Action, Horror, Thriller

Wild Beasts (1984)

Comments Off on Wild Beasts (1984) 28 January 2018

Wild Beasts

Studio: Severin

Theatrical Release: February 15, 1984 (Italy)

Blu Ray Release: February 7, 2017

Director: Franco Prosperi

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

The Italians have produced their fair share of horror films ranging from zombies, cannibals, and serial killers but Wild Beasts is something all together different. In fact, most U.S. audiences have never seen Wild Beasts until now with this brand new, gorgeous transfer thanks to the folks at Severin. With a very limited release in 1984, Wild Beasts was never shown in the U.S. in 1984 at the time of it’s release. Thankfully, Wild Beasts is well worth the wait. 

Lorraine De Selle (House on the Edge of the Park, Cannibal Ferox) stars as Laura, a journalist whose involved with animal trainer and zoologist Rupert (Tony Di Leo) who is finding some strange happenings at his zoo. First off, momma tiger’s liter keeps biting her nipples every time they need a drink. The other lions and cheetah’s seem to be running about in their cages acting oddly, roaring for no reason. In the middle of the night, the elephants knock down the wall that holds them in, knocking out the power that locks all the animals in their cages, thus all breaking loose. 

As these animals start tearing apart the zoo and soon break free into the city, Laura and Rupert find out that the zoo’s water was contaminated with PCP / angel dust and these drug crazed beasts need to be stopped and brought back to captivity…or killed.

Laura’s pre-teen daughter Suzy is off with friends on a school retreat (I am not entirely sure why she is with her classmates but I guess it doesn’t matter) and the kids soon become trapped when a polar bear breaks into the school roaming the hallways, ready to eat / attack whoever is in sight. Making matters worse, the water contamination soon leaks into the school’s drinking water, making all the children violently insane. 

Wild Beasts is an action-packed romp of actual animals shown interacting and at times attacking the human actors. In the spirit of 1981’s horror / drama Roar, there are no special effects or CGI, this is the real thing. In one scene a bear almost takes the head off actor Tony Di Leo and misses by inches. Actual live rats are shown biting some of the actors where the look of shock and pain on some of their faces can be easily seen. Wild Beasts is not a film that could ever be made now and if it was, it would be missing the very essence of what makes this such a fun, exciting and surprising film.

But be warned: Wild Beasts is still a fairly low-budget film and director Prosperi (he helped make the Mondo Cane films) can’t write and direct actors very well so there are some moments of great hilarity with actors delivering some God-awful lines with various expressions of shock, wonder and at times confusion. I think this adds to the charm and fun but some film snobs who are not used to this type of movie may disregard it as cheap and groan-inducing. 

Severin’s blu ray release looks good but due to the film’s low budget and the fact that almost the entire film is shot at night, the image at times comes off a little blurry and not so clear. Because this has never been released in the past, it’s hard for me to compare this blu ray to say an older VHS tape or DVD but I am sure this transfer is miles above any other release overseas. One can also view the film dubbed or in the original Italian, both presented in 2.0 dolby digital. Given the frequent animal attacks, I would have loved a 5.1 track with sounds of the animals coming out from all different channels but this will have to suffice. 

The blu ray also contains many interviews such as interviews with the director, star Di Leo, editor Mario Morra (this interview is really long and I admit fast forwarding as he talks about his entire career) and animal wrangler Roberto Tiberti’s son, Carlo. There is also an international trailer for Wild Beasts as well which judging from the look of the trailer, Severin did a pretty damn good job on the transfer. 

I do enjoy my nature-run-amok films and Wild Beasts ranks up there as maybe the most fun. Filled with blood and gore, some nudity and a strange cast (why is the inspector always eating a bag of junk food?) I found Wild Beasts to be a great Friday night horror film, maybe best watched with a group of non-judging friends and lots of alcohol. 

Movie Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆ 

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