From Horror Western Movie To Horror Western Comic: Night Of The Grizzly (1966)

Nature can be scary as we have talked about here before on Rotten Ink with my updates on that subject like “Final Plague” and “Giant Spider Invasion” and with this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update we are going to take a look at something in that genre and yet a little different. The film and comic we are going to be taking a look at is Night Of The Grizzly, a hybrid of Western, Adventure with a dash of Horror movie that as back in the late 1960’s got the DELL movie adaptation treatment. So I know many of you readers right now are scratching your head and saying, “Night Of The Grizzly is not a Horror Movie,” and for the most part you are correct, but I and others do feel that it at least has Horror Movie elements that tie into Nature Runs Amok Horror films like Grizzly, Night Of The Lupus, Day Of The Animals, Frogs and The Birds to name a few. So let’s travel to the old frontier and watch out for ragging grizzly bears as we take a look at From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Night Of The Grizzly.*

*Note From Matt: It’s got Horror elements…sort of….just roll with it and have fun reading this update.

Satan The Grizzly Bear is this film’s main killing machine, and I think we should take a look at what makes him so dangerous and deadly. Satan is a massive brown furred grizzly bear who has a killer instinct and not only kills for food, but also kills for the fun of it. Satan loves to kill and almost seems to take joy in taking the lives of animals and humans alike. To kill, Satan has multiple tools of death like his razor sharp teeth and claws that he can use to shred and mangle flesh. Satan can also use his massive size and weight to his advantage, plus his size and look also helps strike fear in the hearts of his victims. Satan is also smart for an animal and can use his brains to trick and sneak up on his kill. Not to even mention that Satan is strong, fast and can take lots of damage from guns. Satan also is very vindictive, and once he has his prey’s scent, he goes after them and all they love until they are dead. But while Satan is one tough grizzly, he still is a living animal and can be hurt and killed by bullets, fire, massive falls and stabbing. His downfall comes with a ton of bullets from a rife and even being stabbed! So as you can see, Satan is one tough animal who might not be supernatural, he just is mean as all hell with a thirst for death.

Now that we have learned how the Grizzly named Satan deals with humans and fellow animals, I feel it’s time to take a look at the film he killed in! For this update I will be taking the films write up from our friends at IMDB, and after I will write about the film’s production as well as my thoughts about it. So if you are ready, let’s see what the night brings the grizzly.

The Night Of The Grizzly (1966)

“Marshal “Big Jim” Cole turns in his badge and heads to Wyoming with his family in order to settle on some land left him by a relative. He faces opposition from a neighbor who wants that land for his own sons, and from a grizzly bear, nicknamed “Satan”, who keeps killing Cole’s livestock.”

In the 1960’s both Westerns and Horror Movies were profitable at Drive-In Theaters, and moviegoers could not get enough. And Paramount Pictures decided to slyly blend the two with a film called The Night Of The Grizzly that was about a former lawman rancher who has issues with his property thanks to some troublesome folks who want his land and for good measure they also threw in a convict he arrested years back, and the icing on the cake and the true Horror element of the film is the giant grizzly bear that is tormenting the ranches by killing folks as well as livestock. The script was written by Warren Douglas, and Joseph Pevney was hired to direct, who was known for directing films like “The Strange Door” and “Man Of A Thousand Faces (1957)” not to mention that Leith Stevens was brought in to score the film. When it came to casting the film, the main role of Big Jim went to Clint Walker with Martha Hyer, Keenan Wynn and Candy Moore rounding out some of the cast. The film did pretty well for Paramount at the cinema and over all the film also did well with most critics and movie watchers. When released it was alongside other genre films like Manos The Hands Of Fate, War Of The Gargantuas, The Brides Of Fu Manchu, The Ghost And Mr. Chicken and Africa Blood & Guts to name a few. If you like animal attack films as well as westerns give Night Of The Grizzly a watch.

Night Of The Grizzly is a movie I can remember that used to play on cable network station TBS a lot when I was a young kid growing up,  and I can remember watching it once or twice as I had always been fascinated with Grizzly Bears as I find them both amazing and terrifying as they really are massive meat eating killing machines! But to be honest, I didn’t remember a thing about it besides it was a bear attack film. So when gearing up for this review, I ordered a DVD of it from Amazon and on a cold night in October I gave it a watch…and man this is a fun film for those who enjoy westerns with some comedy elements as well as a dash of horror when Satan the grizzly is on screen. I can say it’s a pretty fun film if you like the 60’s style western films. I think what works the best for this film is just how good Clint Walker is as Big Jim and just how strangely powerful the Grizzly is. Plus as a person who thinks big old Grizzly Bears are scary, this movie does a great job of showing just how massive and blood thirsty they can be. Over all it’s a good little film that I can remember watching as a kid and enjoying more as an adult.

So as you can see, Satan is one mean killing machine grizzly bear who also seems to have some sort of supernatural healing power! We also know that the film only has a tiny, small amount of Horror…but that tiny amount is truly Satan! But let’s get past the question whether this has Horror elements or if it just a normal western adventure and take a look at the Dell Comic Adaptation. I want to remind you all that I grade this comic on a scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to also thank Ebay for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. So with that let’s head to the ranch and try not to be eaten alive by Satan.

The Night Of The Grizzly # 612  ***
Released in 1966   Cover Price .12   DELL     #612 of ???

Big Jim Cole is a retired sheriff whose grandfather left him a ranch in his will, so along with his wife, daughter, niece and family friend Sam, they want to start a new life of being ranchers so Jim can leave the dangerous life of the law behind. Once at the ranch they settle in and start to clean up the old house and get animals ready for stock, but late one night, Jim’s bull is killed by Satan a grizzly bear that has tormented the countryside. Jim even shots Satan who shrugs off the wound and flees into the woods. The next day Jim trades in some of his former law goods to get a loan, but this would be his last loan as Jed Curry, the ranch’s former owner is rich and owns the largest part of the banks and wants his land back from the Coles. Jim and old Sam head to the woods to hunt Satan who sneaks up on them, and Jim is able to fire a few shots into the beast before the men have to run for their lives. Months pass, and the Coles are doing very well and the town seems to have really warmed up to them, and even better, no one has seen Satan for awhile, that is until the Cole Family gets home and all their livestock and chickens have been killed by the murderous bear. The next day, Jim Cole has to get a loan to buy new animals and has to make a deal with Jed Curry who makes him place his land as collateral, and Curry also puts a large bounty on the head of Satan as the bear killed many farmers’ animals that night. Jim and Sam take the bounty, but so does Cass Dowdy, a man that Jim put in jail for two years and has a chip on his shoulder, and Jeb offers Cass a thousand dollars if he can kill Satan before Jim does. Once home Jim and Sam set traps for Satan and head out to kill the beast, but once more the grizzly gets the jump on them and attacks and leaves Sam dead. And after the funeral, Jim is even more set to kill the bear as his wife is pushing for them to just sell the farm and leave the farm as she is worried Cass or Satan is going to kill her husband. The next day Jim sets out and finds all his traps have been messed with and gets into a fight with Cass, and this fight sparks a huge fight with his wife who threatens to leave…his son overhears the fight and that night sneaks out to kill Satan and he does not return by the next day. Jim sets out to find his son and once more runs into Cass, and the pair are mad but work together to save Jim’s Son and in the end Cass dies protecting the young kid. Jim kills Satan and gets the reward and saves the farm.

This adaptation does a pretty good job of bringing the film alive on comic pages, and while it cuts massive parts of the film as well as characters out, this helps the comic’s pacing. To be honest, the comic cuts all the comedy and goofy moments out, and this comic really does play more like a Nature Runs Amok Horror Movie like Grizzly. The plot follows a former lawman and his family who want to settle down and become farmers but they have so many issues as they must face a killing machine grizzly bear, a greedy rich land owner and even a bounty hunter from their past. Our hero is Big Jim Cole, a man who loves his family and wants to leave the dangerous world of being a lawman to become a farmer and family man, but because of his past he also will not back down when faced with bad odds! He is a tough man who truly is a hero that will remind you of all the classic western heroes you seen in movies and on TV. The Cole family as well are just good people as is Sam, who is an old man who would do anything for them. Jed Curry is a scumbag who throws his power and money around as he thinks these things will get him what ever he wants…he really is a bad person. Cass Curry is a former convict turned bounty hunter who has a grudge with Jim Cole who was the man who put him away, but while a tough guy, he still has a heart as he sacrifices his own life to save a young boys. Satan, the grizzly bear, is pure evil as he kills just to kill and seems to also keep grudges against those who have tried to stop him from his murdering ways. The comic has no blood and guts but does have two kills of humans and the deaths of some farm animals. The cover is great and has a Horror look to it, and the interior art is done by an un-credited artist and is pretty solid classic Dell comic art. Over all this is a great read and worth the pick for fans of Dell movie adaptation. Check out the artwork below.

So as you can see, Night Of The Grizzly is a weird hybrid of multiple genres and delivered one entertaining comic book. Again, this one is up for debate on whether it’s a horror movie or not, and over all I am not sure myself as I do feel it has elements but they are very slim and are mostly just when the killer bear is on the screen. But I will leave it up to you, my readers, to make up your own mind. For the next update we are leaving the Cole Ranch and will be traveling the greater Dayton area in search of the best fried chicken in the land. So until next time, readers and friends read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a deep fried good time.fried-chicken-1000x498

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