Last December, I lamented the fact I'd discovered this wonderfully crazy film from 1981 called Roar, and there was no way to view it. Well, as if by magic, Drafthouse Films heeded the call and released a restored version of the film to theatres last month. If you need a refresher, check out the trailer here.
Fortunately, Roar screened here at The Royal and boy oh boy did it ever live up to its promise. This film is insanity, pure unadulterated insanity. It's one of those movies where you just stare at it in awe that a group of people got together and not one of them thought to mention that this was a terrible idea.
For those who don't know, actress Tippi Hedren owned a Californian wildlife reserve in the seventies with her then-husband Noel Marshall. On this reserve, in addition to many other animals, were over a hundred lions, tigers and other large cats. At some point, one of them came up with the ill-advised notion to make a movie featuring all of these untrained felines. Marshall would star and the other members of the cast would be made up of their immediate family, including Hedren and their daughter, Melanie Griffith.
I can't understate how many cats are in this movie. They are everywhere! There's this great moment where Marshall's friend Mativo goes into the house to get away from the lions outside, only to find there are twice as many inside. There are so many parts where you can see the actors aren't acting, they're just doing their best not to break character.
I feel I am not exaggerating when I say that this movie fucks with your head a little bit. It is not just the fact that every frame is dripping with danger - that no one died on this movie is a miracle in itself - but also that the movie feels like a contradiction. The way the movie starts, how Marshall interacts with his cats, the uplifting music, all makes you feel like you are watching a live-action Disney film of the era (like, say Escape To Witch Mountain) except all the characters are never more than a few seconds from death. It is so surreal.
|Case in point.
The movie is quite remarkable, but it is more of an experience, as the story is pretty threadbare. Regardless, seeing people one step away from death for ninety minutes left me a little out of breath I don't mind saying. Anyhow, I urge you to check this out if it comes to your neck of the woods. If anything just because such lofty assertions as “the most dangerous film ever made” are actually true in this case.