Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lions in the Lanes

The animals are loose on the streets.  Or they were in Tbilisi, at least.  It's not everyday that you see footage of hippos and bears loose on the streets outside of Italian shockumentaries.  I must admit that with all the stories of the authorities shooting various escaped animals in order to 'protect' the public, I was somewhat surprised that hordes of Italian documentary makers didn't rush to Georgia as, if classic Mondo movies are anything to go by, there's nothing they like better than footage of animals being killed or subjected to human cruelty.  I know that the Georgian authorities are claiming that these bizarre scenes were all the result of flooding which resulted in the animals escaping from the capital's zoo, I have a sneaking feeling that Tbilisi is always like that.  Not that I'm stereotyping former Soviet republics, of course, but the idea of wild animals wandering the streets of their cities doesn't seem that unusual. 

If nothing else, it seems like the ideal scenario for a low budget action film. After all, if you can have Snakes on a Plane, why not Lions in the Lanes?  It could be a starring vehicle for some washed up TV star - David Hasselhoff springs to mind.  He did do Anaconda 3, after all.  He'd be perfect casting as the white hunter called in to clean up the streets of Tbilisi after a mass wild animal escape from the zoo.  If you could work in an alien angle - perhaps they were behind the escape when they tried to abduct earth fauna for their experiments, even better, they could have enhanced the intelligence of the animals, or something - it would be perfect as one of those crappy SyFy Channel movies.  Zoos and their animal inmates have been surprisingly neglected by the world of exploitation films, which have always seemed to have favoured the more garish attractions of the circus, instead.  There was Murders at the Zoo back in the thirties, with a mad zoo owner using his exhibits to get rid of his adulterous wife and her lover, amongst others. It was gleefully nasty by the standards of its time.  The only other zoo-based horror I can think of is an early sixties variation from Herman Cohen called Black Zoo, with the legendary Michael Gough as a crazy zoo owner who runs some sort of animal worship cult and, wouldn't you know it, uses his exhibits to get rid of his enemies.  Unfortunately, outside of a couple of trailer and a few excerpts, I've not yet managed to track this one down, as it looks to be certifiably insane.  Although I'm sure that it could have been improved by the addition of David Hasselhoff, possibly wrestling a bear on a roof top...



Blogger gavcrimson said...

Probably the closest I’ve seen to a film that mirrors the Tbilisi situation is 1980s Italian shocker “Wild Beasts”, in which Zoo animals go on the rampage after their water supply gets laced with PCP. The director was ex-mondo caner Franco Prosperi, so its in keeping with the mondo tradition of recklessly endangering the lives of its actors and animals. The trailer for it is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlQsadgV3UI

7:44 am  

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