I’ve always really wanted to see “Grizzly.” Okay, so I haven’t always REALLY wanted to see it, but I’ve had a mild interest for a good part of my life to one day check it out, an interest that was kicked into high gear last January thanks to our own Mariko McDonald’s Enter the Den of Sin column. Her write-up confirmed what I thought the movie would be like – terrible, but a great flick to gather a bunch of people and a couple cases of Schlitz for. I’d make it happen, but it would more than likely be due to some kind of chance encounter with the film than any solid plan to acquire it. Well, that chance encounter has arrived and it’s collided with the resurfacing one of my all time favorite filmmakers, Damon Packard. I tell ya, this is like Christmas in March. Kinda like his Untitled Star Wars Mockumentary, Packard has taken the entire film of “Grizzly” and inserted new images and sound effects to create “Grizzly Redux”.
What “Jaws” did for swimmers, “Grizzly” tried so ham-handedly to do for campers. This animal gone wild flick features a 15-foot grizzly chowing down on campers at a state park. The only chance for peace to be restored lies in the hands of a park ranger played by Christopher George. You may know Christopher George from such movies as “City of the Living Dead” and “Mortuary”. Here he is again and he’s just as useless a hero as ever. I’ve always equated him with that pesky reporter from the Treating the bear rampage situation as more of a pain in the a*s rather than a full-on state of emergency, George leads a small group of equally useless knuckleheads in capturing this beast before it kills again. Of course, they don’t even come close and the bear kills and kills and kills and kills…ripping its prey to pieces, granting the viewer several shots of flying bloodied body parts. George finally has his face off with the grizzly and he does what any of us would do in that situation – he blows the f****r up with his trusty rocket launcher. Yeah, there’s plenty of goofiness to laugh at here, but for the most part this country bear jamboree is an awful bore. That’s where a group of friends and a bunch of bad beer come in handy. Well, and now there’s Packard’s new version.
In adding new material to “Grizzly”, Packard lets the movie pretty much play out as is, occasionally adding something new to catch you off guard. In fact, some of the added tweaks are so subtle, that I may have even missed a bunch. One of the most notable additions is the bear sound effect. The movie often goes into Grizzly POV mode when it’s stalking its next victim. I don’t know what it sounded like before, but I’m pretty sure it sounded nothing like it does in Packard’s version. Here, it sounds like Satan himself pounding out a rough one on the john. It definitely adds to the ferociousness of the bear and it also makes it funnier that people don’t hear it creeping up on them.
Some of you may remember the angry ILM employee “What the f**k do you want us to do?” from “The Untitled Star Wars Mockumentary.” He returns here in a brief cameo, angry as ever, as some sort of park official, or whatever, giving George a rash of s**t on the phone. Packard also inserts himself as a bumbling desk jockey at the park ranger station. This is also where, if you look real close, you’ll see that an issue of Film Threat makes an appearance. Rawhead Rex even makes a couple of appearances. You just never know who or what is going to show up in the Redux.
The bear attacks have also been enhanced with the addition of spewing blood and ripping flesh from assorted other splatter films. But again, for the most part, the movie plays out as is, at least to my detection. You’ll be watching, or grimacing at, the film for a good five minutes, maybe even forgetting that this is a tampered with version, when all of the sudden you’ll hear a warbled voice in the background – “Let’s get that sumbitch! – as a posse of bear hunters combs the forest.
So basically, Packard has taken a notoriously shitty movie and has made it even shittier, so now it’s exactly as entertaining as you would hope it to be knowing it’s a shitty movie going into it. Got that? Good. Now, smile you sonofa…
Go ahead and talk to Damon Packard about da bears at firstname.lastname@example.org!