What…what just happened?
Grizzly II: The Concert just happened, that’s what.
Where to begin? Grizzly II was filmed in Hungary in 1983. It was never finished, for reasons that will quickly become apparent. For 25 years, it was a rumour, a whisper in the wind, a folk tale spoken of in hushed reverence around the campfire. Then, like a messenger from heaven, some plucky soul unleashed the workprint on an unsuspecting internet.
The world will never be the same again.
There’s no way to conventionally review a film like this, so here’s a rough approximation of my state of mind as I watched GRIZZLY II…
The film begins. Above, you can see the title card.
THERE IS NO TITLE CARD. Take a good look at that black screen. You’re going to be seeing it a lot. That screen will become your best friend and your worst enemy. Every time the killer bear should appear on screen, that’s all you’re going to see.
Embrace the nothingness. It’s all you’re going to get.
There’s a concert. Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Something is playing. People are dancing, wearing bad shirts.
Think that’s bad? Get a load of this.
A man is attacked in the forest by a bear with a roar like a looped foghorn.
Cut back to the concert. Michael Jackson’s Beat It plays. We learn that “a great deal depends on the success of this concert”.
We never learn why.
In the background, Wanna Be Startin’ Something plays again.
Oh shit, it’s Louise Fletcher from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest! What’s she doing here?
In the background, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.
You check the time. 16 minutes in.
A sign warns of Bear Danger. Not just some area is closed, no sir.
All area is closed.
A helicopter appears on the horizon. In one unbroken 3 minute shot, it lands. This is why film editing is important.
There’s a lady in her pants. I think I recognise her.
Oh shit, it’s Laura Dern from Jurassic Park! And wait a minute, that’s George Clooney! Moments later, they are ripped apart by a bear, offscreen.
Their friend appears. Oh shit, it’s Charlie Sheen!
It’s night. A man is jogging.
Suddenly, it’s day. This touchy feely couple is father and daughter. The dialogue borders on the inappropriate.
Dad: ‘You’re a gofer. Gofer this. Gofer that. You gofer your old man?’
Daughter: ‘Yeah, in a big way.’
Dad: ‘Give me a kiss.’
Am I dreaming?
Oh shit, it’s Charles Cyphers, the sheriff from John Carpenter’s Halloween!
Back to the gig. It’s Wanna Be Startin’ Something again.
Is this what it’s like to be dead?
Bouchard the bear trapper is introduced, carrying a tree. We are told he is French-Canadian. Five minutes later, we are told he is French-Indian.
Nothing makes sense anymore.
Oh shit, it’s John Rhys-Davies, Gimli from Lord of the Rings!
He’s doing the same accent he used as Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
It’s the concert again. There’s a full five minute music video. From hereon in, most of the film is song and dance numbers.
A full day has passed. That man is still jogging.
Now he’s onstage, wearing a tin foil suit.
Oh shit, it’s the bear! And we’re only an hour and twenty minutes in!
Gimli attacks the bear and is thrown onto a spike. He dies.
Five minutes later, he’s alive again.
Then he’s thrown onto the spike again.
By this point, the film has become a series of outtakes, crudely spliced together. We hear the director shout cut.
There is no sound. Then there’s sound. A man is on fire.
Suddenly, the bear is trapped in the lighting rig, dead.
The audience applauds, thinking it’s part of the show.
I get to my feet and applaud too.
Won’t you join me?
WHAT BORIS THOUGHT: Boris slept through the whole film. But that’s okay, we all gotta sleep, man.
OVERALL: This is less of a movie, more of a psychotronic experience. Conventional ratings do not apply. Therefore, I give this film 1 paw out of 1. Make of that what you will.