Thursday, October 2, 2014

Grizzly II: The Predator (1987)

It seems unfair to critique a film that was started in 1983, but never completed because allegedly the Hungarian government confiscated the crew's equipment and personal effects, so all we have is a workprint with blank screens where the bear attacks should be and a soundtrack that recycles the same three songs from Michael Jackson's Thriller.  But let's do it anyway!

There are three reasons that this lost film has stayed in the public consciousness and their names are Charlie Sheen, George Clooney, and Laura Dern.  The stars-to-be have tiny, tiny roles here and basically just introduced to be bear chow.  Although some will appreciate Dern's tiny, tiny shorts and 80s bimbo semi-top.  The workprint is in workprint quality, so it's challenging to masturbate to, but I have faith that folks will find a way.  Finish quickly, though, because you can be sure that you'll soon be cutting back to this:

The premise of this film is that a national park is hosting a gigantic synth-pop concert, but all the bear mutilations might ruin the event.  This synth-pop is probably the worst I've ever heard and, if you know my history, you will understand what a serious statement that is.  The girls above deliver a 20-minute song about milk out of a coconut and shooting fruit, which is at least funny in a facepalm way.  Most of the songs are just dire and dull and seem to last forever.  Apparently, the concert scenes were filmed after an actual Nazareth concert, which was the first concert allowed in Hungary in decades.  

I do like some things here, but they're mostly things that would have been altered before the film's release.  The endless Michael Jackson is weird and cool and delightfully misplaced in certain scenes.  I loved hearing directions to the actors, like a Hungarian voice saying, "Turn away," just before someone turns away from an explosion.  And there are some early scenes where they're just tossing out exposition as quickly as possible and we get this choppy, hysterical explaining.  But it's hard to see how any of this would have ever become watchable or enjoyable, even with a lot of post-production mending.  The script sucks and spends too much time on the concert.  Awesome bear kills might have provided balance, but what we have are minimal, even granted that they were going to insert actual footage of bears later.  I would class this with L'Ultimo Squalo as a supposedly "lost classic" that ends up being about as classic as cancer.  Avoid.


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