Sometimes, you can find amazing things on internet forums. Your Humble Reviewer’s favorite find of this nature in recent memory is a post that Paul Talbot recently made at the Mobius Home Video Forum about Survive! Talbot is a favorite around Schlockmania headquarters for his amazing books on the Mandingo phenomenon (Mondo Mandingo) and the Death Wish series (Bronson’s Loose). He has applied the same mixture of sharp writing and journalistic detail that informs his books into a concise but info-packed essay on this notorious film’s background.
But first, a little background for those who don’t recognize the title: Survive! is an infamous Mexican production helmed by the father and son team of Rene Cardona Jr. and Sr. It offered an unforgettably tawdry treatment of a real life story about South American football players who resorted to cannibalism when their plane crashed in a remote, snowy area of the Andes mountains. The film was imported to America during the summer of 1976 and became a surprise box office hit.
Behind any good schlocky hit lies a fascinating story and Talbot has put together a riveting essay on the film’s history and how it was reworked for an American audience. You’ll discover that the people behind its English-language version would go on to make Grease and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as well as info on a bigger, more prestigious Hollywood treatment of the story that was abandoned because of Survive!‘s surprise domestic success (Hollywood would have to wait until the 1990’s for its version of the story, Alive).
The end result is educational and entertaining all at once — and like Talbot’s film-related books, it gets Schlockmania’s highest recommendation. Click this link to check it out: