Writer: David Seltzer
Composer: Leonard Rosenman
Starring: Talia Shire, Robert Foxworth, Armand Assante, Richard Dysart, Victoria Racimo, George Clutesi, Tom McFadden, Evans Evans, Burke Byrnes, Mia Bendixsen, Johnny Timko, Everett Creach, Charles H. Gray
More info: IMDb
Tagline: She Lives. Don't Move. Don't Breathe. She Will Find You.
Plot: A log company's waste mutates the environment, creating a giant killer bear-monster.
My rating: 6.5/10
Will I watch it again? Nah.
I remember this scaring the bejesus out of me on HBO in the very early 80s. The mutant grizzly is pretty gross, you know, with the bloody skin and all. It's an interesting choice of a film for someone like John Frankenheimer to make. It's a straight up horror film, albeit one with an environmental message not unlike the mutant monster movies of the 1950s. And it's written by David Seltzer, too, the guy that wrote THE OMEN (1976). So with this much of a pedigree, it should be pretty good and it is. The special effects might seem really crude today but I think for the time, they did a pretty good job. It creeped my 11 year old ass all those years ago.
There are a couple of scenes that stood out for me upon watching it again. There's a father and his two kids camping in the forest and one morning the bear attacks and swipes at a sleeping bag (zipped up with a frightened-ass kid inside of it) causing it to fly across the campsite hard enough to slam the bag against a boulder with the bag feathers flying all over the place. Badass. The only thing that would have made it better would be if some of the feathers were red with kid blood. Another scene, and this is where Frankenheimer's skills as a director come into play, has a group of folks hiding underground, waiting for the creature to go the fuck away. We see the silent faces of the half dozen survives and we hear nothing else but the creature. This goes on for at least two or three minutes and it's very suspenseful. The pacing is pretty good but it does feel a bit long near the end. It might be because we get a good hour of setup and the last forty something minutes are all about surviving in the forest with the giant mutant bear running about. It was nice revisiting the film after all this time but it's not something that I'll probably ever need to see again.