Your Disaster Movie Snowpocalypse Streaming Guide


Winter storm Jonas has buried the East Coast in snow, you drank all the booze already, and there are no more X-Files episodes to catch up with before the series returns on January 24. In keeping with the bad-weather, bread-and-milk, doomsday hysteria that has dominated the week, we’ve selected a number of disaster movies (with nary a Michael Bay in sight) to amuse you while waiting out the storm.

When Worlds Collide

An Atomic Age, Technicolor space disaster full of old-school effects (matte paintings!) and the destruction of New York. The film actually won a Best Effects Oscar, which is pretty impressive considering it was up against sci-fi giants like The Thing and The Day the Earth Stood Still.


During the 1970s, some theaters installed an audio system called Sensurround, which was used as a gimmick for movies like 1974’s Earthquake — starring Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner. Sensurround emitted a low-frequency vibration (usually along the seats) that made people feel like they were part of the film. It was discontinued after causing damage to theater tiles and plaster, and reports of nosebleeds and headaches started to circulate.

The End of the World

Danish filmmaker August Blom’s beautifully shot silent exploited fears about Halley’s comet and World War I paranoia. The film depicts the societal breakdown that occurs when a comet is scheduled to hit Earth. “Here we get superbly exciting scenes of burning meteorites scorching the landscape, houses on fire, explosions and water flooding buildings with people inside,” writes Scifist. “With this film, Blom has captured an apocalyptic event on a truly epic scale, and the films deserves at least as good a reputation as Atlantis. But this is no simple crash boom bang film, on the contrary. The director’s trademark was inhabiting his films with a multitude of characters, all involved in intricate plots. This is also true for The End of the World.”

Dead Man’s Letters

Director Konstantin Lopushanskiy’s was a production assistant on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, which is evident in the film’s austere setting and pessimistic philosophy — threads in the fabric of Soviet cinema overall, really. Here, society moves underground following a devastating nuclear disaster. (Cruddy subtitled version over here in several parts.)

A Boy and His Dog

Based on a post-apocalyptic novella by Harlan Ellison, Don Johnson’s teenage Vic shares a telepathic relationship with his dog Blood as they forage for food and women. “A Boy and His Dog is based on a well-known novella by Harlan Ellison, onetime enfant terrible of science fiction and a practitioner of new-wave s-f, in which biological and reproductive functions of men and women are considered at least as important as those of bug-eyed monsters,” Roger Ebert wrote in his 1976 review. “The story seemed almost to defy filming, but it’s been successfully visualized by L.Q. Jones.”

San Francisco

A Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy earthquake film about rivals who vie for the affection of a saloon singer. The film features uncredited scenes directed by D.W. Griffith. Gable and MacDonald hated each other, and Gable was miserable about making the movie in the first place, having been persuaded by Louis B. Mayer.

Panic in Year Zero!

A nuclear bomb destroys Los Angeles and all hell breaks loose. Les Baxter scored this 1962 Ray Milland sci-fi film.

The Medusa Touch

Richard Burton’s novelist John Morlar is a pissed-off psychokinetic who can cause disasters just by thinking about them. Watch it on Amazon.

Murder on Flight 502

Threats of murder on a flight from New York City to London, featuring a who’s who of 1970’s TV stars — including Robert Stack, Sonny Bono, and Farrah Fawcett. Fun fact: the stewardess uniforms were real TWA winter uniforms (from 1968 to 1971).

The Bees

A smuggling ring involving killer bees who terrorize the planet. The film stars mean-mugging character actors John Saxon and John Carradine, which is reason enough to watch it.