B-Movies, Leslie Nielsen and Bears, oh my!

B-Movies, Leslie Nielsen and Bears, oh my!
(aka an exploration into insanity)
You've been warned...

There are plenty of weird movie clips that we all see shared across the web. You know the ones. Those clips so out of context, so bizarre and head scratching they couldn't possibly be legit?

So on this lovely summer day, I wanted to share with you something so timely, so lined up with hipster pop culture that I have dug out from TheArchive none other than Leslie Nielsen and wait for it...animals on attack! I mean who needs funny man Sandler and his latest Netflix yawner or the lunatic in Tiger King when I'm delivering you the real uncut gems!

IMHO (yes throwback Thursday acronyms may abound), there is one clip that defies so much logic that it actually becomes more baffling, as more context is gleaned. One where a shirtless Leslie Nielsen, you know, that perpetually white haired real funny guy, best known for his roles in Airplane! and Naked Gun, fights a bear! Also it's not supposed to be funny... so I urge you to...

Unfollow PETA and abandon all hope ye who enter here...

The clip in question comes from the B-Movie Cult Classic Day of the Animals (1977). The premise of the movie involves cosmic radiation causing animals to start attacking and killing people (bring it on 2020, we know you're planning to do this as a Covid complement).

Come on. At this point in our world, this is not something as dubious as perhaps the 1970s thought it was! But then again, this movie was made shortly after the phenomenon of Jaws (1975); animals on the attack was a big genre for movies at the time. This isn't even the only killer animal movie we TheArchive boasts! Hell, we even have one about killer cockroaches from this century! It was a huge genre for a while, but I digress

Watch this one with a couple cans of Raid

As this nail biter progresses, a group of hikers, which includes Nielsen, quickly becomes the target of the attacking animals. The usually affable Nielsen is the only one of the group to become impacted by the cosmic radiation, according to the wordsmith writer of no repute... because of "reasons." Well screenwriting kudos were likely not on his bucket list.

"Who cares if it doesn't make sense?" - The Writer

The problem is, even before the inconvenient truth of radiation, he's already a major prick. The radiation just makes him slightly prickier. Soon though, something snaps and he gets really mad, or as mad as a super bored Leslie Nielsen can muster the energy to portray....

Out of nowhere he decides to take his shirt off as a rainstorm strikes their campsite. He starts screaming to God about how he's been wronged all his life.

"You've made a jackass out of me for years!" Don't worry, Airplane! is just around the bend

Hopefully life imitated art because I can imagine a pissed off Nielsen bursting out of his trailer on set screaming directly to the sky, "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not gonna say these shitty lines anymore!" Clearly God did not respond and instead had him finish this movie...

It continues. Nielsen's character then goes on a rant about how he killed a bear, so he is now justified in violently overcoming a woman who is with him. Nielsen went from malcontent cursing his Denny's Grand Slam all the way to a hundred; in a New York Minute! That's Cosmic radiation for you though!

Luckily, before he can pounce on this woman who looks even more terrified by Nielsen's performance than the screenplay, the bear shows up for a rematch. What gives Nielsen? You've been going on and on about this bear and you didn't actually kill it? You're Canadian! Isn't killing a bear a rite of passage in the great white north? Well, now high on that sweet, sweet cosmic radiation, he decides to fight the bear hand to...err...paw.

Cue the slow jam: Play this at 50% speed, turn on "Love Hurts", pop the bubbly and see a tender, loving, interspecies couple connect.

Spoiler Alert: A fight between a giant bear and a middle aged Leslie Nielsen goes as well as you'd expect, but you'll have to see it to believe it.

Is the day saved? Does the storm dissipate? Does the bear go on to become a Park Ranger and fight forest fires? Or does it steal "pic-a-nic baskets....?"

The real answer is that it gets blown to Kingdom Come by a rocket launcher.

"Hasta la Vista, Yogi"

Wait was that from this movie or Grizzly? Either way you just saw a bear get blown up so it's been a good day!

So what have we learned? Here comes the listicle.
  1. A bear does in fact shit in the woods.
  2. Even when trying to be serious, Leslie Nielsen is still funny. RIP Buddy.
  3. The force was not with the poor sap who decided to invest in Day of the Animals over Star Wars (Both came out in 1977 less than two weeks apart.)
  4. If you're going to pick a fight with a bear, don't do it. They're giant and have claws.
  5. Nielsen had tasty residuals from The Poseidon Adventure, but not enough to impress the bear (although the killer Poseidon Score by John Williams may have stopped the bear in its tracks).
  6. Mr. Nielsen, found his funny and was far more entertaining speaking jive.
  7. Nielsen made famous the line "there's nothing to see here." Although he did hang with O.J. and never did arrest him, so he should've at least seen that!
  8. 1970s movies saw lots of animals getting blown to bits.
Final note to our audience always seeking the rare, retro and restored... all this snark might have intrigued you, and if so, check out the aforementioned Star Wars. We hear it spins a good yarn, blows all kinds of stuff to bits, and has no bears!

TheArchive channel is dedicated to aficionados and lovers of story, craft, and silver screen fun – streaming rare, retro, and restored films and classic TV. From indies and series, to Oscar winning documentaries, unearthed MOWs, and a killer horror library, TheArchive delivers forgotten, never-before-seen gems for free and many in 4K. MarilynKarloff, and Orson Welles stream alongside ReeseKeanu, and Samuel L. Jackson. Find true stories of QueenHendrix, and Sinatra, an LGBTQ library, MLK bios, and world history docs. TheArchive has the movies and shows you either saw, should’ve seen, or should be watching now!