10 earthquake movies that left audiences shaken

ABOVE: Watch the trailer for San Andreas, opening May 29.

TORONTO — Filmmakers and audiences have always been fascinated by the power of Mother Nature. Movies about destruction caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods and storms are staples in Hollywood.

Hitting cinemas this week is San Andreas, an earthquake flick that comes only weeks after earthquakes killed thousands in Nepal.

READ MORE: Movies that had bad timing

Directed by Canada’s Brad Peyton, it stars Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino as a couple who head from Los Angeles to San Francisco to rescue their daughter (Alexandra Daddario) following a devastating earthquake.

To prepare for San Andreas, here are 10 earthquake movies and miniseries that shook audiences. Interestingly, many of them have strong Canadian connections. (Or, in other words, earthquake movies are our fault.)

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10.5 (2004)

This TV miniseries had an impressive cast — including Kim Delaney, Beau Bridges, Fred Ward, Kaley Cuoco and John Schneider — and was shot entirely in Vancouver. It showed the aftermath of powerful earthquakes in Washington State and California — and preparations for the big one in San Francisco. Ridiculed by the Southern California Earthquake Center for “major errors” in science, the miniseries earned an Emmy nomination for its visual effects.


10.5: Apocalypse (2006)

The sequel to 10.5 reteamed most of the cast and added Dean Cain and Frank Langella. Filmed in the summer of 2005 in Montreal (with nearby Mont Tremblay standing in for an Idaho ski resort), it focused on a massive earthquake that triggered volcanic eruptions, tsunamis (and over-acting). Visual effects were done by Montreal’s Hybride.

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Earthquake in New York (1998)

This Toronto-shot TV movie starred Greg Evigan, Melissa Sue Anderson (who also appears in 10.5: Apocalypse) and Michael Moriarty. Like the title suggests, it’s about the chaos that ensues when an 8.2 earthquake hits New York City. Evigan is a cop searching for his family — and a serial killer. Priorities!


Aftershock: Earthquake in New York (1999)

A young Jennifer Garner starred with Tom Skerritt and Charles S. Dutton in this miniseries based on the book by Chuck Scarborough. Nominated for a visual effects Emmy, it was filmed in Vancouver.

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The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (1990)

What’s so great about this TV movie? How about Joanna Kerns as a seismologist warning politicians about a powerful earthquake that’s about to hit Los Angeles. Ed Begley Jr. plays the assistant who detects the tremors along the San Andreas Fault.


Earthquake (1974)

This cheesy disaster flick was directed by Montreal-born Mark Robson and featured a cast that included Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Walter Matthau — as well as Canadian actors Lorne Greene, Geneviève Bujold and Scott Hylands. All of them struggle to survive a catastrophic earthquake that hits Los Angeles.

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Megafault (2009)

From the company that would later give the world Sharknado, this TV movie was one of the last projects for Brittany Murphy, who died in December 2009. She played a seismologist who discovers that the detonation of explosives on a West Virginia mountain will trigger massive earthquakes. Eriq La Salle helps devise a plan to save millions of lives.


Nature Unleashed: Earthquake (2005)

Just when the people of a Russian town thought it was safe to live near a nuclear plant, a powerful earthquake destroys it. Shot in Europe, this film was co-produced by a Canadian company.

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The Day the Earth Moved (1974)

In this TV movie, folks taking aerial photos of the desert figure out that an earthquake is imminent. Problem is, no one in the town that will likely be destroyed believes them. The cast includes Jackie Cooper and Stella Stevens.


10.0 Earthquake (2014)

Heather Sossaman and Henry Ian Cusick are among those who race against time to save the people of Los Angeles from a devastating earthquake. Will Baywatch star David Chokachi survive? No spoilers here.