Thursday, May 23, 2019

Rare Flix: Savage Harvest (1981)

After enjoying the crazy Poster for a long time, I might as well watch the Movie!  This is Savage Harvest, a 1981 Film featuring familiar stuff.  1981 brought us both this Film and Roar, the Film about a family being tormented by the Director's 'pet' lions.  Why are there two of these from the same year?!?  This one is a bit different as it is not chock full of horror stories like Jan De Bont (working as a Cameraman) being literally-scalped by a Lion.  Ouch.  Oddly, this one is more obscure and hard to find.  As such, I could only find a low-to-medium quality version of it.  If you have an actual DVD of this Film, you are some sort of Pink Dolphin who can do his own Taxes.  I mean that you don't likely exist.  When a drought makes the local Lion population attack people, a conflicted family must escape.  Will they escape the worst sleepover not held at Neverland Ranch?  To find out, read on...
The Film doesn't so much show you what is happening as just straight up tell you.  Alright then...
So yeah, the Lions are willing and able to eat people now.  Bad luck for this guy.
This guy on the left loses his work force- led by the guy on the right- due to the Drought.  This Movie barely hits 90 minutes and stuff like this is why.
Tom Skeritt is the Father and he's back to spend time with his family.  Yeah, he's not around enough, but, counterpoint- that mustache.
On his way home, he finds his dead friend and we learn that the lions flipped over a Jeep/SUV and tore their way in to kill a guy.

The Film couldn't figure out how to SHOW THAT HAPPENING, but take their word for it.
The people at the House don't seem to aware of the danger until it literally jumps on them.

I know that there was careful Editing and an Animal Trainer on hand, but that shit still looks dangerous as hell!
With no working Cars (since a Lion somehow swatted a hole in a pump- right!), they are stuck inside.
From this point on, it basically becomes 'Night of the Living Dead, but with Lions.'  On the plus side, a Lion somehow sneaks into the House via the Chimney and stealth-kills a guy!
In a semi-ironic move, they fashion a moving cage to get out to the Car amidst the Lions.  They escape, but at what cost?  The End.
A decent Movie, although factors outside of its control play a part.  It's really hard to truly enjoy a Film when the Quality is so bad that I feel like I'm watching it without my glasses on.  That said, the Movie is still pretty good.  The Drama is nice.  The Lions are real.  The attacks look pretty real, save for some choppy Editing.  The contrast between this and Roar is having the Lions trained.  On a certain level, you can make a case for not trying to 'domesticate' an Apex Predator like a Lion.  You should probably let it just be free and do what it wants.  On another level, if your Family is being scarred and terrified by them, maybe use trained ones!  There are zero stories about people maimed or wounded that I could find about this Film and it looks just as real most of the time.  I can accept a bit of Editing if it means that Melanie Griffith doesn't have to get 50 stitches!  Unlike later Films, they make the Lions a palpable threat and I liked it.  They are still Animals, so they smack each other around like they naturally do.  The Film manages to get close to 'Lions are super-smart' a couple of times- like the one waiting for the girl to stick her arm out- but holds back.  I still find the idea that they can do certain things in the Film to be a bit silly, but it's a minor point.  If you can find this Film (and in better visual fidelity), it's worth a look.  It's not going to blow your mind, but it has good moments in it.  It also features a famous company that is no longer with us...
Next time, I cover a third Film in a Series that was hated by the original Director.  Since the others were bad, is this good?  Stay tuned...

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