Grizzly (1976)

Unjustifiably criticized as a “Jaws” rip-off at the time of it’s release “Grizzly” is a really good “Monster on the loose” movie. The film is about a 18 foot grizzly bear terrorizing campers in a national park with Christopher George, the Park Ranger, Andrew Prine, the Helicopter Pilot, and Richard Jaeckel, the Naturalist, teaming up together to bring the “Big Bad Bear’s” rampage to an end. “Grizzly” has a storyline and flaming ending very similar to “Jaws”.

There’s really nothing that bad about the movie to criticize. It was made as a B-type Monster/Horror film and no one expected it to win any Academy Awards. It makes you wonder why most of it’s critics put it down? Was it its lack of originality artistry and imagination?

There’s a series of killings in a national park where it’s found out that a giant grizzly is responsible for them. The manager of the park wants it all kept quite since the news and publicity would hurt the parks revenue and his promotion to a post in Washington D.C.

The film follows the usual “Monster on the loose” movie plot. Just when it looks like that there’s no stopping the indestructible bruin, after killing some dozen people including one of the leading stars of the film. The bear is even more then a match for an armed helicopter which he brings down with one swat of his paw.The hero park ranger later, after when all seems lost, finds an ingenious way of bringing the bear down and the park is then opened for camping and hiking without anymore fear or danger of the killer bear.

That’s a brief synopsis of the story and that’s what most, if not all, of the people who went to see the movie expected. The acting by the top stars in the film George, Prine and Jaeckel was much better then you would expect from a B-Monster/Horror movie. I don’t think people going to see “Grizzly” expected to see “Streetcar Named Desire”. The photography was breathtaking at times with the script and music score was more then adequate for a B-Movie. Most of all the killer bear was truly frightening. In short, going to see “Grizzly” you not only got what you paid for but a lot more then you expected.

Like I said in the beginning of the article about “Grizzly” that it’s most vocal critics were those who accused it of ripping-off “Jaws”. With the rare exception of movies like “Pi” and “Momento” how many movies can we say are truly original? There were a lot of movies with a “Jaws” storyline for the writers and director of “Jaws” to learn or, as the critics of “Grizzly” would say, rip-off from.