FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

Jan 30, 2007

Animals Run Amok Week: Day 2

"You know, this ozone thing has got something to do with it. I don't know what it is, but I can feel it!"

Why settle for only one kind of animal running around wreaking havoc when you can have them all? That's my philosophy, anyway. It's a good thing the late William Girdler (the man behind such genre fare as Abby, Grizzly, and Three on a Meathook) feels the same way, for it is he who brought the world the 1977 every- animal-runs-amok-fest Day of the Animals.

As we all know, those Jersey girls and the spray they use in their high high hair have caused a massive hole in the earth's ozone layer. What Day of the Animals shows us, however, are the (possible, natch) startling repercussions of such wanton aerosol use: without the ozone layer to protect them from the sun's rays, all the animals at elevations above 5000 feet go totally cuckoo nutso and kill kill kill! Al Gore doesn't know whether to laugh or to cry.

A motley assortment of hikers (including super-70s husband and wife combo Christopher and Lynda Day George, Andrew Stevens, and Leslie Nielsen) ends up stranded in the Mountaintop Animal Death Zone and must fend off raving hordes of birds of prey, wolves, snakes, mountain lions, bears, and...uh, German Shepherds. With their limited supplies running out and their disparate personalities clashing, will they make it out alive?

While Day of the Animals largely consists of animals glaring whilst ominous music plays, it's not without its cheesy charms, the biggest of which is Leslie Nielsen, whose performance is worth the rental price alone.

Nielsen's racist ad exec is an absolute hoot to watch- he insults everyone, he shoves both women and children to the ground ("Get outta here, you cockroach, or I'll throw you off that cliff!"), he tries to rape Andrew Stevens's girlfriend, and then he kills Andrew Stevens when he's attempting to save his girlfriend from said rape. By the time Nielsen's bare-chested ozone rampage is finished, he's railing against God and wrestling bears in the rain.

When a swarm of rats leapt onto the sheriff's face, I wanted to marry Day of the Animals- and I did, in a quickie ceremony down at the Town Hall. Things were going great- Christopher George was punching dogs, people were falling off cliffs...I thought Day of the Animals and I would be together forever. But then...then the movie had to go and fuck things up with that ending. All the animals suddenly drop dead. They drop dead. THEY DROP DEAD! End of story- and the end of us as well, Day of the Animals. No one likes a cop out!

Still, though, flying rats and a bear-wrestling Leslie Nielsen...oh, who am I kidding. I can't hate you, Day of the Animals, but I really think we should just be friends. I give it 5 out of 10 torrid love affairs ending in ill-advised, short-lived marriages.

7 comments:

Bill Walsh said...

I'm mad...and that's a fact
I found out...animals don't help
Animals think...they're pretty smart
Shit on the ground...see in the dark.

They wander around like a crazy dog
Make a mistake in the parking lot
Always bumping into things
Always let you down down down down

They're never there when you need them
They never come when you call them
They're never there when you need them
The never come when you call them down down down down

I know the animals...are laughing at us
They don't even know...what a joke is
I won't follow...animals’ advice
I don't care...If they're laughing at us

They're never there when you need them
They never come when you call them
They're never there when you need them
The never come when you call them down down down down

They say they don't need money
They're living on nuts and berries
They say animals don't worry
You know animals are hairy?
They think they know what's best
They're making a fool of us
They ought to be more careful
They're setting a bad example
They have untroubled lives
They think everything's nice
They like to laugh at people
They're setting a bad example
(Go ahead) Laugh at me

Chad Saxelid said...

William Girdler, you are missed. Who knows what delights you would have delivered when you inked a deal to make movies for The Cannon Group (which, in a just verse, would have happened). They would have been rad...

...oh, yeah...great review. Day and I are just friends, but there is a bit more heat in my relationship with Grizzly.

dreamrot said...

I'd love to see a movie about animals going nuts, but in a confined space. Floating maybe, in a large boat? In, I don't know, biblical times? Maybe there's 2 of every animal.

Heck yeah. They could calling it Noah's Ark. And the title could be dripping in blood. Because that makes everything cooler.

insomniac said...

A racist bear wrestling Leslie Nielson?

Oh goodness, that's wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Day of the Animals is great!!! I was expecting this really horrible, cheesy, creature feature, but I really felt for these characters. Plus the animals become very frightening...especially the wolves and snakes!!

I saw it as a part of midnight movie series called Midnites for Maniacs here in San Francisco. Now they show three movies in a row starting about 7:30 PM (usually a theme)...if you are in the area -- check it out...

Marty McKee said...

A shirtless Nielsen fighting that bear is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Edwin said...

At the end of the scene where the Sherriff and and townsfolk are discussing the strange events in the greasy spoon the camera dollies toward the window. Look close and you'll see the camera and crew clearly reflected in the window!