In the wake of the success of Jaws came this tale of an 18-foot man-eating, rampaging bear who leaves behind a trail of death and destruction as he rips people apart with his powerful claws and devours them.
Terror is the chief element of the film from the very beginning when not just one but two teenage girls are attacked and eaten by the grizzly. The discovery of this terrible incident convinces park ranger Kelly (Christopher George) he must close the park, but supervisor Charley Kittridge (Joe Dorsey) insists on keeping it open. Meanwhile, the grizzly continues to attack and kill people.
Kelly organises a hunting party which includes wildlife specialist Arthur Scott (Richard Jaeckel) and ex-Vietnam pilot Don Stober (Andrew Prine) who flies them in his helicopter over the massive park to seek out and destroy the monstrous creature.
The grizzly attacks are frequent and while the camera doesn’t dwell long on the mauled bodies, a scene where a two-year-old child is picked up and torn apart by the bear is more than a little stomach-churning.
The grizzly in question is truly remarkable. Besides being 3,000 to 5,000 miles from its native habitat, it has the strength to tear down a forest service fire tower – a feasible task for a grizzly. He also has the deftness of foot to lumber through the forest so quietly that he is undetectable until he’s a few feet from his prey – not a very feasible task for any bear, let alone a grizzly that big.
Between the blood, decapitated horses and mangled bodies are poorly padded scenes with equally bad acting. The real star of Grizzly, though, is 11 years old and weighs 1400 pounds. His name is Theodore, affectionately known as Teddy and he is trained but not tamed.
Ranger Michael Kelly
Mary Ann Hearn