Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day of the Animals, When Animals Attack

Poor Susan Blacklinie.  She is always being put on the buffet for the animal kingdom.  In "Jaws," she portrayed Chrissie.  You remember Chrissie, the skinny-dipper who was eaten by the great white at the start of the film.  Two years later, her fate was even more gruesome.  In 1977's "Day of the Animals" she is mauled by wolves, picked apart by vultures, and then thrown of a cliff by those same birds.  The pretty blonde also served as Linda Day George's stunt double in that same film.
The tasty Susan Blacklinie
Ahhh, where would a decade be without it's version of what will end the planet?  Nuclear bombs kept people on edge in the 1950s, Communism in the 1960s, and today...global warming has us ready to relocate to Mars.  But in the 1970s...come on now, any guesses?  Mercury in our Tuna and aerosol sprays were gonna melt our cells and destroy the ozone layer.  In "Day of the Animals," we are warned in a prologue that what we are about to see could happen if we keep using underarm antiperspirant.  Unfortunately for some hikers, led by the hunk Steve (Christopher George), they will see these effects first hand.  The increased radiation makes all the animals up in the California mountains attack.  Mandy (Blacklinie) will be the first to go.
Leslie Nielsen and Michael Ansara
As Steve and his Indian (the 1970s term for Native American) Daniel (Michael Ansara) try to keep the hikers from panicking, a loose cannon ad-executive, Paul (Leslie Nielsen) goes as mad as the pursuing critters.  Paul will turn into a homicidal rapist, as the snakes, tarantulas, birds, mountain lions, and wolves pursue.  A cute side story occurs as Steve falls in love with his real life wife Linda Day George, who plays Terry.  Uh oh, as our campers desperately try to make it back down the mountain to town, they are unaware that the animals have already eaten most of the citizens.  With Steve's group dwindling, and the army on it's way, can our surviving hikers hold out?
Susan Day and Christopher George with Cujo
What begins as a harmless made-for-TV looking PG flick, quickly turns into a gory and dark horror film.  Some of the kills are horrifying and uncomfortable to watch.  Will man emerge still atop the food chain?  Will Mr. and Mrs. George think twice about a family pet?  This film was decades ahead of the hit reality show "When Animals Attack," but the makers of that show clearly had this film in mind.