Written by: George Pacheco on November 26th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: USA, May 13th,1977
Director: William Girdler
Writer: William Norton
Cast: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Leslie Nielsen, Michael Ansara
DVD Released: November 26th, 2013
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35.1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.95
The sub genre of “killer animal” films is one which has earned a fairly “rabid” following over the years, with such films as Grizzly, Orca and, of course, Jaws all serving fan favorites.
Day of the Animals is one of the better B-pictures portraying a world “when animals attack,” due primarily to the stellar photography of DP Robert Sorrentino, who surprisingly only has this film to his IMDB credit. Shame, really, because Day of the Animals looks great on home video, even some thirty-five years later for this anniversary release. The lush, full score from legendary composer Lalo Schifrin also boosts the integrity of Animals, giving it somewhat of a “serious” vibe, despite the film’s obvious B-movie intentions.
Day of the Animals is indeed pretty silly with regards to its premise, a riff on the Earth’s ozone layer being depleted from harsh chemicals, resulting in a chemical imbalance which makes the animal population-and even some unfortunate humans-react with vicious violence. The large and impressive cast here includes Christopher George and his wife Lynda, alongside fellow big name talent Leslie Nielsen, Michael Ansara and Richard Jaeckel, all of whom chew the scenery and do their best to pretend they’re not in a silly, drive in animal flick.
Nielsen in particular is almost unbearable as the wretched Paul Jensen, who ends up turning into a nearly psychotic rapist/murderer by the film’s end, at one point even–without a shirt, mind–deigning to fight a marauding bear! Yep, there’s a whole lot of death following around our ensemble cast, hitting swift and hard by nearly all manner of fish and fowl. Snakes, eagles, dogs and rats all turn on our heroes and villains, setting up some enjoyably cheesy set pieces which should suit fans of this marginal style of exploitation just fine.
Scorpion Releasing presents Day of the Animals in an anamorphic widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Sorrentino’s cinematography looks great here on Scorpion’s disc, presenting sharp colors and deep blacks, while Schifrin’s score holds up equally well, with its dire melodies and moody motifs. Extras include interviews with actors Jon Ceder and Paul Mantee, as well as a trivia track and the film’s original trailer. Overall, Day of the Animals receives a just and respectful presentation from Scorpion Releasing.
NOTE: Scorpion have also released Day of the Animals on Blu Ray.