Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Bear Necessities: Grizzly(1976)

One of the worst things a movie junkie like me has to endure is waiting for certain movies to be released to official DVD. While there are still some movies I'd like to see on DVD that have not yet been officially released, I was delighted to discover that an old favorite of mine from the 1970's was released to Region 1 DVD by Mediablaster's "Shriek Show". I'm referring to Grizzly(1976), directed by William Girdler. The movie itself was made on a budget of $750,000 and, earning an impressive $39 million at the box office, was the highest earning independent film of 1976.
This film has been commonly described as a "Jaws" ripoff and I couldn't agree more. That said I created this blog in part to promote horror and sci-fi films I am very fond of and Grizzly is most certainly one of them.

The film's story: the mutilated remains of hikers start turning up in the woodlands patrolled by park ranger Mike Kelly and his deputies. It's doesn't take very long for Ranger Kelly(played by Christopher George) and his tracker friend(played by Richard Jaeckel) to figure out that a bear is the culprit in the killings,,,and it damn sure ain't Yogi The Bear. The tracker deduces, from the footprints left behind by the animal, that this bear is fifteen feet tall and weighs in at 2000 lbs. Ranger Kelly is understandably distressed by this revelation, his stress aggravated by his acrimonious relationship with his immediate boss and constant smoking of cigarettes. As the body count rises Kelly and his deputies organize a hunt to isolate and kill the monstrous bear. (no other spoilers).

I have always liked this movie. It has some genuinely creepy scenes, not to mention gore(one of the camper's is beheaded by the monster grizzly), and a vulnerable, perpetually "teetering-on-the-edge" heroic "good guy" character in the park ranger, played with the necessary(but not excessive) tension and consumption of cigarettes, by Christopher George(of the 60's series The Rat Patrol). This film lacks the grandeur of "Jaws" but is nonetheless, IMO, worth a look, if you are a fan of "giant rogue animal on the loose" cinema as I am. The movie was filmed in south Georgia. This film is available on all Region DVD and Region 1 DVD at

Here's one link where the Mediablaster's 2 disc R1 DVD of this film is for sale: