Once upon a time, there was a world where (brace yourselves and try not to faint) cable, internet, and satellite TV didn’t exist. Many would say it was a dark time best forgotten. During this time, movies would be created starring actors from television shows that were well-known.
These productions would then air as special events or movies of the week on whatever one of the three major networks created them. CBS DVD reminds audiences of this by-gone era with their release of “The Horror at 37,000 Feet.”
A luxury flight is booked by a rich architect (Roy Thinnes) to transport the remains of an ancient abbey to the United States. The passengers are an odd combination from different walks of life. As the airplane climbs into the sky, it becomes all too apparent that something sinister has hitched a ride. The deadly situation causes the motley bunch and flight crew to come unraveled. Can a priest (William Shatner) who’s lost his faith help destroy the evil that lurks at 37,000 feet?
“The Horror at 37,000 Feet” is as ridiculous as it sounds. It’s a fairly entertaining time-waster that no doubt did its job in 1973. CBS needed something to stick in a particular time slot off-season and this schlocky horror flick is the result.
The ensemble cast of TV stars is typical of the movies-of-the-week being made during this era. Although the stars weren’t as bright as the ones seen on the silver screen, they were familiar to audiences who kept up with television shows. Chuck Connors was well-known from his roles in “Branded” and “The Rifleman.” Buddy Ebsen grew to fame through shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Bonanza.”
Not quite the household name he is today, William Shatner was growing in fame thanks to “Star Trek” and his many guest spots on different high-profile series like “Mission: Impossible” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.” Tammy Grimes had her own show in the mid-1960s and was appearing in “Love American Style,” “NBC Children’s Theatre,” and others.
Overdramatic acting, goofy sound effects, and sub-par special effects add to the beauty of this made-for-TV masterpiece. You can’t help but get drawn in to the nostalgia. You’ll find yourself yearning for a more innocent time where you watched what you had to because there weren’t a million choices to choose from.
“The Horror at 37,000 Feet” is a somewhat enjoyable product of its time. It’s a supernatural thriller rooted in the occult and reflects the Satanic Panic felt at the time. Imagine a unique blend of “Airport,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and “The Exorcist” that only the 1970s could make work.
“The Horror at 37,000 Feet” is available now on DVD.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Scream Factory Brings Sam Raimi’s “Darkman” to Blu-ray
“Die, Monster, Die!” Provides a Unique Blend of 1950s Sci-Fi and Haunted House Themes
“Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy” Blu-ray Perfect for Hardcore Fans of the Series