, which I think was produced by George Pal, of all people, is on for anyone wanting to turn this into a double-bill. Something which I think should be a source of obsession for a select few of us is the apocrypha that is The Gamma Chronicles, an offshoot of, I think, Cyclo Video? (Might be wrong, there) I think the above was part of the set, though several titles were advertised but possibly never actually did the old helical scan. I know – Shh! Down there. Enough of my waffle, heres to a Reprobate ’23!

  2. P.S. I think I am channeling (literally!! Well, not literally as in directing water (though I do do that), perhaps not literally – allow me to rephrase …) I seem to be channeling – in several senses – TV from an adjacent universe – one with permeable or improperly sealed parameters – it seems in that world there is a circa ’79 doc called ‘Crash!’ (title card set in ITC Machine, typog fans) presented (in a studio to begin and at a handful of locations) and narrated by JG Ballard, bitterly pithy observations expressed over racetrack crash TV news footage, etc., frames of Kennedy death car by Zapruder with emphasis on Jackie and phrases from ‘Assassination as downhill motor race’. ‘What you are about to see is fundamentally a love story’ he intones flatly over an F1 fireball. ‘The car makes gladiators of us all. The commuter and his neighbor in exquisitely choreographed daily duel. The evening meal is a banquet held in celebration of survival. We put our heads in the mouth of the combustion-powered lion and dare him to bite. Life becomes art. What contemporary sculptor can match the vehicles that fill showrooms, garages … eros and thanatos in aerodynamic harmony … every street a pageant, a catalogue of desire …’ It says ‘ere! That’s all I got, contact broke.

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