WILD BEASTS (1984)
aka Wild beasts – Belve feroci
Article 5154 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Franco Prosperi
Featuring Lorraine De Selle, John Aldrich, Ugo Bologna
What it is: Nature goes wild
When drugs get into Frankfurt’s water supply, animals at the zoo are exposed to it. They become savage, and when they escape the zoo, the city is terrorized.
Before seeing this, you may want to be aware the director Franco Prosperi’s oeuvre mostly consists of (sometimes uncredited) directorial work on movies like MONDO CANE, which are known as shockumentaries. This may prepare you for one of the most offensive elements of this movie; for the sake of realism, real animals were killed for this movie, and this is mostly noticeable during two sequences, one in which a swarm of rats is set on fire, and one in which some of the wild animals are let loose in a slaughterhouse where they attack cows, pigs and horses. Other scenes give me the sense that he had the animals just let loose in certain environments and filmed whatever happened, such as a scene where cattle on a stampede break into a restaurant. It’s a latecomer in the “nature gone wild” subgenre that became popular in the seventies, and we get attacks of marauding rats, cheetahs, tigers, elephants and a polar bear. Some of the scenes are effective, but others are not and much of the acting is terrible. There’s a bizarre theme about parents and children being at war with each other that pops up sporadically, and this will give you a clue to the climax of the movie. Whatever its merits (some people find it effective, others don’t), the treatment of the animals makes it a movie I find impossible to enjoy.