Saturday, July 24, 2010

Monster Crap Inductee: Grizzly (1976)

Monster Crap Induction: Grizzly
Warning: Many Bear Jokes Ahead


Well after the insulting induction that was Twilight’s New Moon, I feel the need to go back and do a movie that while silly is also awesome at the same time. And that is what we have here with what a lot of people would call a Jaws rip-off, but with it just on land in this 1976 film.

Now before I start, I must give a little back-story to this film. William Girdler was a director who enjoyed directing to the point where what we would normally consider hard work would be considered fun to him. His first film Asylum of Satan was released 3 years later and at that point, the guy had actually gotten a few other films released so it is kind of interesting between what IMDB calls his first film and what his first film actually was. His next film (which was the first of his released) was a slasher movie called Three On A Meathook. He would then do three movies that would be called “Blaxploitation”, the second of which was a film called Abby that got a lot of people in hot water with Warner Brothers because they felt it was too derivative of their classic The Exorcist.

After those three films, he would direct the film that is now going to be an official inductee into the Monster Crap library. This movie would star Christopher George, who was a few years finished with his gig as Sergeant Sam Troy in a show called The Rat Patrol. They also got Andrew Prine who was also doing okay for himself in the acting business with appearances on several TV shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Fugitive, Tarzan, The Virginian, Barnaby Jones, Kolchak The Night Stalker, among others. And for the third lead, they would land Richard Jaeckel, who five years before this movie was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his role Sometimes A Great Notion. With a cast like that, you should be able to get a good movie on it and honestly, they do a good job on that department. But there is a reason this movie is being inducted so let’s stop dilly-dallying and get to this induction.

We start this movie with the Paramount logo

A Logo That Gets The Ire Of So Many DVD Reviewers

After that, we get the Film Ventures International logo

I Will Go More Into Their History After This Film

The credits start as a helicopter passes…

Get Used To That Copter, You Will See It A Lot

We meet the first of our three main characters in Don Stober, who is a helicopter pilot. He is flying two guys above the forest. Don is trying to convince the two people that there should be no encroachment on the area and that this park should stay. We then get our opening title….

There Is Also A Really Nice Opening Score Playing During This.

We see more shots of the forest and I should tell you that this was shot in rural Georgia, which I have been to and it is very nice out there.

Yes, I Know Deliverance Was Also Here & No, The Hillbilly Bears Never Show Up

We then meet the second of our three main characters in Michael Kelly, who is the head forest ranger.

He gives a female ranger some crap for being late and then continues on with his speech. Everyone is worried about the number of backpackers is a lot while Michael assures them all that the rangers will do the best they can to watch all of them. The lady ranger tries to get Kelly to have her team up with her boyfriend (who is another ranger). He refuses their attempts to persuade him as another of the rangers called in sick so he needs someone to hold the fort.

We then go to the local restaurant as we meet our female lead (who is not one of our three main characters) in Allison Corwin

She is a photographer and when she is not helping her father with his restaurant, she is hanging out with her boyfriend, Michael Kelly. I should note that Allison is played by Joan McCall, who is married to one of the producers of this film in David Shelton. Normally, I would give this movie crap for hiring the spouse of a top guy, but this is a low budget movie so I will give it a pass. Besides, she actually is pretty good so no problems there.

We then meet two gals who decide to hike. I should mention here that one of these two women was the daughter of the mayor of the place they are shooting at. These two ladies go to their camp and get warned by a ranger who is passing by on his horse to not get lost. He also asks when they are leaving, to which they respond after they eat, and tells them to check into the station when they leave.

But something is amiss as we hear heavy breathing and camera views from that heavy breather as he is nearby. One of the ladies has to use the restrooms and leaves the other to start packing up. The lady starts packing up, but starts to hear the heavy breather. When she turns around, she sees the horror of…


Anyway, the bear swipes her a few times and that of course kills her.

Her friend hears the screams and sees that her friend is dead. She decides to run away and locks herself up inside an abandoned cabin. Of course her ease doesn’t last long as she experiences the horror of….

Our Number One Threat……..Bears

Well, it is only one bear, but that bear breaks through the wall….

Somewhere, The Kool-Aid Man Is Mad He Didn’t Say “Oh Yeah”

Anyway, the bear breaks through the wall and kills the other girl.

I Guess Human Stew Will Have To Do Instead Of Rabbit Stew.

Somewhere else, we see that Allison is taking pictures with Michael when Michael receives the news about that there are two missing campers as they drive to the spot where the other ranger thinks they may be.

Sadly, Luke & Blubber Bear Was Not Racing Them

Michael goes into the shack and finds a dead girl’s body falling from the ceiling.

Damn You Super Ted

Michael is shocked by this discovery and calls for a night search for the other victim.

Put That Fire Out. Last Thing We Need Is….

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires…


Anyway, everyone assumes that a bear did the deed. Of course it ends up that Allison trips over the other girl’s body, which was buried.

At the coroner’s office, the coroner tells Michael that it was definitely a bear that killed them. They revealed that last season; they hauled up the bears to high country, where there is plenty of food. And when Michael mentions that bears don’t eat people, the coroner says that apparently this one did.

The park supervisor Charley Kittridge comes in and starts giving Michael flack about this whole killer bear incident. Charley says that with what happened last season, there are only two possibilities: one of the bears came back or Michael didn’t do his job. Since those are the only two possibilities Charley wants an investigation on the matter after it is taken care of, an idea that does not please Michael. They talk about Arthur Scott (who is our third main star) and how he tagged every bear out there. Charley then tells Michael that Arthur is the man he wants to speak to on this situation. Meanwhile, radios are coming in telling nearby campers to evacuate certain areas of the park and people are really listening.

Michael then contacts Arthur, but unfortunately this pisses Arthur off as he was trying to follow some deer and the radio made so loud of a noise that he lost the deer. Michael reveals that the bear happened and he needs to come down to take care of the situation. Back at his office, Michael reveals to Allison his plan to fame and fortune was to marry into fame. He revealed that he wanted out so when an alleged affair failed, he sold everything he owned and became a park ranger; that of course, got him the breakup he wanted.

Meanwhile, there are rangers in the woods searching for our killer bear. Two of the rangers are of course our boyfriend and girlfriend rangers. The girlfriend ranger decides to take a break so she can take her clothes off and soak herself in a nearby waterfall. Unfortunately for her, she is attacked by….

Da Bear!!!!

The bear kills her as we see blood drip down the waterfall.

We move to the restaurant, where Michael is not happy about this whole mess. Allison tries to cheer him up, but sadly it doesn’t work.

The next day, Don flies Michael up in his helicopter in an attempt to help find this killer bear and Michael is thankful for his help. Michael thinks he sees something, but unfortunately the thing he sees is Arthur. Arthur reveals that he is definitely convinced that the killer bear isn’t one of theirs. Arthur also reveals that based on evidence, the bear is a grizzly. He also reveals based on claw marks on a nearby tree….he is 15 feet tall and according to the paw prints, he weighs over 2,000 pounds. Don & Michael definitely don’t believe any of this as they say the grizzlies in the area had been killed years ago.

At a nearby encampment where several people are camping, we hear songs and we see two lovebirds attempting to make out. The female lovebird goes into her tent, but is sadly killed by our killer bear.

The guy screams as she is killed.

Since No Picnic Baskets Were Stolen, We Can Definitely Assume That It Is Not Yogi Bear.

The rangers come by as Michael attempts to console our male heartbroken lovebird.

The Male Lovebird Also Has A Very Distinguishing Red Hat.

Charley comes in to once again give Michael some flack and also gives Arthur some flack as well. When Arthur tells him that it is definitely a grizzly killing these people, Charley does not believe him.

The next day, Michael sees that there are hunters out in the woods searching for the bear. This does not make Michael happy so he goes to confront Charley on the matter. One of the hunters finds our killer bear, but is luckily able to escape. Michael confronts Charley on the whole thing and Charley reveals that this is his way of taking care of the killer bear problem. Charley also reveals why he is on Michael’s ass and that is because Michael is a maverick.

No, He Is Sadly Not Bret Maverick

Our three protagonists meet up with the ranger who is still sad about his girlfriend getting killed near the waterfall. The ranger tells them that the bear got a hunter who barely survived and is at the clinic now. Allison shows up and wants to join them in their hunt for the bear, a proposition that Michael flat out refuses.

Also that night, several hunters camping meet a bear cub.

Hey Boo-Boo

This of course for a second gives our hunters a scare since they woke up to see this and no matter what, if you wake up to see almost any animal, you might have a bit of a scare. But hey, there is some good news in the matter….

At Least It Wasn’t That Teddy Ruxpin Doll

The hunters get a good idea that this might be the killer bear’s cub and attempt to use the cub as bait. That sadly doesn’t work so well as the grizzly decides to kill the bear cub.


We transition to a few minutes later where Michael is none too pleased with the hunters for using the cub as live bait. Arthur then says that since this happened they know one thing for sure and that is the grizzly is male since males have been known to cannibalize the young. The three protagonists and the hunters form a plan to flush out this grizzly, but the ranger who lost his girlfriend is being assigned to a nearby tower just in case. Arthur then talks about how he wants to capture the bear instead of killing it, but Michael and Don really don’t think that is a good idea. Don then tells a story about Native Americans being killed by grizzlies and then the grizzlies having a taste for blood. Arthur still wants to capture the grizzly (even after that story) and Don wonders what his mother would think of what he is doing. Arthur and Don get into a little argument over this and Michael is there to cool them down. Michael tells Arthur that if they see the grizzly, he gets a crack at trying to capture the bear, but he doesn’t want him to go in those woods alone.

The sun rises and the plan to capture or kill this bear begins. We see the heartbroken ranger at the tower looking over the forest. Unfortunately for this heartbroken ranger, this bear decides to a complete douchebag and knock over the tower.

What An Asshole!!!

Help comes, but it is too late as they find the heartbroken ranger’s body under wood.

I Guess He Couldn’t “Bear” To Be Without His Girlfriend…..Waka Waka Waka

Get out of here Fozzie before I throw a tomato at you!!! Anyway, Michael and Charley get into another argument over the fact that Michael needs extra help to take care of this bear. Arthur comes in and basically shows disrespect towards Charley and leaves when Michael wants him to eat out of the office. Michael finally tells Charley that he needs to close the park and our supervisor disagrees. Michael then gets mad about the media being out there and is furious when Charley reveals he invited them. Michael then accuses Charley of not caring whether this situation gets taken care of as long as he looks good. Charley wants Michael out of his office, but the park ranger shoves the supervisor before leaving and vowing to make sure Charley doesn’t get anything handshakes. That night at the ranger’s station, Arthur decides to go out on his own to catch the bear despite Michael trying to convince him that is not a good idea.

The next day, a young kid is out playing with his bunnies while his mother dries the clothes the old fashioned way. The rabbit escapes and….

Dear God……Please Don’t Let The Rabbit Grow

But that does not happen as the kid catches the rabbit and brings him back to the fenced in yard. Unfortunately, the boy leaves the fence door open and he is then attacked by….

Oh Dear God…..It’s Pedo Bear!!!! RUN!!!!!!

The bear attacks the boy, but the boy is saved when his mother comes in with a broom to stop the killer bear. Sadly the bear had already ripped his leg off and decides to kill the mom instead.

That rainy night, they take the boy to the hospital and take the mother to the morgue. Charley realizes he is finished and relents to doing what Michael asked. Michael gets in one shot on Charley before leaving by telling the media that this is what happens when greed takes over. Michael also rips the nearby reporter saying that the media’s hand is not clean either. When the reporter states he told it how it was, Michaels says there is only one person who can tell how it was and it was the kid who is missing the leg. Michael leaves and you can see he is upset over the whole matter.

The next day, Michael is having Don grab some weapons as they go on the helicopter to search for the killer bear. We then get a montage of Michael and Don searching via helicopter while Arthur searches via horseback. Michael and Don attempt to capture the bear using a deer’s carcass as bait. The bear gets the better of them as he has them chase and lose him so he can steal the deer carcass.

The next day, the bear appears before Arthur and immediately takes care of his horse.

Our Bear Must Be Part Of The Corleone Family.

The killer bear then takes care of Arthur and buries him.

But wait, Arthur is not dead yet as he rises from his partial burial. Unfortunately when he awakens, the bear is back and our killer finishes the job.

Michael and Don come by and see the corpse of Arthur. The two mourn the loss of their friend as they determine how his corpse will be returned. The two go back onto the helicopter, but they don’t have to go far before the bear decides to taunt them.

Gee…..What A Jerk!!! He Might As Well Have Given These Two The Middle Finger

What’s that? Christopher Walken has something to say? Well, let him speak. Go ahead, Mr. Walken.

This Is Not Over…………..BEAR!!!!!

Oooooookay….moving on. The two chase the bear for a bit before deciding to set down because they think the bear is tired. The bear attacks and spins the copter for a bit before he is distracted by Don shooting at him. The bear decides to kill Don….

Or Trying To Have Him Look For Those Bear Necessities.

Don is killed and it is apparent to Michael that the shotgun does not work. So how does he kill him??? Well, he….

Gets Help From The Care Bears Who Do Their Care Bear Stare..

And The Ewoks Who Use Their Weapons (The Same Weapons Used To Defeat The Empire)

No, that doesn’t happen as those would be absurd. It would be just as absurd as Michael blowing the bear up with a bazooka and this movie isn’t that….

Wow……This Movie Is That Absurd.

Yes, Michael gets a bazooka and blows the bear up with it. I’m sorry…..but that might be a bit of overkill to kill the damn thing. I mean seriously, how do we go from shotgun to bazooka? The movie ends with Michael looking over the remains of the bear and the body of Don.

Yes Kids, I Blew Up A Bear

And now we get to the aftermath and quite honestly, this movie is probably going to have the largest aftermath because there is a lot that happened after this movie was made. First let’s talk about its reception. Despite critics panning the movie as being a Jaws rip-off (and they have a legitimate point on several of the film’s plot points), this movie made a crap ton of movie as it earned 39 million dollars worldwide on a $750,000 budget. It was actually one of the most successful independent films of 1976.

There were several films that attempted to be a sequel to this movie, but none of them were legit. However, there was an attempt at a legit sequel to this movie called Grizzly 2: The Predator (later renamed to Predator: The Concert). This film was supposedly shot in Hungary and would have starred……get this…..George Clooney (he actually got his SAG card because of this film), Charlie Sheen (in what would have been his first feature length film role), Laura Dern, Louise Fletcher, Deborah Raffin, John Rhys-Davies, & Deborah Foreman. Unfortunately, this movie was never finished and a work print was released in 2007 (with barely any shots of the killer bear), which is nearly impossible to find.

This brings us to the company who released this movie, Film Ventures International and namely its founder and boss, Edward L. Montoro. When this movie got its money, Edward attempted to keep all the money to himself, saying that the film ran over budget. The filmmakers who made this film sued the ever loving crap out of Mr. Montoro and eventually they were paid what they rightfully deserved. After several other failures to make the same amount of money (including a ungodly amount of money to the Italian Jaws rip-off White Shark, which lasted only two weeks in theaters before Universal had it pulled for it being too derivative to Jaws), Edward took one million dollars from FVI and vanished, never to be seen again. It is believed he ran off to Mexico, but nonetheless, FVI went out of business less than a year later.

Now let’s talk about the director of this film, Mr. William Girdler. This guy has a cult following and it is easy to see why. William made movies under a very low budget and was said to be loved by a lot of those who worked with him. After finishing the movie The Manitou (which is about a evil Native American spirit growing out of the back of a woman’s neck), Will was in the Philippines looking for places to shoot another film when the helicopter he was on was caught among some wires and crashed, killing everyone on board. William Girdler was only 30 years old and he only made nine movies.

Next we move to several of the bear actors that played either the killer bear or the bear cub. The bear that played mostly the killer bear was a bear named “Teddy”, who was easily the biggest bear they could find. Teddy was said to be very friendly with the actors, but for most of the time never went near them. Another bear that was in this film would also appear in the other William Girdler “man vs. nature” film, Day of the Animals. But that isn’t the main reason I mentioned her. The main reason I mentioned her is she ended up giving birth to one of the most famous bear actors of all time, Bart The Bear. Bart The Bear was a staple in movies with a bear in them, including The Great Outdoors, Legends Of The Fall, The Edge, and my favorite film involving a bear.

1988’s The Bear

Hell, Bart The Bear Even Presented The Oscar For Best Sound Effects Editing At The 70th Academy Awards

Needless to say, Bart The Bear was pretty well known and his mother was in Grizzly.

This leads me now to my final thoughts on this film. I really do love this movie as it is an awesomely bad killer animal movie and the overkill ending is just perfect. Where else am I going to say the killer animal gets killed by a bazooka? The acting in this movie is really solid and the music is so serene that if it were not for the killer bear, you would forget that this was a horror movie. The setting is absolutely beautiful and now you know why there are several films that are shot in Georgia. I would recommend this movie tenfold and I am glad that the DVD of this film is done very well as it is a two disc DVD with a lot of special features. This is awesomely bad because of the low budget bear effects, but everything else is top notch.

That leads us into the next film, which will be inducted in August and I feel this movie and its monster may be the very thing that defines Monster Crap.

That's Right......The Next Induction Will Be Monsturd