The film recently had a soft-screening under its new title Grizzy II: Revenge and, well, we here at Grizzly Bomb are pretty damn excited to see this warlock.
We’ve heard about Orson Welles’ tumultuous journey to get The Other Side of the Wind finished. We’ve only experienced the incompleted version of Andrzej Żuławski’s On The Silver Globe. It took decades before we saw Richard Donner’s original intention for Superman II. Film history is filled with lost cinematic visions. Well, now we can cross one off that list yet again. After 38 years the long unfinished sequel to Grizzly has finally clawed its way back to the big screen! Originally titled Grizzly II: The Concert, the film’s producer Suzanne Csikos-Nagy, has finally completed the previously unfinished sequel to William Girdler’s Grizzly.
Now known as Grizzly II: Revenge, this sequel was directed by André Szöts in Hungry back in 1983. It never hit theaters even though David Sheldon, the co-producer and writer of Grizzly, wrote the screenplay with his screenwriter wife, Joan McCall, who also reprises her role from the original film.
In Grizzly II – “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, Tina, and Lance, 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.”
The concert footage featured live performances by Toto Coelo, Landscape III, and other musicians.
Check out a trailer for the newly restored Grizzly II: Revenge below:
George Clooney, Laura Dern, Charlie Sheen, Louise Fletcher, and John Rhys-Davies, are among a literal WTF of stalwarts in the sequel. Having finished their principal scenes, including a Woodstock-style rock concert attended by 40,000 extras, the film eventually ran out of money, along with executive producer Joseph Proctor, who disappeared with all of the funds. Some sources say that Proctor was jailed during the time of the filming. All of this occurring just before special effects photography of the 17-foot animatronic bear could begin. Filmed footage of a live bear, however, attacking the live rock concert, was shot in Hungary.
Attempts had been made to recut and film more scenes, but until recently, the film had never been released. All that had been released was as spotty bootleg version back in 2007, which is strictly an original workprint of the film.
Enter: GBGB International who, in 2019, took over the responsibility of completing the film. Only 75% of the original movie was available (it’s all they could shoot), so this restoration needed an additional 25% of footage. Grizzly II: Revenge‘s original producer, Suzanne Csikos-Nagy, oversaw the restoration with a re-scanning of the film’s previously shot footage. New footage was later shot to make up the previously unfinished finished film. Says Csikos-Nagy on the film’s official website:
We didn’t want to make a 21st-century movie when we looked at the footages. We wanted to keep it as original as possible to have an authentic American movie quality from the ’80s. Something that was missed or lost and found later on to attract enthusiastic cult lovers. With the casting power and the existing entertainment value with a big bear, we believe the movie will resonate with today’s audience. Animal movies are rare and very difficult to do right. There has been no bear action movie since 1976 since the first Grizzly movie. It was a great financial and entertainment success. I consider this “second chance” for the sequel a real victory for the movie and for me as a person who stuck to my dream regardless of all the horrifying circumstances.
The film even got a new poster, which is likely to be modified once Clooney gets wind that his mug is appearing on something he would probably preferred be left back in 1983:
The sequel follows the original 1976 William Girdler-directed thriller. Grizzly told the tale of a park ranger who attempts to halt the rampage of an 18-foot-tall, two-ton, man-eating bear which just so happens to be the titular Grizzly. A drunken hunting party complicates matters and this human-devouring bear is out for more. The giant grizzly bear in the film was portrayed by a Kodiak bear named Teddy, who was 11 feet tall. Grizzly starred Christopher George, Andrew Prine, and Richard Jaeckel.
Clearly in the category of “Jaws rip-offs,” a wide-ranging set of films that came out in the aftermath of Spielberg’s history-making blockbuster to capitalize on the frenzy for man-eating animal movies. Grizzly uses many of the same plot devices as Jaws, but the film is such a wacky delight that it’s no surprise we here at Grizzly Bomb are clearly big fans of it. The original artwork for the Grizzly movie poster was created by popular comic book artist Neal Adams and has donned many of our banners over the years. The film belongs to the annals of obscure horror oddities that have recently seen an embarrassment of riches in the form of companies like Vinegar Syndrome, who have dug up amazing supplement material and restored many films like Grizzly to beautiful, grimy, celluloid beauty.
The newly-finished version of Grizzly II: Revenge has already screened in LA, so we’ll be looking for additional screenings and (fingers crossed) a Blu-ray release of the film in the months to come.
All Hail Grizzly!
Source: GBGB International, Vinegar Syndrome, Film Ventures International, Columbia Pictures