We’re going to need a bigger picnic basket.
Grizzly (1976): 6 out of 10: Famous B-Movie that followed Jaws was made for 750k and it grossed over 30 million. Giant 18 foot grizzly bear terrorizes national park. Many a picnic basket was stolen.
The Good: Watching this again make me think I was way too hard on the sister film to this “Day of the Animals”. When I had seen Day of the Animals so many years ago it was on a poor VHS copy streamed. Now I see the wonderful job that they did remastering both that movie and Grizzly and I think I should give it another chance. (Spoiler alert I did)
The movie Grizzly features an actual bear named Teddy (who for the record was a Kodiak Bear) and it was nice to see that he still had his teeth and claws and seemed to be enjoying himself. Nothing worse than a movie with a bear that is overweight, defanged and miserable.
Also, for a PG movie, they don’t skimp on the gore as much as one would think. There are some surprising scenes in this film. Not all that effective mind you in the big picture, but a decent jump scare or two.
The Bad: Day of the Animals had a shirtless Leslie Nielsen wrestling a bear rug, a shirtless Leslie Nielsen raping men’s wives and the best unintentional cover of Mandy ever. Grizzly, on the other hand, is much more by the book. And that book’s name is Jaws. There is not one scene or camera trick from Jaws missing from this film. Shameless doesn’t even cover it. They seem to copy Jaws even when it makes little sense. (Being a bear, you see rather than a shark).
The Ugly: You kinda have to work hard to get eaten (or for that matter surprised) by an 18 foot Grizzly bear and the characters in this film are nothing if not hard working. First when hunting a grizzly apparently, you should skinny dip (if female) or fall asleep (if male). Keep in mind these are not tourists hiking into unknown danger. These are people actively hunting the bear.
Once you are asleep (or naked) and the bear attacks, you should immediately drop your rifle. You don’t have a sidearm cause well that would be cheating, I guess. If you are a major character, we allow you to keep your rifle, but you can only have two bullets. At no time are you and the bear to be in the same frame. First, we will have a forced perspective shot our star Kodiak Teddy on his hind legs. Then a shot of you dropping your rifle, fumbling with your bullets and tripping over a log. Then a close-up shot of Teddy roaring. Then you on the ground with blood on your clothes and maybe a missing limb. Rinse repeat.
Important Piece of Trivia
Important Piece of Trivia: So you see that handsome cat that is the mascot and occasional author on http://cinematicdiversions.com/? His name is also Teddy. Just like our Kodiak star of Grizzly. And like our ursine star, he likes to attack people when they are naked or sleeping. Usually he leaps on feet below the blankets with all claws extended. Sometimes he will bite the head of an unsuspecting napper. Like Teddy the bear, he is a gentle giant overall (Maine Coon cat. He is a big boy) but can play act ferocious when the mood strikes.
In Conclusion: It’s a fun time waster and with the recent remaster it doesn’t hurt the eyes to watch. If you go in thinking Jaws with a bear, you won’t be too disappointed.
RiffTrax Version: 10 out of 10: Now we have all seen the RiffTrax crew turn trash into treasure (Terror at Tenkiller). Then there are those times when the movie is such an easy riff it spoils you for material (The Apple). Grizzly falls squarely into the second camp. While not as good a riffing session as the one on Day of the Animals, they definitely nail the vibe of the film. Their relentless attacks on the over the top ripping off of Jaws gets funnier and funnier as the movie goes along. One of the great talents of RiffTrax is the ability to grab a theme like a rabid dog and run it into the ground so much that the jokes build on each other, transforming otherwise middling comments into hilarious riffs. No surprise, RiffTrax is the best way to view Grizzly.
Note: I have watched the RiffTrax again just for fun and to get me in the mood for Grizzly II: Revenge. This really is a good riffing session so I have tweaked the score up to 10.