Monday, October 13, 2008

The Beasts are on the Streets (1978)

Network: NBC
Original Air Date: May 18th, 1978

Beasts has always been one of the golden chalices of made for television movies for me. I remember the ads featuring a tiger or panther on the hood of a car, but I’m sure I had never seen the actual movie. Yet that image stayed with me and I spent years looking for the film it came from, never knowing what the name was (and strangely, I thought I saw Chuck Norris in the ad too! Turns out it was just some guy with a moustache!). One day, I was doing one of those arbitrary searches on IMDb that I love to do when I’m bored (or at work!) and came across the irresistible title The Beasts are on the Streets. It struck a bell. But would watching Beasts ever live up to the memory of that great ad? That’s the chance you take whenever you take a childhood recollection and make it tangible (oh, I am so deep!). After years of searching for this movie, I finally landed myself a plum good copy and found myself enjoying every single second of it.

Not scary, but totally adorable!

This movie was made with the help of the Humane Society, which does my heart good. Being an almost life long vegetarian, I don’t eat meat because I just love animals so dang much. I take a chance every time I watch one of these animals attack films because if it looks too real, I’ll be a big old sack of tears in no time (I even feel bad when Jaws gets blown up!). I was worried Beasts would have the same effect, but being a TV movie produced by Joseph Barbera of Hanna-Barbera fame and all, I could count on it being fairly tame. And I for one am grateful!

Before Miami Vice, PMT still loved to pack heat!

This truck driver is having a really bad day. I mean, really bad. Like super really bad. He is darn near run off the road, has to take a nitro glycerin pill to avoid a heart attack (at which point he should of just pulled over) before running into the guys who originally tried to run him off the road. Now they are pointing a rifle at him, just cuz they are mean ol’ rednecks and the truck driver ends up crashing through a cheap barbwire fence that has been keeping several species of animals in a preserve (several species which should never be cohabitating, by the way). Well, now they are loose. All kinds of creatures are having their way with the huge car pile up the accident caused. There’s lions, tigers and bears, oh my! And ostriches and rhinos and all kinds of cute creatures… YAY! I know, I’m such an easy sell…

The strikingly beautiful Carol Lynley plays a veterinarian for the wildlife preserve. After helping a camel deliver her baby, she is one of the first to come to the aid of the panicked populace. .

That’s about 20 minutes in, folks. And now the beasts are all over the small town with only Lynley, a few of her cohorts (including Phillip Michael Thomas) and some tranquilizer darts to round up their animals.

Cartoon blood and a trucker

A nice mixture of the disaster genre with the animals amok genre, Beasts is a movie that is far more adorable than intense. There are still enough OMG moments though (like the car trying to run down an ostrich). I don’t mind when animals attack people, but I do seem to mind when they attack each other. All those years of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and it still upsets me.

The perils of being a young Farrah Fawcett wannabe

And there’s the obligatory theme dealing with how people are the real animals (finally, someone’s on my side!). If they had a show called When Animals Attack Jerks, I’d watch it everyday. These redneck hunter types wreak all kinds of havoc on the animals and you know, I just loved watching them get theirs!

So, now I have seen a movie I’ve spent the last 20 some odd years looking for. Was it worth it? Uh, doy! Do you even have to ask?


Anonymous said...

Where can I watch this?!! Can't find it anywhere. :(

Amanda By Night said...

Try IOffer. They have EVERYTHING!

Craig Edwards said...

This is another I saw over at my Grandma's house - would enjoy another watch! And yes, iOffer is FANTASTIC for finding long lost gems!

Amanda By Night said...

It's such a cool little film and now it's available through Warner Archives. Yay! :)