Adamantium Bullet

31 Days Of Horror: WILD BEASTS

For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror film a day leading up to Halloween. Each film will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All will be endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s “All 80s” edition of 31 DAYS OF HORROR.

In this episode, J Bryant and AngieBee discuss writer/director Franco Prosperi's 1984 'Nature Strikes Back' shocker WILD BEASTS starring Robert Aldrich and Lorraine De Selle.

For his final work, the ‘Godfather Of Mondo’ Franco E. Prosperi took on the ‘Nature Strikes Back’ genre and delivered perhaps the most shocking movie of his controversial career: When PCP gets into the water supply of a city zoo, the drug-crazed beasts including tigers, lions, cheetahs, hyenas and elephants, as well as seeing eye dogs and sewer rats go berserk and rampage through the streets of Rome. What follows is a terrifying mix of actual animal attacks (supervised by professional circus trainers) and over-the-top '80s Italian gore that remains the greatest eco-revenge shocker in EuroCult history!

Thirty deaths total. That number includes men, women, animals, and acknowledged off-screen kills. A commercial airliner also crashes thanks to some elephants, but we have no idea how to count that. Let’s just bounce the official number up to one hundred and thirty deaths total and move on.

Poor blind Karl (Alessandro Freyberger) was chewed to bloody bits by his service/guide dog. Of all the kills in WILD BEASTS, this was the one that hurt the most. Karl just wanted to record animal sounds and make a symphony of it. There wasn't nothing wrong with that. The universe of this picture could’ve just let the old blind guy have his hobby and his adorable pooch, but no. A horror movie has to got to horror movie and this one horror movie’d the f*ck out of poor Karl.

Rupert (John Aldrich) shows off his manly mane of chest hair early on in an unexpected shower scene and a bubbly babe goes topless for a bit before brutally becoming a buffet for bloodthirsty rats.

As crazy as this picture was with all the wild beasts and standard issue Italian horror movie nonsense, the last five minutes were, without a doubt, the SIGNATURE MOMENT(S). There’s no real way to properly process or understand the logic behind why the filmmakers chose to end the film the way they did. Yes, the audience had been watching a movie about animals getting hopped up on PCP-laced water and going on a rampage through Rome. That’s somewhat understandable. Not plausible, mind you, but, as far as eco-horror movies go, that’s about right. Hell, LONG WEEKEND had ‘Mother Nature’ as the villain. Straight up ‘Mother Nature'! She decided that two fools who had littered too much deserved to die …and that was the whole movie! Not really much else to it. So horror movie fans are willing to get behind a wacky eco-centric premise as long as the film works. And for most of the runtime of WILD BEASTS, the premise mostly worked. It only really faltered – and also transcended since it is the winner of this category - in the last five minutes when it was revealed the children of Rome had also been infected by the PCP-laced water and they've also become murderous psychos! It’s definitely a SIGNATURE MOMENT, albeit one that didn't really work. I mean, seriously, if drinking the water causes you to go mad then shouldn’t ANYONE who drank the water be losing their sh*t, not just the kids?

Not much to report here. Just loads of dopey ‘Horror Movie Moves’. Characters walking instead of running away from danger, dropping their keys while walking away from danger, not checking to see if their flashlight has good batteries in it, ditching the flashlight altogether just to wander in the dark, etc.


> John Aldrich took a tiger cub home with him and kept it for fifteen days. Moreover, Aldrich was specifically cast in the lead role because he had previously worked for a circus as an animal tamer and hence was comfortable working with animals.

> John Aldrich was almost decapitated by the polar bear.

> The sequence with the tiger in the subway tunnel was shot from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Moreover, the tiger got loose in the subway station and hid in a bathroom before deciding to go on top of a train. Subway station employees were prevented from entering the station until the tiger was finally caught.

> Three animal handlers were present on the set with tranquilizer guns for all the scenes involving various animals.

> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this review was sourced from IMDB.

Posted by J. Bryant

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