Los Angeles in the 1970s was a magical time. Actors quit caring about their physique. Producers were blasting cocaine into their brains. George Kennedy was a star. It’s a time that’s never been topped and it never will be.
Out of this era came Earthquake (1974) starring Charlton Heston and a bunch of actors in need of a paycheck (and co-written by Mario Puzo).
As disaster films go, there’s a long buildup to the “disaster”: Heston is bangin Genevieve Bujold, George Kennedy is an absolute asshole, Walter Matthau is a pimp drunk, and so on. It’s all standard stuff. Then comes the 4 hour earthquake where cardboard houses crumble and the people of LA forget how to handle such an event as they fall several stories out of high rises to their violent deaths. It’s delightful.
My only complaint about this sequence is that they didn’t do enough with Richard Roundtree’s part as a daredevil. It would have been pimp if he CRUSHED that obstacle course on his motorbike while buildings crumbled and people died all around him. Oh well.
Honestly, there’s a few good matte paintings here and there. But the standout is Marjoe Gortner’s performance as the sexually confused grocer/wannabe karate instructor/National Guardsman. It’s a performance that was ahead of its time.
The ending is good too: the city is in ruins and none of the personal drama gets resolved (of course, I was barely paying attention at this point).
I think this film provides a good insight into an era where Hollywood quit giving a shit, just as long as everyone made a fuck ton of money.
Come to find out that Mystery’s real name was Mr. Ree.
That was convenient.
We watched Maxwell for several days, plotting our trap. Unfortunately he strangled several more prostitutes under that watch. We did nothing about it. But we pushed forward with our plan.
One night, while Maxwell was cruising down Sunset, he fell into our trap.
“Hey sweetie,” Maxwell said while picking up a prostitute. “Wanna make some cash?”
She giggled and got in.
They drove up to the hills while I tailed them. They stopped in Griffith Park then Maxwell and his friend climbed into the backseat.
Maxwell started kissing his way up her legs before removing her panties. As he put his head between her legs, instead of a vagina he put into his mouth, it was a cock…Mr. Ree’s fully erect cock.
“Surprise surprise,” Mr. Rees said.
Maxwell attempted to stab Mr. Ree. The two wrestled in the backseat before I opened the door and ordered Maxwell out with my 357. Mr. Ree got out in full drag, cock still hard. Maxwell had his pants around his ankles.
“Alright, you caught me,” Maxwell said. “So what? They’re not going to throw me in jail.”
“Don’t be so sure of yourself,” I replied. “Hands in the air.”
Maxwell lifted up his arms. Under his sleeve was a detonator. His car exploded, sending the three of us flying through the air. Maxwell got up and escaped by stealing my Pontiac Aztec.
I laid in the street for awhile in a daze. I got up and saw Mr. Ree mortally wounded. He was laying in a pool of his own blood. I held him in my arms and attempted to stop the bleeding.
“I’m sorry Mr. Ree,” I said. “I want to thank you for your help.”
“It was….fun,” he replied. “It doesn’t look like I’ll be a registered sex offender after all.”
With those words, he died in my arms.
I hot wired a Kia Soul and went after Maxwell. I cut him off at the intersection of Franklin and Los Feliz. I rammed my piece of shit into his piece of shit. The shattered glass littered the road.
I climbed out of the wreckage. Maxwell was still in the Pontiac. He was unconscious. I walked up to the destroyed vehicle, 357 on ready. I checked to see if he was dead. At that moment, Maxwell fired his 9mm.
The bullet grazed my left kidney. Maxwell climbed out of the car and ran off. As I was on the ground, I fired off a couple of shots, missing him entirely.
I pursued him on foot.
He ran into a bean factory. As beans were falling off an assembly line into a hopper, Maxwell fired a few rounds into the cogs. The line went haywire and beans went everywhere, obstructing my path. I once again fired shots indiscriminately down the line, jeopardizing the lives of countless workers.
Maxwell exited the factory and ran onto the football field of North Hollywood High. A game was being played. I couldn’t get a clear shot. So I tackled the quarterback, grabbed the football and aired it out in an attempt to hit Maxwell. Unfortunately a DB intercepted it and I had to evade tacklers to get off the field.
Maxwell continued to shoot his 9mm. But he was out of bullets.
He chose Chuck E Cheese as his last stand.
Maxwell went in through the kitchen. He threw pots, pans, and pizzas as I chased him. Unfortunately I wasted several bullets shooting down the pizzas.
As he ran into the main dining area, I shouted “stop that man!”
Chuck E Cheese himself went in for the tackle. Maxwell fought him off, but he was cornered.
The jig was up and Maxwell raised his hands. I lifted up the 357.
“For LP,” he asked.
“No Maxwell,” I said. “For me.”
I shot him in cold blood and his body flew into the ball pit. As the screams of children echoed through the restaurant, I walked outside.
I could hear the sounds of police sirens in the distance. I walked down to the beach holding the 357. As I stared out across the water, I took one last look at the 357 and tossed it into the ocean.
LP and I got rip roarin drunk on the stakeout. We shared some laughs while we sat on a rooftop in Culver City over night. We watched the airplanes fly overhead as they began their descent into LAX.
“You know,” LP said. “I watched this city go to hell in a hand basket. When I joined the force, I wanted to serve my community. I wanted to do some good. Instead the city got worse.”
“The city’s always been a shithole, LP,” I replied.
“20 years I’ve been a cop. I’m really looking forward to retirement.”
I took a big hit off the Evan Williams green label and handed it over. “Just take a knee for the rest of your career,” I said. “Pick up your retirement check and take Stacy to Jamaica like you’ve always wanted. You’re just one man, you can’t change this city. No one can.”
LP looked down the scope of the M82 sniper rifle. Something caught his eye.
“Hey James, check this out. Get one hand free.”
As I peeped out through a windows cross the street, there was a woman decked out in BDSM whipping some poor sap with a contraption over his cock.
“That’s disgusting LP.”
He laughed and looked back through the scope. “Oh yeah! I wish Stacy would do that to me!”
LP’s finger slipped and he accidentally fired a round. The glass to the woman’s window shattered and the bullet hit the man on his bare ass.
“What are you doing LP?”
“Sorry. Got trigger happy,” he replied with a smile.
I looked up to the roof of the woman’s building and there was a sniper pointing his rifle at us.
“Get down LP!”
We dropped to the ground and the sniper opened fire. “Give me your 357, James. I’m going after him,” LP said. “Stay up here and return fire.”
LP ran down the fire escape and into the building next door. As the sniper reloaded, I got up and fired several shots. When I looked back through the scope, no one was there.
I took out a 9mm and ran down the stairs. As I approached the building, the sniper ran out the front door and fired his pistol in my direction.
Just then, Officer Maxwell pulled up in his patrol car. “Go check on LP,” I commanded. “He’s inside!”
I chased after the perpetrator. When I got a clear shot, I fired indiscriminately in his direction and emptied the clip. However, I lost him down the dark alleyways of Culver City.
I ran back to the building. “I’m sorry James,” Officer Maxwell said. There in the stairwell was LP’s lifeless body.
He was stabbed in the throat. I picked up the 357 from LPs hands. He didn’t get a shot off.
“Did you get a look at the killer,” Maxwell asked.
I shook my head.
“The chief’s gonna be pissed,” he replied.
I returned to City Hall. It was still dark. I was looking for the mystery officer I threatened to shoot on the toilet earlier.
He was sneaking around the bushes. He was looking for a place to piss. When I tackled him, his dick was still out and piss went everywhere. I put the 357 to his forehead.
“LP is dead,” I said.
“I had nothing to do with that!”
“I ain’t telling you shit!”
I cocked the 357. “Listen here mother fucker,” I said. “I’m clinically insane. Have you never heard of me? I’ve probably killed 152 people and I’m ready to kill the 153rd. If you don’t give me a name, I’ll splatter your brains all over City Hall. Do not play with me!”
The mystery man finished pissing himself. “Alright alright,” he said. “Look, there’s a man named Charles Krauthammer. He lives in the basement at a strip club in Long Beach. He might be your man.”
“How do you know him?”
“I can’t tell you that. They’ll kill me.”
I let the man go and wrote him a citation.
“What’s this for,” he asked.
“Now that I’m a cop, I’m giving you a citation for public indecency. Have fun on the sex offender registry. I’ll see you in court.”