The tale of Grizzly II: Revenge, has become something of an urban legend amongst animal attack film fans.
Originally scheduled for release back in 1983, the film was never fully finished with one of the producers Joseph Proctor disappearing just a day into filming; with all of the funds in hand.
Now 37 years later Producer Suzanne C. Nagy has revived the project, with some additional footage shot to finally complete the film.
We caught up with Suzanne to talk about Grizzly II: Revenge –
Why have you decided to put together this definitive cut of Grizzly II?
I have been living with this movie since 1983. I purchased the title rights in 1990 but my personal life changed, so I couldn’t finish the film in 1990. My husband passed away and I had an 11 years old daughter, so I decided to take over my husband’s antique gallery instead.
What can you tell us about the experience of working on the film back in 1983?
It was a major drama, imagine 300 people on the set and my partner just announced that he is leaving because the movie is bankrupt.
When I was able to save the production, I couldn’t tell the people that the producer left. Morally it would have been a disaster.
It was a terrible struggle, but I finished the principal photography.
There are so many folk tales about the filming; for one, was a real bear used for some the attack scenes on the concert?
No, there was no real bear used in the filming, in Hungary. Nick Maley bear special effect great guy build the mechanical bear 16′ tall.
How much footage was filmed before the disappearance of Joseph Proctor?
He disappeared after the first day of shooting. We had 45 days ahead of us. We filmed the concert during the entire day, and at night we filmed the bear action behind the stage. The ending scene.
What was the reaction like at the time when the cast heard the film was being shut down?
They did not know anything. We continued as scheduled, on Monday with the principal photography.
How did you go about shooting new footage and blending it with the original footage?
I purchased film videos and clips, after matching the scene with the new footage. Then we colour-coordinated with the restored old footage.
Director Szots had only directed one TV movie at this stage in his career, did you feel Grizzly II was a big undertaking for him?
Grizzly was released in the post-Jaws boom of 1976, we’re you surprised it took so long for a sequel to Grizzly to materialize?
No, good things never get rotten.
What are your plans to release the film, can fans expect a DVD/Blu Ray or will it be a digital-only release?
We are planning a theatrical release, drive-in outdoor theatres would be a great solution with popcorn. Than syndicate the film, streaming business is very hot now, and as of last, it will be a DVD, and Blu Ray. We developed an entire Grizzly family, T-shirts, and so on.
go on http://www.grizzly2revenge.com and check it out.
Tell us how difficult the process was of remastering the original footage?
I had to-dismantled the original edit, and create a new edit by pulling and restructuring every clip, and create a new narration.
Grizzly II had a great young cast too, with George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, Laura Dern, Charles Cyphers and John Rhys-Davies, how seriously were they taking the source material?
How hard was it to have a set where there was 40,000 extras for the concert scenes?
It was the first Eastern European Woodstock style concert with mainly English cutting edge rock groups. The so-called “extras” was the audience.
It took me 4 months to organize the concert. But on concert day we had a fantastic rich material in the can.
How much input did David Sheldon have in the story for Grizzly II?
Unfortunate he did not have. My partner promised the directorial job to David, but it never materialized.
Were there ever any discussions in the early years after the cancelled production of reviving Grizzly II?
Grizzly II was never cancelled. The second unit was not filmed with the bear actions. I had to reconstruct this part alone in 2019.
Do you think with enough interest we could ever see a Grizzly III?
Yes, definitely, I already have the outline for the story.
Given the concert setting, was it always the idea to go bigger and better with Grizzly II as many sequels try to do?
Yes, for example, the size of the bear, and the concert with a great crowd.
How much of a passion project has this been for yourself to be a part of?
First, in 1983, this film supposed to be a big break for me, then it became a nightmare than it became a challenge, and now it is a happy ending.
Find out more about Grizzly II: Revenge