There are just some movies that will never be shown on airplanes. Imagine a captive audience of nervous passengers, hurtling through the air in a flying tin can, forced to watch their worst fears being played out on the screen. Hardly the best way to create a soothing on-board atmosphere!
On the following pages you will discover airplane disaster films featuring maniacs, terrorists, cannibals, homicidal reptiles, and bad 1970s hairstyles.
If you plan to be flying, keep your fingers crossed that these movies will never be shown on your flight.
In the unlikely event that an airline employee, suffering from temporary insanity, chooses to show one of these films on your flight, simply follow these instructions, which should be, but aren't, in the seatback pocket in front of you: Clench your eyes shut, put your fingers in your ears, and recite the following in a loud, firm voice: "Naa naa. I can't hear you."
Up first, as if the '70s weren't scary enough already ...
No. 5: "Skyjacked" (1972)
The 1972 cult classic "Skyjacked" stars Charlton Heston as the pilot of a 747 that is hijacked by a psycho Vietnam vet (Charles Brolin) who wants to defect to the Soviet Union via Anchorage, Alaska.
The film also features Yvette Mimieux, Rosie Grier, and Susan Dey, who was in "The Partridge Family" at the time and later became famous for playing Grace on "L.A. Law."
While "Skyjacked" may suffer from overacting and implausibility, fans give it an enthusiastic thumbs-up for its suspense.
There is much here to frighten innocent airplane passengers. Not only is there a scary psycho who threatens to explode a bomb on board, but there are also scary 1970s hairdos -- and the captain smokes a pipe while he is flying the plane! The horror! The horror!
Our next movie offers you the choice of coffee, tea or a suicidal maniac ...
No. 4: "Airport" (1970)
The 1970 film "Airport" was the granddaddy of the modern disaster film genre. Based on the best-selling book by Arthur Hailey, the movie featured a star-stuffed cast, including Helen Hayes (who won an Oscar for her role), Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jacqueline Bisset, and Maureen Stapleton.
"Airport" was a huge hit when it opened, taking in more money than any other film that year.
The film's storylines -- involving a fierce airport-threatening snowstorm, a blocked runway, and a crazy suicidal airline passenger carrying a bomb -- thrilled moviegoers sitting in theaters safely on the ground.
They're not the sort of stories, though, that nervous fliers would want to see while they're speeding through the air, hoping for a safe landing at a functioning airport in a plane that doesn't get blown to smithereens on the way down.
Neither is our next movie ...
No. 3: "Alive" (1993)
"Alive" was based on the true story of a group of airline-crash survivors who ran out of food and were forced to eat each other.
In 1972 a chartered plane carrying members of a Uruguayan rugby team and some of their supporters crashed high in the Andes mountains. More than half the passengers died from the crash itself, from the freezing cold, or from an avalanche that swept through their camp.
The remaining passengers survived by eating the flesh of their dead comrades, whose bodies had been preserved in the snow.
The 1993 film, starring Ethan Hawke, turned the tragic incident into an exciting, even inspiring tale of adventure. But who wants to think, while flying, about the possibility of having to eat one's fellow passengers? Isn't having to eat airline food bad enough?