Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grizzly - Another Giant Monster on the Loose

Grizzly was directed by William Girdler in 1976, the last feature shown on TCM Underground before going on hiatus for this year's 31 Days of Oscar. The premise is about a gigantic, 15 foot, Grizzly Bear attacking local campers. Very appropriately, it was paired with Night of the Lepus, a film about giant bunny rabbits attacking townspeople.

Grizzly's plot is pretty simple:
  • Pretty young women, barely clothed, are being ripped to shreds by a giant bear.
  • Drunk hunters decide to take matters in their own hands, leading to their own demise as they try destroy the beast.
  • To prevent anymore deaths, the Local Park Ranger, a Naturalist, and a Helicopter Pilot decide to take down the Grizzly themselves.
Coming out barely a year after Jaws, Grizzly is considered a rip-off of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece. Some parallels include both monsters killing an innocent woman played by the same female actress (Susan Backlinie). Also, both behemoths were similarly destroyed by huge explosions. However the biggest likeness between the two films were the crews tracking down the giant creatures had similar personalities and professions. Being the engineer that I am, I had to put together a table comparing the brave trios in each movie:

Even though Grizzly comes nowhere near the greatness of Jaws, it did have some entertaining moments like women wearing flannel shirts being tossed around like rag dolls. But, the most shocking scene was when the bear attacked "Little Bobby," brutally severing the 8-year old's limbs. Keeping with the taboo of never harming children or pets, a close second was when a horse was decapitated by the mere swipe of the Grizzly's claws. Also worthy of note is the film's poster: It was illustrated by comic book legend Neal Adams who revived Batman as a detective after the cheesy Adam West TV show.

However, at the end of the day, I'd much rather watch Jaws. And although I see why Grizzly among other Jaws rip-offs like Orca and Alligator have a cult followings for their campiness, I give Grizzly - 2 out of 5 stars.

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