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H. Gordon Boos
Filmed in 1983 but never officially released. Filmed mostly in Budapest, Hungary, the Hungarian government seized most of the production's equipment for non-payment of bills. Post-production was never completed. Cannon Films bought the film in 1987 and planned to complete post-production and release the film. But the company began having financial troubles in 1988 and the film was forgotten. The existence of this film was questioned until a workprint surfaced on the internet in 2007. See more »
This is often right up there on the list with 'Troll 2' and 'The Room' as one of the so bad it's funny movies.
We'll considering the budget and the fact that it was never finished, 'Grizzly 2' came out remarkably well.
How Oscar winner Louise Fletcher got on board for this project I have no idea. Perhaps she was told in the climax she would get to wrestle the grizzly and kill it with her bare hands? She certainly would have won.
First and foremost this is a bearsploitation film. So few good bearsploitation films exist that the premise actually interested me.
The plot: A crew of roadies set up for a Woodstock sized concert in... the woods of a national park (actually filmed in Hungary). Greedy industrialist Louise Fletcher diverts all the park rangers to providing security for the concert. She's invited the governor to exploit her political aspirations.
The film opens with a worm shot of Fletcher doing her cxxx from hell walking entrance set to Michael Jackson's 'Beat It!' Not kidding! This is one of the greatest opening sequences in film history!
The characters are all stereotypical. The concert crew consists of a jive talking wise black man giving advice to a younger man whom falls for the sheriff's (park ranger's) beautiful nature loving daughter.
The oddest part about the opening 20 minutes is how only Michael Jackson music blares. Seriously, it's all of Jackson's greatest hits. Just him. The roadies don't listen to anything else until the concert starts.
For a national park there's an awful lot of poaching going on and a mama bear must avenge the death of her cub. We hear the poachers tell each other the bear is "20 feet standing." Come on! Even cave bears never got that big. But we'll have to take their word since the bear is never actually shown. Not kidding, we never even see the bear! All we get is the POV shot of something growling in the woods. Its shadow reveals it's the camera man! NOT KIDDING! Similar to 'Jaws' the bear was supposed to make its first climactic appearance at the concert but the animatronics bear never worked. One of the reasons this film was never finished.
Our next three victims are young fornicators played by Charlie Sheen, George Clooney, and Laura Dern. Again, not kidding. Perhaps Sheen was still hiding out in the woods from the Soviet invasion? The three are eaten and the attack starts a forest blaze from their campfire. "Smokey says only he can start forest fires." Sheen's final words are, "I read somewhere that, 'bears are the impossibility of reason.'" OK, I am kidding about that part.
As with all horror films, the sheriff (head park ranger) wants to patrol the woods for the killer bear. But evil Louise Fletcher refuses to let a single ranger leave concert security. Hence, a legendary French Canadian trapper is called in, literally at a minute's notice to hunt the grizzly. He's played by John Reese Davies of 'Indiana Jones' and 'Sliders.' Meanwhile, evil poachers plot to kill the grizzly.
Far worse than seeing a camera man pretending to be a giant bear is the actual concert. It's live acts will horrify even the most die hard 80s new wave music fan like myself.
Since the climax was never actually finished, we're left to piece together what would have happened based on raw footage. It's so raw we can even hear the director giving stage directions. No music or sound FX and multiple takes of the same action.
Apparently the bear arrives at the concert and starts a fire on stage. It successfully fights off attacks from a forklift and John Reese Davies with a bowie knife. Don't any of the park rangers have a rifle? Remember, they're ALL there at the concert! Davies is actually killed two different ways and as I said before, the bear never actually appears on camera except for a shot showing a bear head sticking out of a pile of wrecked scaffolding. We can only presume it was killed by the stage collapsing.
There is audio for the closing shot of the governor witnessing the carnage from a distance and asking Louise Fletcher, "Is this part of the show?" "Yes, yes it is." she answers. Ha ha ha. The deaths of dozens of innocent people are funny.
This makes a great film to play a drinking game around or riff with friends. But the worst elements are the simple fact it was never finished and had a low budget to begin with.
All the elements existed for a great bearsploitation film. If only we'd seen the actual bear, and more importantly seen the bear killing people!
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