April 12, 2014

Letters to the Editor: April 12, 2014

Message in film

TO THE EDITOR: Many thanks to People for Positive Action and PSU’s Environmental Action Committee for supporting my forthcoming 50th-anniversary screening of the 1964 sci-fi epic “Crack in the World” in recognition of Earth Week 2014 (April 21-25). 

This movie eerily anticipated the debate over hydrofracking (fracturing bedrock with pressurized liquid to release natural gas) by visualizing seismic chaos triggered by a similar process.

On that note, our screening will also mark the 10th anniversary of an EPA study that sparked widespread grassroots opposition to the controversial practice commonly known as fracking. 

The seismicity of fracking’s aftermath has generated major concern, exemplified by a 4.0 magnitude earthquake in 2011 in previously quake-free Youngstown, Ohio, that seismologists determined was fracking fallout (and yet only this past March was all fracking halted in Ohio, pending state inspectors’ consideration of additional quakes. Way to connect the dots promptly, guys). 

With its fictional images of man-made geological trauma causing earthquakes where none were previously recorded, “Crack in the World” apparently prophesized actual recent seismic disturbances linked to human tampering. Seriously, watching the film today is like hearing a shout across five decades with an unmistakable message: Frackers go home.

On a whole different level, the film’s apocalyptic special effects contain moments of amazing conviction pointing out the inherent inferiority of their modern digital counterparts. In raw cinematic terms, an additional message rings loud and clear: CGI take a hike, too.

A rare 16mm Technicolor print of this increasingly topical doomsday classic will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, at the Newman Center, 90 Broad St. across from PSU’s Myers Fine Arts. It is free and open to all. For more info, contact



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