Published on February 19, 2020 By John Squires
Fans of obscure horror oddities have been experiencing an embarrassment of riches in recent years, with companies like Vinegar Syndrome digging up gems from the past and giving them beautiful restorations here in the present. Previously unreleased films are being released, and in the case of films like Grizzly II: Revenge, previously unfinished ones are being finished.
We’ve learned via Dawn of the Discs this week that the sequel to 1976’s Grizzly, also known as Grizzly II: The Predator and Grizzly II: The Concert, has finally been finished by producer Suzanne Nagy, who had gained full control over the movie many years ago. Grizzly II was filmed in 1983 but never actually finished or released, and only a rough cut has ever existed.
The film’s Wikipedia page explains, “The main scenes for Grizzly II were completed, but before special effects featuring a huge electromechanical bear could be used, the 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 live rock concert, was shot in Hungary. Attempts have been made to recut and film more scenes, but to date, the film has never been released. A bootleg version with the original work print was released in 2007.”
In Grizzly II, which features George Clooney, Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen in small roles, “All hell breaks loose when a 15-ft grizzly bear, reacting to the slaughter of her cub by poachers, seeks revenge and kills anyone that gets in her way. In the 3 days before the major concert taking place in Yellowstone National Park, the gigantic grizzly has brutally attacked campers Ron (Clooney), Tina (Dern) and Lance (Sheen), poachers and a park ranger. The terror doesn’t end there as the giant grizzly bear finds its way to the concert grounds to go on a killing spree.”
Nagy details the film’s journey on the official Grizzly II website, “In 2018, the time was right to rethink the Grizzly movie and create a challenging new narrative with a new message which could fill the missing part in the movie. Restoring the old footage was a great challenge. But in the summer of 2019, we got a clean, super crispy digital transfer from London. During the waiting period, we worked on the new script and re-erected the film from its dormant stage. We didn’t want to make a 21st century movie when we looked at the footage. We wanted to keep it as original as possible to have an authentic American movie quality from the 80’s. Something that was missed or lost and found later on to attract enthusiastic cult lovers.”
The newly-finished version of Grizzly II actually screened in LA earlier this week, and we’re expecting more release information soon. So stay tuned for updates as they become available!