"When Animals Attack" Triple Feature (feat. rare 35mm screening of "Willard", plus "Wild Beasts" & "Shakma"!)

Willard (rare 35mm print!) – 8:00pm
A pioneering animal disaster tale, Willard stands head-and-paws amongst the vast litter of early ‘70s critter flicks. Bruce Davison stars as an emotionally stunted, introverted almost-thirtysomething worn down from a humiliating relationship with his boss (Ernest Borgnine, in fine blustery sleazeball mode). Befriending a pair of intelligent rats, Willard soon bonds with the critters and their thousands of compatriots, without realizing he’s unleashing an army of terror he can’t rule. Anchored by Davison’s affecting portrayal of a nerd on the edge, as well as deftly choosing atmosphere and escalating tension over full-on genre assault, Willard at times plays more like a gonzo story of empowerment, a darkly tinged entry into the enduring triumphant catalogue of cinematic underdog stories. But, thanks to some genuinely shocking moments and a freaky denoument, Willard has no problem letting its horrific freak flag fly.
Dir. Daniel Mann, 1971, 35mm, 95 min.

Wild Beasts – 10:00pm
The premise couldn’t be simpler: the water supply for a large city zoo becomes contaminated with PCP, and the animals get loose — all becoming unstoppable killing machines. What a grand ol’ time! This gory Italian animal rampage movie, shot on gritty urban locations in Germany, gleefully continues to up the insanity factor act by act, until action items like “commercial airliner crashing into murderous elephant” become the everyday reality. Plus, the whole shebang is directed by Franco Prosperi (also known as one half of the classic filmmaking duo that birthed Mondo Cane and Goodbye Uncle Tom), so you know that you’re in for one hell of an unpredictable ride!
Dir. Franco Prosperi, 1984, digital presentation, 92 min.

Shakma – 11:45pm
Remember hearing a few years ago about the California man whose pet chimp went ape, ripping off the guy’s face and testicles? Did it make you flinch, covering your own parts in sympathy? Get ready to flinch once again, for Shakma will swipe at your jewels in a bloodthirsty mania. Christopher Atkins (the deeply tanned star of The Blue Lagoon) and his friends hang out after-hours in their med school building, playing (what else?) a D&D-like role playing game run by game master Roddy McDowell (or as he pronounces it, “Gay Master”,) and proceed to have their throats ripped out by an angered, psychotic lab test baboon who hunts them down one by one, Alien-style. The real stars of this film are the production’s animal handlers, who managed to not get themselves or the filmmakers killed as their baboon actor forcefully hurled itself at doors, windows its co-stars or anything else in its path, screaming bloody murder all the while in a truly terrifying electric rage.
Dirs. Tom Logan & Hugh Parks, 1990, 35mm, 101 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s trailer for our “When Animals Attack” triple feature!