Roar: The Most Stressful Viewing Experience Ever
Roar might be the most insane movie ever made. While watching I kept saying “this is the craziest f**king thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” and then something crazier happened. My jaw was agape the entire time and I had to rewind a lot of the parts because they felt surreal. I first heard about Roar when Drafthouse Films rereleased it last year. I love the films Alamo distributes (Cheap Thrills, Spring, Why Don’t You Play in Hell, A Field in England) so I knew I had to hunt it down. I was lucky enough to find it on Turner Classic Movies and I think every cinephile needs to see it. You will never see something so unique, dangerous and truly bonkers.
Roar took 11 years to film and 70 crew members were injured in the process. It was originally supposed to be about the preservation of African wildlife but it soon took on a life of its own. The movie rambles along at lightning speed and basically focuses on a family having a terrible time in Africa. Shooting with the lions was crazy and people suffered lacerations, bone fractures, scalping and gangrene. It is considered to the most dangerous movie ever made and producer/writer/director Noel Marshall was lucky that he was able to cast his two sons John and Jerry, his wife Tippi Hedren (The Birds) and her daughter Melanie Griffith. In an interview with the New York Post John Marshall had this to say about his dad:
“Dad was a f–king a–hole to do that to his family,”
Poor Melanie Griffith.
I was surprised to learn that seasoned director Jan de Bont (Speed, Twister, The Haunting) was the cinematographer and he was scalped by a lion during the production. That is insane! It didn’t matter how familiar everyone was with the lions because they could never predict where or when a massive claw would rip them up. John Marshall worked with the lions for years and was almost killed when he accidentally tripped during a scene and a lion bit his head.
“I looked up and there was blood on his teeth. It took six guys to pull him off me and I got 56 stitches. I had to work with that lion on and off for five years because we kept running out of money.”
When you watch as many movies as I do you learn to appreciate films that are different. Roar is so unique because it is dangerous, passionate and more dangerous. I loved every second of it and I think it is a must watch for people who love bonkers cinema. I applaud Alamo for bringing it back and I hope it picks up a massive audience.
Watch Roar. Love Roar. Embrace the crazy.