News: Unfinished 1983 Film Grizzly II Completed and Set for Release - Starring Laura Dern, George Clooney, and Charlie Sheen

In what has got to be the most unlikely cinematic underdog story of 2020 so far, a notorious (in certain circles) unreleased film with a bizarrely great cast is finally seeing the light of day, 38 years after work on it was halted amid a bankruptcy. In 1982 production began on a sequel to 1976's when-animals-attack cult-classic Grizzly, known in various stages of production as Grizzly II: The Predator, Grizzly II: The Concert, and Grizzly II: Revenge. It almost made it to completion - principle photography was done, a rough-cut had been completed, and all it needed was the completion of its effects shots - when financial troubles caused the film to be shelved and abandoned. Grizzly II featured a very good cast for a low-budget, shot-in-Europe sequel to a 6-year-old B-movie: John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest), and Deborah Foreman (Valley Girl) starred. But the film became legendary among fans of lost or unreleased films because of its supporting cast, which featured a pre-fame George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, and new Oscar-winner Laura Dern.

Laura Dern and George Clooney as horny
campers who are about to be bear-bait
in the VHS workprint of Grizzly II.
Eventually a VHS workprint of the film's rough cut leaked out, although it was missing the bear-attack effects shots that were never completed, and the film developed a minor cult following over the years, even getting a fan-edit that spliced in bear-attack cutaways from the first film to complete it as much as possible. But now, in a wholly unexpected announcement, the film's original producer, Suzanne Nagy, has revealed that she has completed the film, from a brand-new HD remaster of the original negative. She produced newly-created effects footage to fill in the missing pieces, and according to a statement on the film's web site, created a new final cut from scratch, which will likely be different from the workprint version that the movie's small cult of fans know. What's more, the newly-completed version has already had its premiere earlier this week, and a trailer has been released. The trailer does not seem to show any new effects shots, so we have no way of knowing how well the new and old footage mesh, but the restoration work on the film is quite impressive, and a massive step up from the bootlegs that have thus far been the only way to see the movie.

There is no word on a release date yet, but considering the unexpected star power in the film, it seems like a no-brainer that Grizzly II will soon be headed to blu-ray, likely from a boutique label specializing in '80s horror oddities like this. It's always exciting to see a long-lost film finally restored, and doubly exciting when that film involves a bear party-crashing Laura Dern, George Clooney, and Charlie Sheen's camping trip. Not to mention John Rhys-Davies as a big-game hunter who faces off against the bear. We are officially excited.

Here is the newly-dropped trailer:

- Christopher S. Jordan

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