9 January 2002 | Infofreak
Hunt down this 1970s exploitation classic!
As has been pointed out 'Open Season's basic premise takes inspiration from Richard Connell's classic suspense story 'The Most Dangerous Game', first filmed back in the 30s with 'King Kong's Fay Wray, and continually used ever since. Many a trash classic has been indebted to it, not least of which the ultra-cheesy 'Turkey Shoot' (with Steve Railsback), and John Woo's 'Hard Target' starring Van Damme and Lance Henriksen. The reason it gets reused over and over? Because it bloody well works every time!
'Open Season' isn't just another rip off in my opinion. The actual "game" only takes up a small segment of the movie, and the focus is more on the relationship between the three hunters and their guests. Some complain it's boring or two slow movie. Not me, I loved every minute of it. The main reason being the three leads are played by Peter Fonda, John Phillip Law and Richard Lynch, three cult film legends. Even one of these guys being in a movie is enough to get me viewing, but having all three is manna from heaven!
Peter Fonda was going through his strange post-'Easy Rider' period where he was starring in lots of b-grade Drive In fare like 'Dirty Mary Crazy Larry', 'Race With The Devil' and 'Futureworld', and wearing orange shades a lot. John Phillip Law will never be forgotten for his roles in 60s camp classics 'Barbarella' and Mario Bava's 'Diabolik'. At this time he was about to reach his commercial peak playing Sinbad in 'The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad' before slowly descending into video hell. Richard Lynch had recently had a small but memorable role in the excellent Gene Hackman/Al Pacino road movie 'Scarecrow', but would go on to appear in Larry Cohen's 'God Told Me To', William Peter Blatty's cult classic 'The Ninth Configuration', and innumerable z-grade action, horror and sci fi flicks.
Fonda, Law and Lynch play Ken, Greg and Art, three middle class family men and war buddies who go on their annual hunting trip. Along the way they meet a couple having an affair and "invite" them to be guests in their cabin on a small island. The couple think it's a kidnap attempt and are puzzled why no ransom is discussed. The guys attempt to show them a booze fuelled "good time" with mixed results. Eventually the holiday is over and the "guests" are free to leave. However there is a slight catch...Yup, you guessed it! What nobody realizes though is that they aren't alone on the island, and things may not go exactly to plan this year.
Movies like 'Open Season' are what I live for! A 1970s exploitation classic ripe for rediscovery.