Grizzly is a Cult Classic independent "Nature Strikes Back" film from the 1970s by William Girdler (Day of the Animals, Manitou). Notable for ripping off Steven Spielberg's Jaws at every possible opportunity, and still managing to be some fun in its own right. In this film, a national park finds itself terrorized by a massive bear.
Released in 1976, Grizzly was actually the most successful independent film made that year, raking in a shocking $30 million from a budget of $750,000. It was the most successful independant motion picture until John Carpenter made Halloween two years later.
It's also notable a sequel was attempted in the '80s that was never finished or released, and which seemingly would never see the light of day. That is, until a very rough work print (without the bear footage, save for some scenes at the end featuring an animatronic) was thrown on the internet during the Charlie Sheen craze in 2011, due to the film being one of the earliest roles for Sheen (as well as George Clooney and Laura Dern believe it or not). Fan-Edits can be found around the net which often include bear footage to fill in the gaps.
Tropes present in Grizzly include...
- An Arm and a Leg: The first onscreen victim gets her arm knocked off by the bear before it mauls her to death.
- Also, there's a truly tasteful later scene in which we get to see a 10-year-old child get their leg torn off.
- Bears Are Bad News: One of the earliest examples in the "Killer Bear" genre, though not the first.
- Blood from the Mouth: Helicopter pilot Don bites it with copious amounts of this.
- A young child and his mother also end up spewing up rivers of gore when the bear attacks them.
- Bloodless Carnage: Averted. For a PG-rated film, there is a ton of blood.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: For a film rated PG, the film contains a sizable amount of blood and limbs flying, though films in the 70s were allowed to have a moderate amount of grisly violence.
- Hellish Copter: The bear attacks the helicopter in the last reel.
- Hope Spot: Scotty wakes up after being mauled and buried by the Grizzly, only to be killed again moments later by the same animal.
- Infant Immortality: Subverted. Poor little Bobby has his leg torn off by the bear, though his ultimate fate is implied to be survival.
- Kill It with Fire: In the Novelization, the bear is killed with a flamethrower.
- Made of Explodium: The bear is blown up by a bazooka
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Inverted, as the majority of the victims are women.
- Novelization: By William Collins. Noted for making far more sense than the movie, as it actually gave real reasons for why the bear started eating people. If you must know, it grew too big too fast, so its mother drove it off before it knew how to hunt properly; it injured its jaw before entering the park, leaving it in serious pain; and one of the first victims was menstruating. Angry hungry bear plus the scent of blood = massacre time.
- Off with His Head!: That poor horse This one is Truth in Television too; bears really have decapitated large mammals with a single blow from their paw.
- Prehistoric Monster: Played with. At one point, Scotty identifies the bear as an Ursus arctodus. Anyone caring to do the research will discover this is (at least partially) the scientific name for the giant short-faced bear which pretty much fits in terms of its size and its carnivorous behavior.
- Too Dumb to Live: The park ranger who strips to her underwear to "dip her feet" when she's searching for a man-eating grizzly bear, and Scotty
- Nobody in this film, park rangers and hunters alike, bothers to carry any form of sidearm despite knowing they're hunting a dangerous bear. This means every-time a bear surprises someone they'll immediately accidentally drop their rifle and then be completely defenseless. This happens four times over the course of the movie, you'd think they'd have learned their lesson by then.
- Would Harm A Child: In a genuinely nasty scene for the time, a young child has their leg ripped off by the bear right on screen.