Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Behold the exploding bear!
Wooo! That bear blew up real good! This is a gif of a scene from a schlocky 1976 movie called "Grizzly", which was a thinkly-veiled rip-off of "Jaws", but the with lawsuit-dodging twist of substituting a bear for a shark. At the end they shoot the bear with a rocket launcher.
Here are some examples of the 'similarities' between the two movies:
Like "Jaws", "Grizzly" has an unusually large animal preying upon unsuspecting tourists.
Christopher George plays Chief Ranger Michael Kelly, skilled at his job but lacking experience when dealing with the dangers of bears, a role similar to Roy Scheider's Police Chief Martin Brody in "Jaws".
Kelly must rely on the expertise of naturalist Arthur Scott (Richard Jaeckel), just as Brody recruits marine scientist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss).
Chief Ranger Kelly is thwarted by Supervisor Charley Kittridge (Joe Dorsey), who refuses to close the National Park for political reasons. In "Jaws", Brody is refused permission to close the summer beaches by Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton).
A bounty is put on the grizzly bear, just as an award is offered for the shark in "Jaws". The bounty leads to chaos, as hundreds of hunters fill the woods in Grizzly, while huge numbers of boats filled with hunters leave the harbor in "Jaws".
During the final hunt for the grizzly bear, Kelly is led by helicopter pilot, Vietnam War veteran and forest guide Don Stober (Andrew Prine), just as Brody's shark expedition is led by boat captain, World War II veteran and sea guide Quint (Robert Shaw).
The bear in "Grizzly" is killed in similar fashion to the shark in "Jaws" in that both creatures' destruction is dramatized by a large explosion.
Lest ye think that "Grizzly" was the only blatant "Jaws" rip-off from the era, be advised that it most certainly was not. In fact, "Jaws" clones were literally a genre unto themselves from 1976-1980 or so. Just a few examples of the movies that simply inserted a different titular animal into the "larger-than-usual _______ targets a resort town" scenario are "Tentacles" (giant octopus), "Piranha" (self-exlanatory), "Up From The Depths" (giant prehistoric lake pike or something), "Barracuda" (again, self-explanatory) and "Orca" (killer whale), among others. Rent them at your peril. Or simply peruse the gallery of terrible movie posters below.