Somebody needs to make a movie about the making of GRIZZLY II
I can't believe I'm saying this but somebody needs to make a movie about the making of GRIZZLY II.
There are few finer killer bear movies than the original GRIZZLY, a 1976 JAWS ripoff about a giant bear rampaging across a national forest. During the course of the film, the bear kills campers, kids and even takes on a helicopter. It's bloody, over the top and features top-notch Ursidae acting.
There have been many rumors about the production of GRIZZLY II, a sequel to the film that began production in 1983 before running into issues and being left unfinished, unreleased, and abandoned. The sequel is probably most notable due to its impressive cast: Louise Fletcher, John Rhys-Davies, Deborah Foreman, Charlie Sheen, George Clooney, and Laura Dern.
Just recently, though, GRIZZLY II was finally finished and is currently doing rounds at various online film festivals in advance of a Blu-ray and digital release. The insane backstory behind the making of the film is chronicled in SWIMMING AMONG SHARKS, a 100-page book written by the film's producer Suzanne Csikós Nagy.
In the book, Nagy details how she navigated her way through the Hungarian film institute to help bring an American exploitation film to a country hungry for production work. Working with an American producer who would eventually double-cross her and leave her with none of the money he promised, she helped stage an elaborate concert in Budapest for the film's climactic scene and, in the process, put on the first international rock concert in Hungary.
Nagy talks about the lengthy legal maneuvers she had to undertake across decades in order to get the film across the finish line, including asking the film's director to sue her so she could protect the film negative from being taken to America by her former business partner. She had to negotiate via shadowy back-alley deals in order to obtain the film's missing soundtrack after it was stolen by somebody who had been stiffed payment by her former business associate - only to discover that much of the soundtrack was unusable due to the fact that it contained unauthorized Michael Jackson songs.
Nagy has finally finished the film, inserting footage that missing but necessary to the film's plot by buying stock footage of bears online. I can not wait for the chance to finally see GRIZZLY II and I wish Nagy nothing but the best of luck in her attempts to finally find financial success in the cinematic albatross she has spent the last three decades battling with. She's currently planning to launch a whole wave of GRIZZLY II merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, toys and more.
God bless you, GRIZZLY II.