Saturday, July 23, 2011

Predator: The Concert

Dir. Joan McCall (1987)

Now as you should know by know Mark and I share a love of all things heavy metal. That much is a given considering the name (Heavy Metal Time Machine) and our run of the mill reviews. What isn't as well known though is the fact that we share a love of sci-fi and horror films especially ones that are a bit more off the beaten path as it were. So with that while searching for a rare horror movie a month or so back I came across this site called Dedicated to the art of releasing rare films the site caters to open minded movie collectors especially those looking for Horror Films, Exploitation movies, Shocking Videos and Bizarre imports. This of course includes your Cult Films, Grindhouse Films from the 70's, Obscure Rare Horror, Revenge Movies, Euro-Trash, Psychotronic, Drive-In Movies, Midnight Movies, Made for TV Horror and Forgotten Gems (hey, that sounds familiar!). Now mind you these are not movies you could normally pick up in Walmart or order through Amazon. No, these are titles that have slipped through the cracks and don't currently have an official commercial release here in North America. According to their website 90% of the titles offered are made available from imported sources of varying formats. TwistedAnger only caters those movies that are unavailable in North America in Digital and BU/DVD Formats. What I like most is that you won't find any Hollywood Blockbuster titles or movies currently in theaters. This site collects the truly odd. You know those films you've always heard about and wanted to see, but for whatever reason companies just won't put out an official DVD release. Now one such film I found on TwistedAnger is Grizzly II. The original Grizzly was a horror film released in 1976 to capitalize on the sudden box office success of Jaws. The first of many films to rip-off Jaws in plot it actually did quite well at the box office. A sequel should have been only a matter of time considering movie studios are driven by greed. For one reason or another though it would take until 1983 before work began on Grizzly II. While the film is often considered to be a bit of an urban legend in horror movie history (seeing as reviews popped up for Grizzly II in the late 70s) it should be noted that the film was never actually released. Instead in 1977 another independent horror film titled Claws (also about a killer grizzly bear although this one took place in Alaska) was made. In 1978 that movie was released in Canada and Mexico as Grizzly 2, in a blatant attempt to capitalize on the success of Grizzly. Similar in nature to what happened when Dawn Of the Dead was released in Europe as Zombi and then Zombi 2 came out even though it had nothing to do with Romero's original masterpiece. Let us get back to the matter at hand though and look at what could have been with Grizzly II. With that Grizzly II: The Predator (also known as Predator: The Concert) is a workprint and as such the film is a tad odd and uneven. With the basic premise being a killer grizzly bear on the lose what makes this one interesting is the final showdown which takes place at a rock concert. The set-up works well enough although honestly it seems as if this one is also a thinly veiled re-working of Jaws. With Park Ranger Hollister (Steve Inwood) at odds with the Park supervisor (Louise Fletcher) over the large rock concert set to take place one can't help but think of the plot of Jaws. While Hollister worries about the local bears there is money to be made so of course that trumps everything including public safety. Well, not really but it is obvious that everything is riding on the success of this event. Of course with all these meals (I mean people) walking around in the woods sooner or later someone is going to get attacked. When the bear does finally kill three people a bounty is quickly set on his head. Sound familiar? It all is of course and part of me was groaning with how obvious it was. Still though underneath it all the film has charm. While principal photography was completed for the most part the film does lack a lot of the special effects involving the actual bear. The grizzly attacks were too be added in at a later time so during those moments all you get is blank shots and cut away movements. Thankfully the ending was filmed and is one of those moments that must be seen to be appreciated. Having it take place during a rock show is a fun twist. Speaking of rock the version I have features a soundtrack jam packed with Michael Jackson. In fact most of the "artists" who are there to take part in this rock concert could hardly be called rock. Typical of the time (1983) these bands are fluff pop and new wave although the flamboyant glam rocker at the end was certainly interesting! Shot in Hungary (of all places) the film is also sought out by movie collectors thanks in no small part to its interesting cast. Actors like George Clooney and Charlie Sheen appear in early roles. If that isn't enough excitement for you also present are Louise Fletcher, Laura Dern, Deborah Raffin, John Rhys-Davies, Dick Anthony Williams, Charles Cyphers, Marc Alaimo and Jack Starrett. With that cast how could they have gone wrong? Sure the film has plenty of filler. The concert scenes for one thing go on entirety too long. These tiresome shots surely would have been trimmed after test audiences weighed in. Otherwise Grizzly II offers up the sort of Piranha/Piranha 2 kind of cinema cheese that I adore. Love bad movies? Not bad movies mind you. "Bad" movies. This is the sort of film where enjoyment could be had if only you could suspend your disbelief for awhile. Predator: The Concert is an unfinished product make no mistake about it. Even with that said though I must admit that I enjoyed it and can't help but wish it would have wrapped up shooting. It isn't a masterpiece. More like a anti-masterpiece for those of us who like our films a bit more "interesting". While Predator: The Concert isn't one of them I do feel compelled to mention that the fine folks over as TwistedAnger do offer special packaging on some of their films. Yes, all of the DVDs they release feature nice printed labels on the actual disc. Nothing is ever hand written. These are nice items let me tell you. That said with their special DVDs you get great color packages. You can tell that TwistedAnger takes pride in their product. While Predator: The Concert's picture is fair (obviously the best source material available) the quality varies with each release. They gather only the best source material out there for each and every film. The website is easy to navigate and the sheer amount of rare films they have amazes me. Next up for me from TwistedAnger is Endgame a post-apocalyptic film that I've been dying to see for years. Find out more for yourself at their website below.


Blogger Metal Mark said...

I saw the original Grizzly numerous times as it used to show up on late night TV in the early
80's and I owned it on VHS like 20 years ago. Never heard of this one though.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

I'll send it to you the next time I send you some stuff.

9:15 AM  

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