Grizzly (1976) [REVIEW] | Plantigrade Peckish

To honor the upcoming release of Cocaine Bear here in ol’ Italy (and presumably other european states), there’s only one thing to do: talk about Grizzly… the first one.

Of course, i know, you wanna hear about the infamous sequel that for decades languished in post-production hell, until it actually released in 2020 (what a fuckin year indeed), Grizzly II, but i like being through, and the original Grizzly does have some history as one of the earlier and more popular/recognized Jaws rip-offs, especially for “having everyone in it”.

Just in case the release date didn’t hint of why this one was made, the theatherical poster sported the tagline “the most powerful jaws in the land”, what’s shame for movie marketing anyway?

And given the bucks made by Universal with that animatronic shark that often did not work well or at all, it’s no wonder everyone was jumping on the now proven successful formula, and Grizzly is no different, to the point there’s really no reason in discussing the plot.

It’s Jaws but set in an american national park, with the shark being swapped for a giant bear, using pretty much all the same plot devices and characters serving the same purpose/role.

So let’s get down to the real question: is it any good?

It kinda is, as in, it’s a decent movie, sure it’s an obvious rip-off of Jaws (which was easy to note even back in 1976), it’s nowhere as good as well lacking any originality, but it’s an entertaining knock-off b-movie, the soundtrack it’s quite fine, acting its good, the cast has a lot of big (or respectable) names for its time, and it’s different from some of the later Jaws knock-off, as here William Girdler was trying to retain the serious tone, trying to portray the events in a more realistic fashion (down to using a real bear), instead of stuff like Alligator where you can tell right away they’re not treating the formula with any amount of seriousness, after decades of this formula being reharshed.

It also aged much better than one would expect, and in retrospect it’s WAY FAR from the worst thing that was borne to capitalize on Jaws’ smash success.

Plus, i do love the bazooka finish, every one of these Jaws knock-offs should end like a Resident Evil game, it fist so perfectly. When nothing else works, bazooka away.

While critical reception was mostly negative or simply brazenly (and correctly) told people that what sounded and looked like a Jaws rip-off… was exactly that, it was a big box office success, enough to warrant a sequel, but that didn’t happen until 1983, when Grizzly II: The Concert was shot in Hungary.

I didn’t say “released” because that didn’t happen for at least 3 decades, we’ll discuss that in detail in its own review, because sure as hell there’s a lot of ground to cover.



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