Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Dei: The White Buffalo

If at first you don't succeed, make the same movie again.  Today's film is The White Buffalo, a film that is surprisingly-hard to track down.  It represents a series of historical footnotes, yet has no mainstream DVD release via Netflix.  Before I get ahead of myself, what is this movie?  It's Jaws.  Two years after that iconic film, Dino De Laurentiis (R.I.P.) was trying really hard to copy the success.  There was King Kong (ugh), Orca (UGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH) and this film.  As a bonus, Will Sampson is also in this movie.  He was an Inuit in Orca, so naturally he's a Native American in this film.  Ethnic identity- where did you go?  The film is interesting for being a Western and a Horror film.  There aren't a lot of those- especially in 1977- and most of them aren't good.  This turned out to be Charles Bronson's final Western, as well as the last film he made with Dino.  I guess that's not enough to warrant a real DVD release.  Keep your eyes peeled for a slew of Character Actors- many of whom are associated with Genre films- as well.  It was the '70s- if you didn't have 15 big names in random roles, you couldn't make a film.  To find out why this film succeeds and fails in many ways, read on...
The first shot of the film is amazing!  It makes me think that 'Yeah, a killer Buffalo' can work.  What terror, what evil, what....
...idiot thought that this model was scary.  Realistic- maybe, but it looks like a giant, killer goat.

Hmm...where's that movie?  The Revenge of Billy the Kid doesn't count either.
This whole intro turns out to be a dream.  This is the dream of Buffalo Bill (Bronson), a man who goes out West to find a new life and escape his past.
The titular animal, meanwhile, goes on a rampage through an Indian Camp, killing many.  This includes the son of...
Crazy Horse (Sampson)- who's super-pissed.  He goes, well, Crazy and plans to hunt the Buffalo down.

On the plus side, his motivation is more than 'I had a dream about a Buffalo, so I have to go kill it!'
Fun Fact: Slim Pickens is in this movie.  He's not in it nearly enough, but he is in it.
After being chased out of town for his past deeds, Bill goes out with his pal to hunt the Buffalo down.  Again- it's all because of a recurring dream.  I'm just saying.
 The Buffalo does not take the threat lightly and...basically just runs around a lot.  Kind of a one-note monster, really.
 Bill and Horse team up to take out the creature...and the rigging team keeping it moving.  They succeed and make peace with society or whatever.  The End.
Eh, it's better than Orca.  Seriously, I hate Orca and this is not nearly as offensive.  For being the second-least-offensive Jaws rip-off produced by Dino De Laurentiis in 1977, The White Buffalo deserves some respect.  I like to make my back-handed compliments really specific these days.  In all honesty, it's not bad.  There is a pretty good amount of filler here, even if it is a bunch of shoot-outs.  I guess I can't complain too much about a random sub-plot with Kim Novak as a former Hooker.  That said, there is a lot of filler.  I wanted to like this movie more, especially since I kind of like Razorback and, to a certain extent, Chawz.  The use of the Animatronics here is not all that great, especially compared to the real animal footage in Orca and the ones in Jaws, this is bad.  The whole thing just feels lazily-put-together and cheap at times.  If you can track this film down, it does merit a watch.  Just don't expect to be super-impressed by the final product, that's all.  On the plus side, I got another great Carradine face...
Next up, we return to Video Game films with a live-action film.  It was made to support a now-dead game franchise, so the stakes are...low.  Stay tuned...

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