For a “PG”-rated movie, this one had my jaw dropping in shock several times, even more than Jaws ever did, and that’s probably because this one is much more an exploitation film than Jaws was. Grizzly goes for the jugular, and it’s pretty fun too!
A grizzly bear chows down on campers in a state park in the high season.
Just when the camping season is at its zenith, a state park finds itself right in the middle of the path of a massive 18-foot grizzly bear looking to make humans its next course. Ranger Michael Kelly (Christopher George) is in charge of getting the other rangers on the right track to cornering the beast before too many campers are devoured, but of course his boss is only interested in keeping up business as usual, even while inviting press to cover the ghastly goings-on, if only to keep the camp in the public’s eye. Meanwhile, the bear takes swings at nubile women, children and their mothers, and even armed park rangers, and it seems nothing and no one is strong or fast enough to get the drop on the grizzly. With the help of a wily bear hunter (played by Richard Jaeckel) and a chopper pilot (Andrew Prine), Ranger Kelly might have a chance to take down the behemoth … but they’re gonna need a bigger gun.
A blatant, but effective riff on Jaws, Grizzly works best when the bear is ripping people (including a little kid!) to shreds. For a “PG”-rated movie, this one had my jaw dropping in shock several times, even more than Jaws ever did, and that’s probably because this one is much more an exploitation film than Jaws was. Grizzly goes for the jugular, and it’s pretty fun too! I’d never seen it before viewing it for this review (but it was always on my radar), and I found it entirely palatable and enjoyable. The climax is a bit overdone, and I was hoping it would’ve gone a slightly different way, but it’s a serviceable conclusion to an otherwise entertaining creature feature. Director William Girdler (who died in a helicopter crash about a year later) also made the fun Day of the Animals.
Severin’s new Blu-ray edition of Grizzly contains a new 2K scan of the internegative, and it looks sparkly and gorgeous. Special features are plentiful and should keep interested fans perusing for hours.
Audio Commentary with Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson and Film Writer Troy Howarth
The Grizzly Details – Interview with Producer David Sheldon and Actress Joan McCall
The Towering Fury – Interview with Actor Tom Arcuragi
‘Nightmare USA’ Author Stephen Thrower on the Career of William Girdler
Movie Making in the Wilderness – Vintage Behind-the-Scenes Making Of
Jaws with Claws – Archival Making Of GRIZZLY Featurette
Audio Commentary with Producer David Sheldon and Actress Joan McCall