“Cocaine Bear” is hurtling to a theater near you.
The fact that so many moviegoers are so excited about its arrival only underscores one thing:
People just love crazy horror movies. Especially if there are bears in it.
And that’s what they get in this Elizabeth Banks-directed movie, which hits a trillion screens nationwide on February 24. Fans who can’t wait that long – and yes, we’re looking at you in the “Basket Case” T-shirt – can catch one of the many “early” screenings on February 23.
The title of the movie pretty much tells you everything you need to know, telling the story of a bear with a major substance abuse problem and a passion for chaos. It’s actually a cautionary tale, emphasizing why we should keep our woodland creatures away from stimulants of all kinds.
That said, there will be some really grumpy raccoons when we take their Red Bull away at our next poker party.
“Cocaine Bear” — which is actually based on the true story of an American black bear who ingested a massive amount of cocaine in 1985 — has caused quite a stir with its laughable trailer, which friends were busy forwarding to each other for weeks . The buzz is reminiscent of what we saw way back with Samuel L. Jackson’s 2006 movie “Snakes on a Plane.”
Hopefully ‘Cocaine Bear’ turns out to be better than ‘Snakes’.
Find out when the movie opens this week.
But let’s face it, a movie centered on a hairy, four-legged rampage isn’t something that should leave moviegoers cold. So to properly prepare people for the goofy horror movie event of the season, we’re looking back at some of the leading bear horror movies from the past few decades.
We set out to find those who share a similar spirit – intentionally or not – to ‘Cocaine Bear’. In other words, don’t expect to see “The Revenant” on the list. Sure, the 2015 Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle does include a bear scene, but it also won multiple Oscars – ensuring that no self-respecting fan of bad horror comedy would ever want to see it.
Oh, but there are plenty of bad bear movies out there. Here are five you should definitely see.
If you’re going to watch just one crazy movie starring mutant bears in your life, make sure it’s this glorious shlockfest from director John Frankenheimer, who – as unlikely as it may seem – also spearheaded critically acclaimed films like ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ and ‘Seven Days in May’.
The movie is terrible in all the right ways for the “so-bad-it-it-good” squad, who will cherish this wonderful cliché story about man messing with nature and then messing with nature back. The creature of the mutated bear will make those of us who grew up enjoying the era of men in rubber suits from monster movies of the 50s and 60s really happy.
However, the most important thing to know about ‘Prophecy’ is that the sleeping bag explosion scene is one of the greatest moments in movie history.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Paramount+, Epix, Sling TV, more.
‘Grizzly II: Revenge’ (2020)
Of course, you can stick with the legendary original film – 1976’s “Grizzly” – which was a huge hit despite being pilloried by critics as a “Jaws” rip-off. Or you can skip straight to the sequel, which might make part 1 seem like “Citizen Kane” by comparison.
The movie, which is no less than one 8 percent writer approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, tells the story of a giant mama bear who goes on a bloody rampage after her cub is killed by poachers. And believe it or not, it features three (at the time) little-known actors named Charlie Sheen, George Clooney, and Laura Dern.
Also, “Grizzly II: Revenge” was released some 37 years after its original recording, which is always a good sign.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Google Play, Redbox, Vudu, YouTube, more.
‘Day of the Animals’ (1977)
It’s kind of like any 1970s slow monster movie you fell asleep to on the couch on a Sunday afternoon – during the NFL offseason, of course – only to wake up towards the end wondering why that thing with the claws is the attack man in the pockets.
Oh, but boring has its own special charm, right? I mean, why else would people watch all those hair-raising shows on HGTV? So, pour yourself a Mountain Dew and do your best to stay awake as you watch an array of wildlife—yes, including a bear—take aim at a group of humans hiking through Northern California.
The film was directed by animal-on-the-war specialist William Girdler, who was also the filmmaker behind ‘Grizzly’, and stars ‘Naked Gun’ legend Leslie Nelson for a total of @#$%.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Tubi, Pluto, more.
In this horror film directed by Roel Reiné, four people driving through a remote area suddenly decide to take a shortcut. And as shocking as it may sound, that turns out to be a very bad idea. They eventually get stuck in the woods in their minivan and must fend off a mighty tapped bear.
The bear in question – listed in the credits as “Blue” – is by far the best actor in the cast. Although, admittedly, that’s a mighty low bar to clear. The human characters are downright unpleasant and apparently believe that bickering among themselves is the best way to get over the deadly situation. And let’s just say most viewers won’t be so disappointed if – oops, we have to say “if” so as not to give anything away – the bear ends up taking care of Sam, the obnoxious businessman (played by Patrick Scott Lewis). Oh, and there’s also a scene where the bear takes drugs (sort of).
What we can’t understand, though, is why Reiné would decide to use a pseudonym (John Rebel) when directing this gem.
Where to watch: Redbox, Vudu, Roku Channel, Fawesome, Tubi, more.
‘Grizzly Rage’ (2007)
We’ve seen toothbrushes more terrifying than this Canadian horror movie. The fact that it premiered on SyFy – the channel that specializes in the scary – shouldn’t shock anyone. What’s surprising, though, is that this movie features a plain old bear, rather than a two-headed mutant snake-bear or some other made-up hybrid creature that would more naturally fit into the Syfy realm.
But don’t let that stop you from watching the actors – who alternate between robotic rigidity and zealous overacting – in this tale of a 4×4 journey gone incredibly wrong. The bear, as usual in these films, delivers the absolute best moments on screen.
Because we like to assume the best in people, we trust that director David DeCoteau and writer Arne Olsen have done their homework and made a film that is as close as possible to the normal behavior of a bear. Still, we were a little surprised to learn in this movie that bears are known for repeatedly headbutting cars and throwing their intended victims great distances. Just goes to show that every horror movie is a teachable moment.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Crackle, Roku Channel, more