Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Grizzly aka Killer Grizzly (1976)
Media Home Video | Review by Dan Taylor

"Jeez, all we need is a killer bear on the loose."

I know, I know. One-word-titled, mid-1970s, freak-of-nature-on-the-loose flick. Come on, admit it. You're thinking this is just a rip-off in the PIRANHA, ORCA, UP FROM THE DEPTHS vein.

Well, I'm here to tell ya that GRIZZLY is nothing like those flicks -- there isn't a body of water to be seen throughout the 92-minute running time. On the other hand, GRIZZLY is essentially JAWS IN A BEAR SUIT.

Let's see, there's the leading man civil servant (Christopher George) battling the evil, uncaring official (Joe Dorsey) with the help of a species expert (Richard Jaeckel) and a war veteran (Andrew Prine) with a vehicle used for tracking the creature (helicopter). Did I fail to mention the gaggle of stupid hunters and the recreational facility that's bursting at the seams with fresh meat for the titular beast? Well, there's that, too.

If you've seen JAWS (or any of the flicks mentioned above) then this is a pretty paint-by-the-numbers entry in the "humungous animal" genre, and nothing you'll see will shock or surprise. However, give GRIZZLY director William Girdler (who doesn't even rate a credit on the video box!) credit for the overused Grizzly-Cam, soon appropriated by every slasher film director between 1980 and 1997!

Last question... how do you not hear a 15' tall, 2000-lb., heavily-pantying grizzly bear approaching. Oh, and when you do hear it, how do you possibly mistake it for your friend?

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