Rollercoaster



Theme Parks are a rare topic, or even location for that matter, for movies and TV-Shows. I wouldn’t blame anyone if the only things they came up with are the opening scene for “Final Destination 3” and “Westworld”, and a lot of people probably don’t even know the original movie for the later. And to be honest I know only a handful more at best. Most recent is a Independent movie called “Escape from Tomorrow” that was shot in the Disneyworld and -land Resorts in the US without permission. And even though Disney knows about the movie they choose to simply ignore it and to not give it any attention by taking it down. As a movie it isn’t great, it just has a interesting story behind it. Another one would be a German made for TV Action movie called “Adrenalin” from 1996. It features the Phantasialand Park as one of it’s main locations, roughly half of the movie is set inside it. This one is really interesting because since the time the movie was made the Park changed so drastically that pretty much nothing you see exists anymore. To my knowledge this one wasn’t released outside of Germany.Theme Parks are a rare topic, or even location for that matter, for movies and TV-Shows. I wouldn’t blame anyone if the only things they came up with are the opening scene for “Final Destination 3” and “Westworld”, and a lot of people probably don’t even know the original movie for the later. And to be honest I know only a handful more at best. Most recent is a Independent movie called “Escape from Tomorrow” that was shot in the Disneyworld and -land Resorts in the US without permission. And even though Disney knows about the movie they choose to simply ignore it and to not give it any attention by taking it down. As a movie it isn’t great, it just has a interesting story behind it. Another one would be a German made for TV Action movie called “Adrenalin” from 1996. It features the Phantasialand Park as one of it’s main locations, roughly half of the movie is set inside it. This one is really interesting because since the time the movie was made the Park changed so drastically that pretty much nothing you see exists anymore. To my knowledge this one wasn’t released outside of Germany.

Probably one of the better known movies that fit the bill is simply called “Rollercoaster”, a Thriller from 1977, and that’s mostly down to it being the only one that got a Cinema release and is still being re-released on modern formats. The movie features scenes in Ocean View Amusement Park, Kings Dominion and Magic Mountain. Ocean View was closed officially about a year after the movie was released making it probably the best quality footage of the Park still available today, including some Onride footage of their Wooden Coaster “The Rocket”.



The Story follows Harry Calder from Safety & Standards who tries to find a mysterious man that attacks Theme Parks across the USA. His first victim is Ocean View Amusement Park and his target is “The Rocket” Rollercoaster. Disguised as a Maintenance worker he places a remotely activated bomb underneath the track. This brings Harry into play since he is responsible for checking the safety of all rides at Ocean View. Just a week later a fire breaks out at a Darkride in Wonderworld in Pittsburgh (This was originally intended to be Kennywood, however they backed out after reading the Script for the Movie). The Owners of 5 mayor companies that run Theme Parks hold a meeting in Chicago to review a tape that was sent to one of them. Harry manages to learn about the meeting in time to get there himself. The unnamed attacker want’s 1 Million US Dollars in unmarked bills delivered at a time and place of his choosing or else he will attack another target. Harry warns the owners to take this very serious because their opponent already demonstrated what he is capable off and that he knows what he is doing

The money is supposed to be handed over in broad daylight at Kings Dominion by Harry and everything seems to be working to plan, however the bills where marked by the police, but Harry wasn’t informed about this. This leads to the announcement of another attack on July 4th. His guts tell Harry that the target would be the opening of the “Revolution” Rollercoaster at Magic Mountain since this is the one Event with the biggest media coverage by far. During a search of the Coaster a Bomb is found and disarmed, which the Bomber does notice. He leaves the Park to build a new Bomb in his Car on the Parking Lot. He is able to place this new Bomb inside the Train, however before he is able to Detonate it he is chased down and dies before he can trigger it.



Being a Thriller “Rollercoaster” is fairly slow paced, it just loves to play with the viewers anticipation of something happening. I.e. during the opening you know that there is a Bomb and where it is. You see how a Train is loaded with Riders and you expect that the Bomb would go off during this Trains run, however this doesn’t happen until a good few Minutes later into the Movie. This Slow pacing will probably make some people hate “Rollercoaster” for being boring, but I love it for that exact reason. During your first watch you really don’t know when something will happen and this makes the viewer just as clueless as the characters in the Movie. I highly recommend this Movie for the high quality footage of the Rides and Parks alone, it is rare to see Footage of a back then still fairly new Kings Dominion in such quality.


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