grizzly 2

Did you know there’s a movie where a giant bear tries to kill Laura Dern, George Clooney, and Charlie Sheen during a music festival? If you’re wondering how you never saw such a spectacle, there’s a very good reason: it was never released. Grizzly II (which went by two different titles, Grizzly II: The Predator and Grizzly II: The Concert), was filmed in 1983 in Hungary, but never released. But that’s about to change!

The Ringer has a big piece all about the making, and surprise resurgence, of Grizzly II, a never-released sequel to 1976’s William Girdler film Grizzly, about a park ranger trying to stop a giant killer bear terrorizing a National Forest. Grizzly II had a cast of then-unknown actors Charlie Sheen, George Clooney, and Laura Dern, and other cast members included Louise Fletcher, Steve Inwood, John Rhys-Davies, Deborah Raffin, and Deborah Foreman.

Story-wise, Grizzly II involves a killer momma bear on the warpath after her cubs are killed by poachers. What’s an angry bear to do but attack a local outdoor concert? And, in true Jaws fashion, the folks running the concert are willing to make sacrifices in order to make money. Rather than call off the event entirely, hunters are hired to stop the beast. I don’t know about you, folks, but I’m rooting for the bear.

The sequel was shot in Hungary in 1983, but before additional special effects using a giant mechanical bear could be filmed, the film’s executive producer, Joseph Proctor, disappeared with all of the money. Proctor would turn up later – in jail, for tax evasion. In the years that passed, producer Suzanne C. Nagy has become the “inadvertent caretaker” of the film. Unfinished bootlegs have also popped-up.

But as it turns out, Nagy has spent the last few years finishing the film. In 2017, she planned to write a memoir, but realized she couldn’t finish the book unless she finished Grizzly II. Inspired, she got to work, and “licensed recent stock footage of grizzly bears, and worked with editors to create a new movie, now titled Grizzly II: Revenge.”

This new cut is trimmed down – it runs about 75 minutes, total. It also changes things around so that the now-famous Sheen, Clooney, and Dern are made to have bigger roles in the story. Nagy screened a rough-cut of the film for an audience, and has been tinkering with it ever since. Now, she’s signed a licensing agreement with distributor Gravitas Ventures, and there are plans to release the film on streaming and at drive-in theaters this fall. There’s even a trailer. So, uh, at least we now have one thing to look forward to this year.

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