Cyclone (1978)

2.5 out of 5

Had the underrated Open Water been directed by a B list exploitation director then it would have probably ended up looking like this Italian, American and Mexican distaster movie with which it shares a number of similarities.

Distaster effects combine effortlessly with some storm stock footage for an opening segment that sees an ensemble cast adrift in a mini flotilla of fishing boat, pleasure craft and lifeboat to ultimately meet up and run out of water and food.

Directed by René Cardona Jr. the film sees Italian genre cinema favourite Arthur Kennedy, as a priest, pontificate on the sins of canibalism before conceding the point that The Bible does not prohibit the use of human flesh as fishing bait and class politics is touched upon as a pompous Carroll Baker puts the life of her dog, who was named Christmas because he was born the same time as Jesus and later the subject of one of the most shocking and surprising exploitation scenes outside of To Be Twenty, before the lives of the castaway group that includes hairy heartthrob Hugo Stiglitz, Hart to Hart's gravel voiced gopher Lionel Stander and future zombie splinter in eye victim Olga Karlatos.

Though at times a little verbose there is still enough in this oddball, disastastic, Adrift meets Alive little gem to keep the most jaded exploitation film fan occupied.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics