Monday, June 14, 2010

Survival Run...aka Spree

Over the weekend I watched the movie Survival Run from 1979. It starred a Van Patten, of Dick fame, and a fabulous van ( not SuperVan fabulous, but fabulous nonetheless ). The story essentially is that a goup of high schoolers are heading out in the desert to camp and things go awry. They bring a guitar for making music, and a veritable crayola box of multicolored condoms for the making of whoopee.
Things start with standard high school stuff, the kids making plans, the boys talking about the girls and their intent to get busy, and then they are off and on their way while a really badly fantastic theme song plays. It is on their trip into the hinterlands that chaos ensues and down the side of a cliff tumbles the van and its occupants. Now, without transportation, the merry sextet decides to hike to civilization. It is on this hike where they encounter a man named Kandaris, played by Peter Graves, and his associates. One of his associates is a man who I think is only referred to as The Professor, played by X-The Man with the X-Ray Eyes ( Ray Milland ). Milland brings a real classiness to his role and a genuine, if understated, level of menace.
Initially the kids think they have been rescued, but the viewer is privy to the fact that the kids are, in fact, in grave danger. Nastiness occurs and it is at this point where the title "Survival Run" kicks in as the kids flee from their "rescuers". It is also at this point that the film implodes into a fairly stupid and standard "action" movie. It reminded me, in it's setup, of the movie Wolf Creek from 2005, but much more pedestrian. I had read some reviews of Survival Run that had me prepared for much more edginess but it never materialized for me. There were moments that were impressive, and uncomfortable, but nothing that will stick with me for long.
Thanks to Wrong Side of the Art for the poster, which might be the best thing about the movie.
-Marty

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