Director: William Girdler
Scott Joan McCall/Allison
A Grizzly bear starts ripping through campers at a State Park and it's up to badass Chief Ranger Michael Kellyand (Christopher George) and his boys to hunt it down and skin its ass!
I hadn't seen William Girdler's GRIZZLY (1976) since I was a kid and being that horror is dead on the big screen now of late, I decided to re-visit and digest it with “adult” (term used loosely) eyes! Did it still come through after all them years! Yup! In a so bad it's good way though! Let the good times roll!
The first thing that struck me on this second watch of GRIZZLY was just how much it ripped off JAWS (yeah I didn't notice the first time, I was like 8 when I saw it, give me a break). Animal whacking tourists? Check! Big wig that won't close the place down in the name of greed? Check! No non-sense hero that has little experience with said animal hence relies on an expert to help him hunt it? Check! A Quint like speech about a severe past animal attack? Check! A bounty put on the animal that send regular folks after the beast? Check! And the list goes on! I half expected somebody to yell out “We're gonna need a bigger helicopter!” at some point. It was blatant as hell! With that, the rips did augment my enjoyment of the flick! Sometimes shamelessness came be entertaining. Just ask my ex girlfriend! Dirty, dirty girl. So yeah, this was one of them times! The slasher like structure of the film greased me right too! Bear kills, humans talk, bear kills, humans talk, rinse and repeat! For the first block or so of the film, horn dog Grizzly only killed hot chicks via a huge hairy arm (bear suit) that popped out of nowhere to lop off heads or by way of heart warming and bone crushing bear hugs! Yeehaw!
Needless to say that the gore was pretty out there and the film's F-U attitude whooped in hard. Women, a kid, even a horse, nobody was safe in this movie, that Grizzly simply didn't give a f*ck! Ahhh, the good old 70's when all bets were off, endings were usually downbeat and political correctness was out the window! Love it! On the acting front, I dug the main cast. Christopher George was all manly-man presence as the straight shooting Park Ranger, Andrew Pine (aka that dude from V) brought in some levity with his cocky show while Arthur Scott kept making me laugh (unintentionally of course) due to his characters weird lines (that bit about him BECOMING a bear had me in stitches) and oddball actions (the dude kept whipping out sandwiches for some reason). The sly use of a real bear (props for not going the stock footage way), the occasional silly lines (If ya feel a wet snout in ya face, whatever you do, don't move. And don't kiss it back 'cause it ain't me), the flat reactions from the background performers and the shoddy acting by supporting players also slashed in to up the potency of this so bad its good gem!
On the flipside; the flick did have some pacing issues with way too many filler scenes of folks talking about the same thing: the bear. Stop; talking about it and go kill it already! Then we had the directing which was fairly uninspired. Bear POV shots aside, it was pretty much point and shoot. Yup, the potential for suspense was often nixed out by the matter of fact visual approach. At least the main location (the woods) was sweet to look at. And was I alone in having a hard time believing that after 5 dead bodies or so, Park supervisor Charley Kittridge (played to an a-hole T by Joe Dorsey) still wouldn't close the place down? How freaking dumb can one be? I know, I know, he wants the press, but still! Finally, the inane character moves to serve the plot (there's a killer bear around – umm- I guess I'll take a shower in a waterfall, lol) were ample and I found it hilarious that the bear was somehow bullet proof. But hey, all that jive was part of the movie's charm!
Grizzly was one of those! An awesome so bad its good sit down! The JAWS rips, cheesy dialogue, the random shoddy acting, the unrepentant gore and the peeved off bear all chimed in to give me some amusement for the right and the wrong yet right none the less reasons! It's JAWS with PAWS and an IQ of ZERO! Now give that bear a hug!
We get lots of lopped off heads, slashes, and one nasty leg amputation. This movie went for the throat. Respect!
T & A
Big let down in that department. When you got two hot chick campers acting like they're straight out of a lesbo porn, I expect to see some titties. Same thing with when a chick randomly decides to take a shower in a waterfall; boobies SHOULD BE unveiled! Specially in a flick of this ilk. But no dice. All we got was bra and undies. Shame on ya!
Grizzly was the kind of movie that you watch with friends and beers in tow! The type you talk through and make fun of out loud! So yes I am rating it as that type of film. Filled with rips on JAWS, graphic and mean spirited kills, all kinds of so dumb their hilarious moments and an endearing 1970's F-U attitude, it made for a swell party horror movie! Granted the pacing was clunky at times, suspension of disbelief had to be applied, the directing was flat and the lack of tit shots stopped it from being a full-on exploitation pinata, but on the whole you groove to bold and so bad their good monster movies? If so, this one's for you!
I am now in the mood to see The Day of the Animals (1977), which reunites Grizzly stars Christopher George and Richard Jaeckel, director William Girdler and producer Edward L. Montoro.
Susan Backlinie who was the first victim in JAWS was also in this movie as an uncredited victim.
A sequel called Grizzly II: The Predator was shot but never released. It starred Charlie Sheen, George Clooney and Laura Dern. All of the non bear stuff was shot, but executive producer Joseph Proctor disappeared with the funds before they could roll with the bear stuff. The film is still in limbo as of today.