British actor David Hemmings directed Australia’s first disaster movie, The Survivor, starring Robert Powell as the pilot of a 747 involved in a catastrophic crash that kills all 300 people aboard – except him.
Surviving without a scratch, his search for the cause of the disaster comprises the basic plot of the film.
Jenny Agutter co-starred as a young psychic woman named Hobbs who tries to help him unravel the cause of the crash and of the weird events which happen in its wake.
She is haunted by visions of the dead passengers while people connected to the crash (however tangential) are stalked and killed by those disturbed spirits in the form of a little girl (Brigette Webster) and her creepy doll.
A full-scale mock jumbo jet was blown up on a vacant lot in the heart of sleepy Adelaide and no expense was spared to make things as realistic as possible with thousands of litres of diesel fuel and petrol ignited in a blinding fireflash while five cameras filmed the action.
As a result, The Survivor was the first Australian movie to have a budget of more than one million Australian dollars.
An Adelaide factory made hundreds of charred “dead bodies” which were then scattered over the crash site in gruesomely realistic scenes.
The supernatural thriller was based on a novel by James Herbert.
Angela Punch McGregor