Some horror fans have a special love for killer animal movies, Food of the Gods (1976) or Day of the Animals (1977), where beasts of all types really become the stars and upstage the actors or stomp on them depending on the situation. Hence, it brings us to Wild Beasts, from director Franco Prosperi, now achieving a new Blu-ray release from Severin-Films, with a flick that really stretches everything to a new level of madness. However, if the viewers just accept the insane possibilities and enjoy, it can for some find entertainment along a few drinking games, as Prosperi penned both story and screenplay, which tally to become his last film to date.
The movie opens on a “northern European city” filling the screen with skyscrapers slowly lowering itself to parks, past water and centering on a gutter with piles of used syringes. Then cutting over to a sad looking zoo, and feeding time with a veterinarian named Dr. Rupert Berner, a mustached man (he reminds this reviewer of folk singer Jim Croce, portrayed by John Aldrich previously worked at circus as an animal tamer, and appeared in his only film ever). Aldrich shows his portrayal of Rupert as a caring doctor, having a passion for the animals, talking to them gently and understanding them on social level, a comfortable bonding evident on the screen. Soon the horror show begins as the animals all the species begin to react strangely, more aggressive, to everyone, even a blind man and service dog, Brek, German Shepherd, does an impression from the film The Beyond. Rats later swarm up from the sewers in the search of more than tacos or pizzas, these monsters swarm over a car containing lovers, stupidly one tries to flee only adding to the carnage, and the untime demise. Wait, the authorities come to help, well sort of, first firefighters try hose the pest down, and then used flamethrowers to burn them up. Don’t try to connect the dots, because here come the Elephants breaking down the walls and hurrying to the airport, chaos on the runaway causes a passenger airplane to crash and explode into a power station – really it happens. Meanwhile the cities are bombarded with a tiger roaming a subway, lions in a slaughterhouse and even other farm animals in restaurants, guess they dislike the menu selections, a cheetah chasing a Volkswagen, but the best polar bears attack at a dance studio. The significance of the studio, simply Berner’s friend Laura (Lorraine De Selle) needs to get there to rescue her daughter Suzy (Louisa Lloyd) who have her own problems. By now one learns the reason for the madness of the animals, PCP drug in the water supply that hints to Food of the Gods (better know your horror history). Throughout the film of havoc and killing, which most desire in the horror genre, some comedic dialogue filters its way for the viewer to enjoy.
The sequence with the tiger in the subway tunnel had significant fright for all on set, including the three animal wranglers as it escapes from the set hid in a bathroom before deciding to go on top of a train. Needless to say a minor setback and delay of the workday for the employees, until the feline finally gets tired out from the excitement. In addition, a message hidden references man’s drug problem, along with littering and treatment of animals in zoos for our glee, but it never truly makes a statement to convey that thought correctly.
When one makes a horror movie an important part is often overlooked the music needs to fit the scene, herein one finds themselves subjected to saxophone music not appreciated, the placement of it very strange. Then the fun of all the explosions, rampant sexual references (it’s the eighties commonplace, no political correctness found in the movie) along with some sleazy qualities show the exploitation desires of the filmmaker. However, the excessive slow motion scenes overwhelm often, and the weak character design hinders the story only saved by the extreme animal violence in the movie.
Without a doubt, this flick finds itself on the prowl for the fans of this cinema subgenre, and the film looks sharp, for a b-movie with Italian horror cues, those purchasing this film know exactly what to expect and desire it. Prosperi delivers a well-paced story with the homage moment of doggy necking with their owner and other bizarre scenes make it a meal for twisted fans to savor.
This review was originally on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website in May 2017 with a view count of 1,418.
- There’s No Escape
- The Wild Beasts Will Get You!
IMDb Rating: 5.4/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10