Sunday, October 23, 2016

Roar (1981 film)

Written, directed, and starring Noel Marshall, Roar is the story of a family visiting their patriarch in a secluded home where they’re attacked by animals. Considered one of the most notorious and dangerous films ever made, it is infamous for its 11-year production in which 70 cast and crew members were harmed during the making of the film by real animals. Also starring Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith, Jerry Marshall, and John Marshall. Roar is a scary and dangerous film from Noel Marshall and some wild fuckin’ animals.

Here’s an idea for a vacation. A family goes to Africa to meet their patriarch whom they hadn’t seen in years as they learn he isn’t home but at the house are a bunch of lions, tigers, jaguars, panthers, cheetahs, and cougars who roam and attack the family scaring them to death. That is pretty much what the film is about as it involves this reclusive man who lives amongst the wild in his home as he awaits for his wife and three teenage children to arrive while dealing with a society who wants to get rid of the animals. The film’s screenplay by Noel Marshall, with additional contributions by Ted Cassidy, doesn’t have much of plot as it’s about this guy who is so caught up with his collection of wild animals as he is trying to protect them as well as wait for his wife and children to arrive. The man’s wife Madeleine (Tippi Hedren) and their children wouldn’t just deal with these animals but also try to survive without him.

Marshall’s direction is definitely intense for the fact that the film was made real animals as they would be in the house, walk around, and at times attack anything and anyone. Shot on location in Marshall’s private home in Acton, California as Africa, the film does play into something that feels like a vacation in Hell where a family goes to Africa and get a very close encounter with some fucking animals that would include some elephants. The usage of the close-ups and medium shots play into how animals would react as it would also include these very chilling moments as it is clear into why Marshall would give these animals credit in the writing and directing. Especially as the way they would attack the actors and terrorize them add a realness to what is going on as if it is a horror movie. Marshall would also maintain that air of spontaneity in the direction as a way to let the animals take control while the actors are the ones that had act into the environment they’re in. Overall, Marshall and the animals create a film that is just dangerous and thrilling about a family’s hellish vacation in a house full of wild animals.

Cinematographer/co-editor Jan de Bont, along with co-editor Jerry Marshall, does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography as it is very bright and colorful to play into the locations of the daytime exteriors as well as some scenes at night while much of the editing is straightforward with some fast-cuts to play into the intense action. Production designer Joel Marshall does brilliant work with the look of the home that the characters live in as well as the rooms which the animals would destroy. Sound supervisor Kees Linthorst does superb work with the sound in capturing the many sounds of the animals roaring and such as well as capturing the chaos that goes on throughout the production. The film’s music by Terrence P. Minogue is terrific for its mixture of serene orchestral pieces with some traditionally-based African music while there are also some score pieces that are offbeat as it play into the action as the soundtrack also include some very serene yet offbeat songs.

The film’s wonderful cast feature some notable roles from Frank Tom as a poacher aide of the antagonist Prentiss, Steve Miller as the evil poacher Prentiss, and Kyalo Mativo as Hank’s assistant Mativo who has a hard time dealing with the animals and having to distract them. The performances of Melanie Griffith, John Marshall, and Jerry Marshall as fantastic as they basically use their first names for the roles as three teenagers who would have terrifying encounters with the animals with Melanie Griffith being the most frightened as she was actually mauled during the production. Tippi Hedren is excellent as Madeleine as Hank’s estranged wife who hadn’t seen her husband for years as she is frightened by what she sees as she actually does break her legs for a scary scene involving an elephant.

Noel Marshall is superb as Hank as a man trying to maintain a lively environment for the animals as well as try to break up fights as he is just this crazed lunatic that is trying to relate to the animals. The film’s best performances definitely go to the cheetahs, tigers, jaguars, cougars, elephants, panthers, and the lions including the head lion Robbie, the blood-thirsty Togar, and Robbie’s young son Gary.

Roar is an absolutely insane film from Noel Marshall. While it’s not actually presented as a horror film, the fact that real animals were used and that 70 cast and crew members were actually harmed just makes the film a really scary experience. As a film, it’s truly riveting to watch as it’s just a lot of fun for how fucking nuts it is. In the end, Roar is a wild and rapturous film from Noel Marshall.

© thevoid99 2016


keith71_98 said...

Good grief! That thing sounds insane. Real animals? I'm sold.

thevoid99 said...

@keith71_98-Yep. Real animals. Lions, tigers, cougars, jaguars, panthers, leopards, and elephants. Oh, and cinematographer Jan de Bont got scalped by one of them during the production. It's fucking insane but you can't un-watch it.

Dell said...

I've heard so much about this movie, but haven't seen it yet. I really need to since it just sounds so unfathomable. At some point, you would think somebody would have come to their senses and put a stop to this before the number of injuries got anywhere near 70.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-I think the story behind the making of the film is far more interesting as seeing the film itself is quite shocking as I was like "oh fuck" and "oh shit!" throughout my viewing of the film. It was on TCM and this is why everyone needs that channel. You never know what underground cult film they will show on Saturday nights.

TheVern said...

I just watched this and yes it was intense, but at the end I wanted to live with those animals. Ok maybe not all at the same time but I would love to wake up and see a tiger and a lion cuddle next to me

thevoid99 said...

@The Vern-I don't know i I want to be in the same bed with lions and tigers. The fact that real animals were involved and did all of that crazy shit alone was scary.