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I read comments that there were problems with the animatronic 14" bear". That may be what techs were told in the US but there was NO such item. The 14 foot version was a puppet that was only intended to be used on the full sized stage and all those shots were completed before leaving Hungary. The half size animatronic version was complete and working prior to leaving Hungary too and we shot tests of it at that time. I had an agreement with Joe Proctor to direct the half size effects unit and all elements ( other than the man in a suit version which was almost complete) were finished and ready to shoot in coordination with the storyboard that I also supervised with artist Tony Beasley. The money dried up and the crew's PERSONAL equipment was seized by the Government who told us they were held against non payment of production bills. We never got our stuff out of there.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Briefly, the film's co-producer was unable to clear the Grizzly title because of a bankruptcy court involving the original Grizzly picture. Superstar Charlie Sheen's first picture, it also starred Laura Dern, Louise Fletcher, John Rhys-Davies, Deborah Foreman and Deborah Raffin. When problems arose with the animatronic 18 foot bear, Academy Award director John Avildsen advised me to shoot the bear footage with a large man wearing a bear suit. We went back to Budapest, Hungary, where the forest stood in for Yellowstone National Park and re-shot bear footage. Menahem Golan whose Cannon Films bought the picture went into bankruptcy after making a deal on the picture. I have videotapes of the original footage in our garage on Long Island and the screenplay that I co-wrote. My producer wife, Florina Massbaum, and I currently reside on the West Coast where we have several pictures in the works, including Racer Rocket Rebel which Haley Joel Osment read and will star in once we complete the financing. The re-shot footage includes the bear's attack on the outdoor concert. Amazingly, the Hungarian director who lived in Paris fell apart over personal reasons and I had to take over directing and editing. To this day, I am convinced we should have had the actor (Charlie Sheen) come back alive in the picture and hunt down the bear. In fact, we are currently planning a picture for Mr. Sheen and his stunning wife, Denise Richards. The superstar, George Clooney, makes a great role in the picture, another reason to get this picture out!
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!
Grizzly II (1987)
Ahh, don't you just love lost movies? This sequel to William Girdler's 1976 cult favorite GRIZZLY was a Hungarian production that started filming in 1983 but for some reason it was never fully completed. Rumor has it that something illegal was done during the production and local authorities pretty much shut the film down. For nearly two-decades this film was surrounding in quite a myth as many believed it was never actually filmed while others thought they simply ran out of money and couldn't complete it. Then around 2005 or so, a workprint turned up and thankfully the majority of the film was complete. Being a killer grizzly film I guess it's fitting that the only thing actually missing are the bear attacks. Apparently the producers were going to film everything involving the bear in the final weeks of production so this never happened. The rest of the movie is pretty much complete but whenever something with a bear is about to happen the footage is simply missing. You still see the people attacked but there's just no actual footage of the bear doing it. With that said, if GRIZZLY II were to be released, completed or not, it would become an instant cult classic. Hell, it already is even with the missing footage. Let see what all this film has to offer:
* Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher.
* Deborah Raffin from DEATH WISH 3.
* John Rhys-Davies from the Indiana Jones series.
* Charles Cyphers from HALLOWEEN.
* Deborah Foreman of VALLEY GIRL.
* A soundtrack that illegally uses countless Michael Jackson songs.
* GRIZZLY star Christopher George was signed to play the lead but died of a heart attack shortly before production.
Wait there's one more big thing.......
* George Clooney, Charlie Sheen and Laura Dern in the same scene together.
GRIZZLY II has a, what else, grizzly eating people just as a State Park is about to hold a major concert. The owner (Fletcher) refuses to alert the media about the bear fearing it won't sell tickets so she demands the lid be put on it. Soon enough a group of rednecks (led by Cyphers) are trying to track down the bear while innocent campers (Clooney, Sheen, Dern) are eaten alive. Unfinished or not, GRIZZLY II is a must see for fans of bad cinema or just those who enjoy the "nature attacks" genre. There's so much wackiness in this movie that it really does seem as if you're watching about twenty-different campy movies rolled into one. You can start with the god-awful "concert" footage, which actually takes up a very big portion of the running time. The music is so awful that you can't help but have a good time with it and even though you'll want to cover your ears you just can't simply because of how funny it is. The men dancing around in tight shorts isn't any better and the silly redneck hunters are just downright crazy. There's one hilarious scene where one of the hunter's loses his brother to the bear and the only thing his buddies can do is tell him to just forget about it so they can go make money. More campiness arrives when the big three are out campy. Dern does a striptease for Clooney who is in a sleeping bad. The scene has them both cuddling in the bag when they're attacked by the bear. Just watch how Clooney appears more interesting in touching Dern than actually fighting the bear. This is followed up by Sheen getting attacked and just wait until you hear that scream of his, which has to be one of the worst in film history. There are so many campy moments in this film that you really can't help but just sit back and enjoy them. It's really too bad that the film was never completed but looking at the movie it probably wouldn't take too much money or time to fill in the missing pieces. The attack sequences really wouldn't take that long to film and when you see how many known stars are in the movie you can't help but think they'd have a terrific selling point. GRIZZLY II, so far, remains unreleased and it's a real shame because camp fans would have another classic to add to their library.
I don't have the whole story, but my father was sent to Budapest during filming to represent an investor in the film. He has a poster for the concert that featured Nazareth (the rock band) that was part of the film. I know he also has hidden somewhere still pictures of the filming and events surrounding the making of the movie. He came back home early from Hungary because of events described in other notes and incredibly disappointed that the investor he represented lost a great deal of money that was never recovered because of certain folks taking advantage of the investors involved. My dad still talks about how he thought it was a great script and a high quality movie with a quality cast. Two big mistakes: producer didn't take care of the investments of others and they didn't use a real bear for some of the scenes opting for a mechanical puppet that didn't operate the way they hoped. I don't know much about this, but I assume that many creative types are not good business people and many can't manage a budget wisely. Is there a copy available for public viewing at this point? It would be interesting to see the attention it would receive with a cast that includes George Cluny, Charlie Sheen, and Laura Dern from the beginnings of their careers.
Rating- 1* out of 4
My brother wrote the original review for this film but if the sequel was available today the rating would be higher. Grizzly II The Predator was a sequel to the orignal Grizzly (1976). Edward Montoro produced the film. Since the film had many problems it could only afford to be released to tv in small quanties. I can remember some about the film when my brother also watched it. Charlie Sheen played a hiker who was attacked by a grizzly bear. When a mountain man (George Clooney) found him dying he took him to a hospital. There he discovers that Allison (Joan McCall) who was also in the first film, tells him about an earlier event that happened when Christopher George killed a grizzly bear who was killing campers some 10 years ago. From then one when Sheen sees campers being killed by the bear he goes own hunt to find him and kill him. Nick Maley made a fake bear instead of training a real bear which could have been better. Grizzly II The Predator was lost only after a year on tv noone knows were it is today it is basically lost. If it reappears the film will hopefully be aviable. Christopher George was originally cast in the film but died of a heart attack before he could be in it.
Now, maybe i'm a bit biased because of my searing loathing of the disappointment that is known as Grizzly (i call it a waste of time) but I liked this movie. Now, it is unfinished and a bit dull, but there was huge potential in this. It's just as dumb and inaccurate as the first one, but seems better to me. The bear is over-kill in height, better than the crap one from Grizzly, and is actually kinda scary to think about. The giant robot is a nice effect too, not looking that bad. Maybe it worked better because it rips off Claws, one of the few good killer bear films of the 70's. The original songs are okay and fit nicely. Hopefully it will see a nice remake soon that can show the glory it could have had!
I manage to see this movie via an unknown source.. I have to admit it
was one of the most boring movie I had to sit through and watch.. I
didn't see the credits in the beginning due to the fact, there was some
personal problems in relations to the film. What also bored me to death
was the concert scenes.. it really put me off. If this is a monster
movie, why add the concert stuff? Just didn't make sense at all.
Another thing is I didn't see was the bear itself. Obviously there are
reasons there. I guess whoever seen it also knows what's happened.
At the end of the day.. it weren't my cup of tea. Yes, the first Grizzly movie was awesome. But this one? Absolutely terrible. For what it's worth..? No comment! Total thumbs down!!
Few hours ago I noticed fresh information about "Grizzly II":this long lost unreleased sequel to the 1976 William Girdler animal attack classic has been found."Grizzly 2:The Predator" was shot in Hungary in 1983.It stars Deborah Foreman and Louise Fletcher with small cameos by future acting stars Laura Dern,George Clooney and Charlie Sheen.The bear footage was never actually completed.The film is surprisingly enjoyable with many ultra-cheesy new wave music performances.The scenes of murders are bloodless and mostly off-screen,so if you are looking for gore you will be sorely disappointed.Still it's nice to know that "Grizzly II:The Predator" was finally awaken from the forgotten tomb of obscurity.6 killer bears out of 10.
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