Review

  • Released on August 25th 1976 in Paris (France)in glorious ToddAO-2.35.1 CinemaScope ratio and beautiful colors, GRIZZLY - French exploitation title : Grizzly, le monstre de la forêt - (USA 1975) directed by William Girdler was also available later in VHS SECAM in a mutilated 1.85 aspect ratio which involved a lack of letters at the beginning and the end of the credits.

    But yet, movie was still worth to be discovered and screened but one who have missed its theatrical released. In the meanwhile, Canal + channel has shown it on for some evenings in - as I quite remembering - an alright 2.35 aspect ratio transfer. And that was all... till this DVD zone 1 release in... 1.33 Standard aspect ratio = "pan & scan" !!!

    As far as history of video is concerned, it can be assumed that this "years 2000 circa" DVD edition of GRIZZLY is, by a dark irony of this technological age, the WORST edition ever, far below VHS and TV screenings of the years 1985 ! Incredible but true ! So I ask the question : why US distributors cannot find decent master material regarding this very good American B movie ? Why this remarkable piece of American horror movie of the XXth Century cannot be offered on DVD in a RESPECTED original aspect ratio ? It is the minimum offer expected today by "cinéphiles" market ! As a matter of fact, GRIZZLY is quite more than a B movie : truly a "part B-part A" movie, if looking its budget, magnificent scenery and natural locations photography camera work, ultra-violent gore special effects, and the presence of stars such as Christopher George & Richard Jaeckel & Andrew Prine (the two first ones are excellent as usual and the third one quite good though in a less important role and with less image timing presence)without forgetting the very good directing work of Girdler.

    Girdler has been successful in trying to translate the mental and perceptual universe of the URSUS HORRIBILIS (Latin name given by Jaeckel to the Grizzly : scientific name ? I have not yet checked but such animal do exists still now in North Canada (British Columbia and Alaska, I guess : and people who work in those fields are very afraid when they check its track around) monster, in opposing it by the main way of scale variations to the human universe : he has been successful on earth in the same way as Spielberg had been so in the water and the result is as very much frightening and terrifying experience.

    Some sequences are, by the way, absolutely original regarding to the quite similar thematic and aesthetic pattern to which GRIZZLY belongs. GRIZZLY is one of the most interesting variation of horror monster movies and has been quite underestimated by critics and historians of horror movies so far, in France of course at the time of its release but probably also in U.S.A. except by its public who liked it, and who was right to like it ! It deserves to be given a decent new video life on a new DVD edition that would at last, and at least, respect its original aspect ratio, preserving the beauty of this, from now on, classic horror movie.