What do you think about creamy tomato soup? I’m really in love with the stuff. The texture of regular tomato soup makes me think I am drinking melted dwarf, but the creamy stuff is not unlike a subtle tip of the hat from a man you respect. It just feels GOOD. So let’s review 1976’s Grizzly in response to all of this.
Grizzly is a part of a seemingly unstoppable genre movement known as Nature Run Amok films. Jaws kick started all of this into high gear way back when and as a result we got everything from giant colonies of spiders eating William Shatner’s face (a visual that briefly ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004 and would’ve won had someone not finally noticed this was just a screenshot and not an actual living person) to giant mutated dog eating alligators. The whole thing has had a remarkable run as even now you can find relatively new “Animals slaughtering hillbillies” masterpieces like Maneater and BLOOD MONKEY. Sadly, these new wave of flicks miss a vital element of the original set: They don’t have big goofy puppet as the titular villains. Instead they opt for bad CGI. I will not rest until I get back a phony looking flexible plastic skeleton covered in golden retriever fur that is spliced with actual wild life footage in a desperate attempt to convince me that a man-eating yak is terrorizing a pre-school.
Grizzly is the king of these old school shitfests. An almost beat for beat ripoff of Jaws, it’s shameless in it’s nudity, gore and big giant fake bear claws. How could you NOT fall in love for the first time all over again or other equally vague statements?!
– Paramount Pictures! That’s a damn man’s movie logo. Frigid mountain tops, an un-scaleable summit, whiskey instead of water, GOT DANGED beards instead of well groomed sideburns. That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!
– We cut to a lovely gigantic natural park and into the helicopter of one Don Stober. He notes the land is untouched and remains the same since the Native Americans were first there. So there’s unused extra car parts laying everywhere, empty cans of Milwaukee’s Best litter the streams and unattended shirtless children are running in circles and screaming the one word they know in their families native tongue? Is that what you mean Stober?
– Oh yeah, he’s trying to convince some suit to protect the area and keep it beautiful forever. Whatever, knock it down and put up a few more Taco Kings and Lady Foot Lockers. My woman needs food and shoes, not fucking NATURE hikes.
– They are actually really nice overehad shots of the land. Big rivers, mountains, woods. Plenty of places to get away with a little meth production.
– The music is actually pretty enticing, nice big sweeping score. Modeled a bit after the more adventurous selections in the Jaws score, so you know they weren’t fucking around when they decided to rip that sucker off. Good for them, might as well go the whole nine yards with it.
– Random shots of people hanging out at the entrance of the Natural Park. It’s 1976, so there’s a lot of teased hair, and awkward tight pants. What is with awkward tight pants and finding a place for them in every decade? You’re not comfortable, stop it.
– Michael Kelly is fucking here and he’s burnt by the sun and has whisky and cigar voice so you know he’s going to yell at someone a lot. For now, he’s just the pleasant happy go lucky ranger prepping his staff to handle the huge influx of campers they have this year. The movie should’ve went the cute route and had him say “You know, should be a profitable year as long as Nature doesn’t unleash an inhuman gut ripping monster upon the area the likes of which we have never seen.” I am a screenwriter!
– Let’s jump to the local restaurant where Allison and her father are having a chat about finances. He’s just left bills around not paid and isn’t charging enough for the wine he sells. “Good wine at reasonable prices keeps the customers coming back!” Because we’re alcoholics you old bastard, we have a demon inside of us and you keep feeding it, it’s power growing and growing. Man takes a drink then the drink takes the man. They took my kids away and it’s all because of your discount wine. Vengeance will taste sweeter than any merlot however, my senses dulled by the red nectar, yet my rage so so sharp. Soon my animal that grows inside of me…soon.
– Oh hey, there’s Park Ranger Kelly to flirt with Allison and sound like he’s powered through a pack of Marlboro Red’s in the past 45 minutes. They say some stuff, but I forgot to listen as I was trying to figure out if that alcoholic joke up there was funny or just achingly true.
– Let’s get the hell out of that scene and go to cute hiking girls. Not enough jean shorts for my liking. The woods is making crackling noises beside me and you just KNOW the murder is coming. Instead some asshole on a horse rides up and tells them to be careful and yadda yadda yadda.
– Point of view cam with heavy breathing. The bear is massive according to it’s line of sight. He’s…very…slowly…making his way to the girls campsite. And finally we are there. “June?” No, it’s not June.
– Our first appearance of incredibly awful looking matted fur paw comes into play and KNOCKS HER ARM OFF. Then the bear smacks her around a little more, rips off some of her face and throws her into a tree. All of this over stolen utensils or chess games or whatever it is that drives giant bears to kill.
– The other girl who went for wood or something shows back up and she looks enough like Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years for me to think about giving myself the once over real quick. I decide against it.
– Survivor girl hauls ass and manages to find a beaten down wooden shed. Surely, this will stop God’s greatest pulse having wrecking ball. Also she is beat to hell on her face and arms, signaling tree branch scratches. I mention this because I’m an idiot and the first time I saw this, I had no idea why her face resembled a dropped bowl of spaghetti pre attack.
– Mamma Mia! The bear breaks through the fucking ceiling. Her reaction of “Get out!” and slightly bulged eyes are not the things Academy Awards are made of. The bear rips half of her face off too, which is not unlike how my Winnie Cooper sex fantasy ends to be fair. Her screams echo through out the woods.
– The movie would’ve been better if the bear was intentionally ripping off faces to wear at a later time. Like he sneaks into town wearing cute girls faces and no one notices as the 20 foot tall version of hairy Tammy stocks up on Ho-Hos and honey extract. We could’ve called it Honkey: The Face Wearing Bear and made tens of thousands of pennies.
– Ranger Kelly is smoking and throwing down lit butts in the middle of the woods as him and Allison talk about nothing. Fucking pre-PC is awesome. Burn the whole damn world down and give my kids cancer, but I am not giving up my SMOOTH Camel Lights.
– Another ranger happens across Kelly and Allison and informs him of the missing girls. This place does not screw around, you go without checking in for more than 20 minutes and you are considered a rotting corpse that has possibly been dismembered.
– Kelly finds the wooden shack and a body falls from the ceiling. Smash cut and it is dark and we got us a POSSE ready to roll. Elevated blood alcohol levels, guns and a pocket full of fear. This entices me. Kelly bitches at people and almost raises his voice, but not yet…not yet.
– Oh God in heaven, Allison just stumbled into the remains of the other girl. We jump to the morgue and Kelly chain smokes some more. The Mayor or owner or some garbage shows up and acts like a cock so we have a guy Kelly can argue with. Oh it’s the Park Supervisor. He looks like someone Gorilla Monsoon would’ve demanded stopped running interference for Greg Valentine. “Someone needs to get Park Supervisor Kittridge outta here! He just slipped Valentine his Park Ranger Walking Cane! COME ON REF, DO YOUR JOB!”
– Backstory for Kelly. And just as I typed that sentence, a character on the movie said “I really don’t care.” Sign from God, I say.
– People be huntin’ for dat dere bear. Male ranger just gave a female ranger a chance to take a break, meaning he will be later informing her family that a bear turned her into spaghetti-os. Oh Jeez, she’s going to soak her feet too. This either about to turn into a wonderful foot porn or murder murder murder.
– Hey she did take her top off! The bear is grunting like myself after chowing through an order of fried mushrooms. And suddenly, the cool wondrous waters of the river are turned blood red as big fake bear paw smacks her back into the earth from which she came. Nude mauling. Always a must have.
– In a shocking twist, Ranger Kelly is drinking and smoking back at some cabin. Will you fucking DO something!? Oh wait, he has to be morose and reflective. His voice is so harsh that I begin swallowing glass in an attempt to replicate it because it’s so sickeningly testosterone filled.
– Bad characterization as Kelly turns down a drink. What shit.
– Don, the pilot from earlier, is helping out with his whirlybird machine. Kelly and he, cut from the same type of abused booze soaked leather, bond a little. “How bout that philly YOU ridin’?!” is a wonderful way to keep a conversation moving.
– Kelly spots something and Don warbles with southern charm. They take down the copter and almost blast some other asshole who’s part of the chase. He was wearing a bear skin you see. Oy. DEAR GOD. Mathew Mconheahehehehehey got his manner of speaking from Don, I think. “Ain’t no grizzlies up this way, my man.” I nearly shit. Things make me shit rather easily these days.
– Scotty is a bit of an expert and informs them they are looking for a 15 foot tall plus, 1 ton prehistoric grizzly bear. “Scotty, you might be some sort o’…AUTH-OR-EYE-TY on this, but what you talkin bout is science fiction.” Don should fucking sue the Lincoln Lawyer till his hair gel surplus is bankrupt or something. Huh?!
– Random people camping and some deviant pedophile is about to get some tent pussy. Right after he finishes chugging what looks to be a can of beans with beer mixed in. Hell, that’s good eatin!
-Jesus Christ! Grizzly suddenly explodes through their tent, gets the woman in the reverse chicken wing and then smashes her face into a tree a few dozen times. I can’t even type that without having to laugh wildly.
-Mr. Park Supervisor is on the scene and giving Kelly a hard time. He of course denies there could possibly be a white shark or giant anaconda terrorizing the locals. Someone finally notices these 2 have been arguing for well over 23 hours and notes there is a giant killer blue tiger out there in them woods. Something, some shit. I don’t know.
– More scenes of hunters running in various directions with god awful music to support it. This is known as padding. Scott, Don and Kelly are having a jack off session in a jeep and noticing all the hunters who’ve shown up. Kelly is of course afraid they’ll not only shoot the bear but all of the swimmers of Amity Island, as reality begins to tear.
– Some redneck asshole finds giant bear prints like 20 feet up on a tree. He decides to pursue by himself, on foot, with a 22. This is disturbingly accurate portrayal of a Southern man’s bravery/stupidity/levels of inebriation.
– I must admit, the scenes where the real grizzly they used are spliced in nicely. Oh shit, the hunter just stumbled upon the thing and it’s a god damn footrace the likes we haven’t seen since Mickey Rourke noticed Uncle Hank was making a mad dash for the last Natty Light. Pure chaos. The guy escapes by falling into the river.
– Cut to Kelly, Scott and Don confronting the Park Supervisor. Oh no, Kelly’s rage is getting loud. It’s pressing. It’s rumbling. It’s stumbling. You get a taste, just a taste when he tells Kittridge off.:”Well while you’ve been sitting around here on your FAT ASS, I’ve made the park a part of me.” You actually briefly feel bad for Kittridge, because he’s probably sensitive about his somewhat supple backside.
– His friend Scotty looks like William Shatner if he was a lesbian.
– Oh no, Kelly is going into action hero mode except he’s drunk and abusive. He puts his bitch in her place when she tries to go with them. Don’t you fuck with him lady, don’t you dare fuck with him.
– Jump to some campers sleeping. They do not have names and haven’t been in the movie at all up to this point, so er, yeah, say goodbye.
– Oh wait, all that comes for them is a cub. And of course, one of our friendly bubba’s got some thought a brewin’. Use the cub as bait, since it just has to be the grizzlies. That’s how they’ll be the ones to get that big ornery bastard. Ornery does not need corrected when used in spell-check. Huh.
– The grizzly has no actual emotions and eats the damn cub just for the pure sport of it. Hehehe. He ate a baby. Haha….ohahaha…AHAHAHAHAHA.
– Our main characters chastise them for their horrible nature murder. Something worth pointing out: The movie is dragging badly enough to where I had to open a beer and drink some rum. It’s 4 PM on a Sunday.
– Don gives his Quint speech and it’s sort of effective, just because Don looks like the type of man who would take a 30 pack to the head and then hip toss his toddler into a slot machine. Don and Scotty have TENSION.
– Welp, to hell with that scene, it’s morning now and everything is in it’s right place. We are hanging out with some poor schmuck in a guard tower. He’s got a hat on, so you know he’s officially part of the park.
– Unfortunately, the bear catches wind of this guy and proceeds to attack the 30 foot tower in which he resides. Shaky camera work means the bear is shifting the entire tower side to side. JR. Ranger guy pumps a few rounds into his head, but just like myself at an open bar, the deadly rage cannot be quelled. The entire tower collapses, killing buddy on impact. Don and Kelly find him, which leads to Don checking for a pulse despite the guy’s body being splattered across a rock. Well you gotta be sure, I guess.
-And then, Kelly decides to destroy The Park Supervisor. All I can do is recap it. No jokes can be made. Ever. Because Christopher George AKA Ranger Kelly might come back from the grave and kick my fucking ass for dare mocking him.
Kelly: Charlie, close the park and gimme another crack at it.
Kittridge: There’s no need to close the park.
Kelly: Do you know there’s more TV reporters and cameras out there than animals!? IT’S A GOD DAMNED CIRCUS.
Kittridge: I invited them.
Kelly: YOU INVITED THEM!?
Kittridge: I wanted them to see the kind of clean, thorough job we are doing.
Kelly (hissing): You’re…KIDDING. We got 5 dead people, one raving almost dead man…and you call that CLEAN!?
Kittridge: We’re doing every…
Kelly: BULLSHIT. You know…I just figured you out…You don’t give a good god damn if we get that bear or not, long as you get to go to WASHINGTON and get you one of those nice clean brown offices!
At this point, Kittridge yells get out and stands to eject Kelly. Kelly throws him back in the chair, the drama sparking off of them, hotter than a thousand suns.
Kelly: Well you just lost your office, cause when I finish with you. There won’t be anyone there to shake your GREEDY, GREASY, BLOODY HANDS.
Kittridge: YOU ARE FINISHED! REMOVED!
Kelly: UP. YOURS.
– God, I need a smoke and a punch to the face while listening to a Pantera record. You have to find this scene and listen to Kelly’s beaten near death voice yell these things at a fairly defenseless man. Pure, gold. Also, Kelly fucking hates Washington and people who go there.
– Now here’s a picture of an earlier character enjoying a beer. Joey Boobrick? The Gods say yes.
– Kelly goes and gets shitfaced drunk. Scotty is pretty disappointed by this and decides to go out on his own to catch the grizzly. What the fuck is his plan? Headlock take down transitioned into a heel hook?
– Some house on the outskirts of town. An absolutely hideous woman warns her 5 year old to stay close. Of course, immediately after going inside, the bear attacks, RIPS OFF THE CHILD’S LEG and in general, acts like an asshole. The mom charges, but she just gets the Jesse Ventura memorial bear hug. Never knew a bear hug would cause the human body to shit blood all over creation, but there it is.
-Kittridge finally agrees to get rid of the press. All it took was a child getting his limb ripped off, I say in the scheme of things, that’s ok. Kelly again randomly mentions Kittridge going to Washington to be a big wig, making me wonder if you really can jump from running a park, to a United States senator within a month.
-Kelly tears apart a news reporter and mentions the only one who could tell the true story is “little Bobby”, the child mauled earlier. When asked, “He’s alive?!”, he responds “Part of him is”. Hm, pancreas must of made it.
– Kelly enlists Don who notes it’s like Nam all over again. They got a chopper, some weapons and a helluva lotta rage. Don says “gooks” a few times to beat home that he was in Nam. Oh by the way, if you haven’t noticed, the movie has gone insane.
– The chopper flies over the woods and in a mind boggling shot, we cut to the bear seeing it, and reacting with a “Come get some!” attitude. I stopped drinking, obviously my Pabst has been spiked.
– Don has a plan to hang a gutted deer from a tree to attract the bear. Kelly yelling “Don, WILL YOU LIFT?!” kills me as you can just hear the decades of smoke circling his lungs. I cannot do any of this justice, as you may have well noticed.
– And so it begins. Two 140 pound men on foot chase a massive killing machine through the woods. To be fair, if Kelly raised his voice at me, I’d probably drop dead so lets cut the bear some slack.
– The bear is some sort of rocket scientist bear and circles back to get the deer carcass and drag it off. The men do their best “Gol darnit, dang ol mean ol killin machine done smarted us!”
– Kelly is a man after my own heart because immediately after running briefly, he notes that we need to get some damn sleep. Amen.
– It’s morning in this desolate shit woods and you remember Scotty, don’t you? Well he’s still out on his own, searching for the bear by horseback. Once again…PLAN!? He gonna choke it out with his knit wool cap or what? He of course finds the half eaten corpse of the deer and things are looking bleak.
– Scotty gets ahold of Kelly and informs him of where he is. His plan is to drag the deer corpse to them causing the bear to follow and henceforth, they can blow his ass away. Uhh…
– Almost immediately, the bear attacks Scotty and knocks his horse’s head off! AND SCOTTY BRIEFLY RIDES HIS HEADLESS HORSE! AND THEY SHOW THE HORSE HEAD HIT THE GROUND! AND THERE IS A REVERSE HEADLESS HORSEMAN JOKE IN HERE BUT I JUST CAN’T QUITE GET TO IT! DEAR GOD! DEAR GOD!
– DEAR. GOD.
– The bear knocks Scotty senseless with a backhand slap. Girl, you KNOW dat bear ain’t playin! He proceeds to bury our beaten hero to save for later.
– Don and Kelly are on the way! And Scotty is still somehow alive, briefly crawling out of his bear made grave. But for reasons beyond me, the bear is just standing there waiting and kills him again. Well what a waste of 10 minutes that was.
– Don and Kelly find what’s left of Scotty. Kelly’s “Wow, shit that sucks” face is pretty much the gold standard for someone phoning in a scene. Great stuff.
– Don and Kelly have one of those movie male bonding moments where you end up yelling at the screen “Oh just kiss him already!” The thought of these men kissing just made me recoil and yet thrust forward all in one motion. Thrown my back out pretty bad.
– They spot the bear from the chopper and chase him a lot and oh Jesus, this is just an excuse to show more of the beautiful wooded area. Inexplicably Kelly asks Don to set the helicopter down and as soon as he does, the bear shoulder blocks the thing sending it spinning.
– Kelly cowers inside while Don has gone all Vietnam flashback and is attacking the bear at random with gunfire. The bear charges him and you know this shit is over because he gets that bear hug locked in nice and deep. Kelly will you fucking help him?! HE’S USING HIS GUN AS A BAT FOR GOD’S SAKE! He may have survived 4 billion Vietcong but his pussy friend and a giant walking rug finally take him down.
– Kelly finally does something and finds a BAZOOKA in the chopper. He fumbles with it a little and then wildly fires it into the bear’s abdomen. The bear goes up in flames like me trying to get a real job and that seems to be that. We go to credits with sad Kelly viewing the corpse of Don, who would be fine if they had just stayed in the god damn sky, but whatever.
Final Verdict: That first hour or so drags pretty badly, but once this baby gets going, it flies off the rails like the train in Super 8. Limbs flying, husky voiced screaming and a decapitated horse walking around briefly make this a *** affair. God, that first half is pretty brutal though. Bring bear. Err…Beer. AHAHAHAHA. Still shot of me laughing needs to be inserted here. This review is over.