“They’re not pets anymore”
Up there with my favorite bits of 70s copy. I must say that I am an unabashed fan of the ‘animals attack’ genre in general. I make no bones about it (pun intended). In this particular tale of nature gone awry, we find Joe Don Baker, a marine biologist studying shrimp (what?), setting up his family on Seal Island. He’s started building the house himself and everything. Joe Don is joined on the island by a group of tourists, the last of the summer season, there for some sport fishing. But when JDB’s trusty German Shepherd runs afoul of a feral mutt and a half-eaten horse carcass is discovered, we get a sense that things are gonna get ugly. And they do. A pack of hungry wild dogs (left behind by tourists over the years) decide to lay siege to our hero and the other folks. Will they all survive there whilst stranded and waiting for the ferry? Seems doubtful. Good times though. The dog attacks make it worthwhile for sure (no CG here folks!).
Warner Brothers released this film in late 1977 in what would seem to be part of a giant wave of movies trying to cash in on the success of JAWS two years earlier. Moviegoers who also enjoyed GRIZZLY, DAY OF THE ANIMALS, TENTACLES, and other such agreeably diverting animal fluff may have rushed out to see this at the time. While the film smacks of being pretty cheaply made, the canines are certainly convincing enough and how can you go wrong with Joe Don in your lead? Backing him up are veteran cult actors R.G. Armstrong and Richard B. Schull (I am a big fan of his) and many less recognizable folks (outside of Mr. Paul Wilson). I am personally kind of obsessed with films released in 1977. In my mind I always picture a couple or a family looking through the newspaper, trying to decide what film to check out. “Honey, should we go and see that STAR WARS movie again or this thriller with dogs and Joe Don Baker?”
THE PACK was directed by one Robert Clouse (he also wrote the script, based on the novel by David Fisher). Clouse is perhaps best known for his work in the martial arts genre with such classics as ENTER THE DRAGON and the hugely entertaining BLACK BELT JONES (see also – GYMKATA). Beyond that, he directed Rod Taylor in the excellent and vastly underseen detective yarn DARKER THAN AMBER. What many folks forget is that he is also responsible for not one but TWO of the better animal attacks flicks ever (just my opinion). Between THE PACK and his giant-rats-one-the-loose opus DEADLY EYES(which I adore), he’s my frickin’ hero. Do these films hold up when compared to something like JAWS? Not really, but man they are a lot of fun if you’re into this stuff.
I must confess that I was very excited to finally get this piece of cinematic wonder on dvd. I still have my VHS copy, but don’t mind parting with it. Warner Archives has come out with a pretty nice looking transfer here. Colors look good and it’s 16X9 (as are most of their discs) which is great. I have been a collector of Warner Archives titles since they first started the service. I am constantly amused and often overjoyed to see all the wonderful under-appreciated titles they continue to put out each week. My hope is that THE PACK will find some new love with this release. If you’re a fan of these kinds of films, I have to recommend picking it up ASAP. The disc is bare bones (no trailer either), but it’s a solid enough entry in the genre that it is worth getting. Now we just need DEADLY EYES to be released (mostly likely MOD) so everyone can enjoy an excellent Robert Clouse animals attack double!
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
Dolby Digital Enhanced Mono
Check out the trailer here if you think you might dig it:
Buy it at Warner Archive here:
VERDICT: Pick this Up!
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