RetroMovieNerd’s review published on Letterboxd:
Braun: "Is she out of her mind?"
Rupert: "No, she's not crazy! She's being chased by a cheetah!"
This is really the only line of dialogue I can clearly remember from Wild Beasts. This one and the line where the dispatcher asks the patrolman if he knows what elephants looks like. Wild Beasts has a promising premise, with zoo animals going bonkers after drinking water that has been contaminated with PCP, going on a rampage and just fucking shit up real good. My enjoyment was tempered somewhat by several aspects: the strange, almost alien dialogue. The type of dialogue where you ask "Do people really talk like this?". I'll chalk it up to literal English translation of Italian screenwriting.
Other reasons for not really enjoying this potentially good movie range from animal cruelty on display, such as setting rats on fire and placing animals in very dangerous situations, and a few examples of sexualizing children. I literally had to do a double take and ask "was that clearly pre-teen girl just caught in a state of undress?". Franco Prosperi: you just made the list!
I will admit that I was enjoying the animal rampage scenes, however. Elephants causing an airliner to crash and burn on landing! Rats infesting a car and eating the flesh of a couple, interrupting their make-out session! A polar bear attack inside the dance school! And my personal favorite: you may be able to outrun a cheetah in your shitty Volkswagen Beetle, but there is no way you can outrun a cheetah in your shitty Volkswagen Beetle if that cheetah is on PCP! You're fucked!
The ending of Wild Beasts also takes this thing down a peg. Its a cliffhanger ending where one was not needed, and it just opens the door to more questions that the movie had no intention of answering. Also, the final shot in the version I watched contained a freeze frame of star Lorraine De Selle's frightened face and a message that was completely in Italian and not translated so I have no clue what it said. Maybe it said "No animals were harmed in the making of this picture except maybe for a few rats but nobody likes them anyway so we fried a few and fed them to the naked children we kept in cages out behind the trailers." So who are the true "wild beasts" of this movie? The crazed, drug-fueled animals? or children? or the monster that is Franco Prosperi?
Wild Beasts release date: February 15, 1984 (in Italy)
Song release from that week: Roger Daltrey - Walking in My Sleep
UP NEXT: a first time watch with the cult classic Repo Man!