Rarely Seen “ROAR” To Stream On 4/15/20 To Benefit Theaters

Alamo Drafthouse is following in the steps of other indie art house theatre chains by streaming rarely seen films and cult classics for a price during the virus pandemic. A percentage of the “virtual movie ticket” cost will go to The Will Rogers Motion Picture Foundation Assistance Fund to help movie theater employees out of work with everything shut down due to the virus.

On 4/15/20, the unbelievably intense “ROAR” (1981) will be broadcast on Vimeo for $10 USD. It is no doubt an attempt to cash in on Netflix’s “Tiger King” craze. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/wwroar?utm_campaign=2470763&utm_source=affiliate&utm_channel=affiliate&cjevent=b2e177137af511ea823600ec0a24060b

“ROAR” was one of the most dangerous and difficult movies ever made, taking over a decade to produce. It was never released in the United State until 2015 (on DVD, VOD, and TCM) and ended up being a box office bomb when it was initially released in other parts of the world in 1981. It is directed Noel Marshall and stars Marshall and his famous family at the time: Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith, along with his sons Jerry Marshall and John Marshall.

For many years I actually thought it was an urban legend. Then in 2001, a friend of mine in Seattle was able to get a VHS copy for us through a friend of his who worked for a movie studio in Japan. The version we saw was in English with Japanese subtitles.

To say the movie’s plot is uneven would be an understatement. It starts off as a “family friendly” Disney nature ripoff then it turns into another “When Animals Attack” horror picture which were so common throughout the 1970s to early 1980. It’s almost as if Marshall gave up on the script after a few rewrites and decided to remake Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (which of course also starred his wife Hedren) and replaced the birds with lions and tigers. Like a lot of movies in those days, it’s rated PG but probably should have been R so not to shock unknowing families.

There is absolutely NO special effects CGI used. These are real lions, tigers, elephants, hippos and just about every other wild animal that you can think of. It was filmed in California but the setting is supposed to be Tanzania. For several years during production, Marshall and Hedren actually had many of the lions and tigers living with them at their house and treated them as if they were average house cats.

Depending on who you believe, over hundred people may have been injured on the set. It was incredibly lucky that no humans or animals were killed at all. Griffith was mauled by a lion and needed several stitches and surgery (her injury was not shown in the version I saw but the alleged photo of it was used in alternate posters to hype the movie). Hedren was bitten by animals and suffered a broken leg after being thrown from an elephant. Noel Marshall landed in the hospital several times after getting bitten. He told the press that he believed over a hundred were injured overall. Hedren disputed his claims and thought there were only about seven people seriously injured, including herself. She admitted that she didn’t know how anyone survived when it was all over.

W.W.D. Twitter: https://twitter.com/wrestlingdemons?lang=en

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