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A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

by Odie Henderson July 30, 2008 10:15 am
A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On We all have our pet issues here at Movies Without Pity. Zach likes to talk about comic book movies and his love of that terrible Watchmen trailer, the one that proves that Zack Snyder should get a torch enema from the Columbia Pictures lady. [Odie, I'll chalk that one up to jet lag. - Zach] And I like to bitch and moan about the resurgence of 3-D and how I can no longer perceive it. Well, to acknowledge the 5.4 earthquake that shook the City of Angels yesterday, I'm going to talk about another theater gimmick I'm pissed I can no longer perceive: Sensurround. No, I didn't have a freak butt-numbing accident; I can't perceive Sensurround because it no longer exists. But when it did, it first accompanied a cheesy, Oscar winning Chuck Heston movie called Earthquake.

For the uninitiated, Sensurround was invented by Universal Pictures for the aforementioned 1974 disaster film. They wanted audience members to not only watch the earthquake but to experience it as well. If you lived in Peoria instead of L.A., this was probably as close to an earthquake as you were going to get. So somebody got the bright idea to put speakers under the seats. When the earthquake rumbled onscreen, causing destruction to the same scenery its star was chewing, the speakers emitted vibrations in time with the cinematic shaking. No one at Universal realized that this concept, which was used on several of their movies in the 70's, was the equivalent of getting a Dolby-inspired hummer. When I went to see The Exorcist, people passed out in the theater. One woman threw up at my screening. When I saw Earthquake, the audience had a collective tantric orgasm. According to Wikipedia, one person suffered cracked ribs from the arousing effects of Sensurround. That person was probably Sting.

I was too young to appreciate the tactile benefits of Sensurround, so I demand they bring it back. I don't care if they put it on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Just bring it back. It'll make up for the second mortgage I took out to pay for popcorn and soda.

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