After the roaring success (sorry) of 1976’s Grizzly, a creature feature about an 18-foot tall grizzly bear terrorising a drunken hunting party, a sequel was inevitable. How could it not be? The basic premise of “Jaws but it’s a bear” is too alluring to film only one meagre time. And what a sequel it would be, to be titled Grizzly II: The Concert or Grizzly II: The Predator depending on whom you spoke to.
Filmed in the woods of Hungary in 1983, Grizzly II was blessed with a prophetically famous cast, beginning with lead actress Louise Fletcher (an Oscar winner as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) but also including early appearances from George Clooney, Charlie Sheen and recent Oscar winner Laura Dern.
With its dazzling cast of characters being hunted by a freakishly huge bear at a rock concert, you might be wondering; why have I never heard of this magical film?? The answer is both sad and strange. The movie was never released into cinemas or onto home video since its production suddenly lost all funding.
Wikipedia reports that before the film’s special effects featuring a huge electromechanical bear could be completed, “executive producer Joseph Proctor disappeared with all of the funds, with some sources saying that he was jailed during the time of the filming. Filmed footage of a live bear, however, attacking a rock concert, was shot in Hungary.”
Bloody Joseph! How dare you keep this movie from us?? Luckily, a miracle-worker of a producer named Suzanne C. Nagy recently stepped in with the money and the faith to pay for the incomplete film’s digital transfer, and a decent patch-up job of the story with an additional 25% of discovered footage.
So here, good people, is the brand new trailer for the retitled Grizzly II: Revenge. And yes that is Jonathon Rhys-Davis/Gimli in the thumbnail.
Looks crisp, no? But more than that, Grizzly II: The Revenge looks like a great goddamn time. Pray that it comes to a cult film festival or revival house near you sometime, because the rock concert performed within the film features a performance by the very 80’s British new wave group Toto Coelho.
Peep at their video below for an idea of what the world was like when Grizzly II was first cruelly taken from us.