Drafthouse Films releasing the bizarre lion-filled cult movie Roar


Drafthouse Films is releasing a cult oddity called Roar from 1981, a reckless and little seen box office bomb. And my, does it look glorious. The film’s working title was supposedly Lions, Lions, and More Lions, and it delivers.

Tippi Hedren (from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds) and her then-husband Noel Marshall spent years covertly adopting lions, tigers, and other big cats, amassing more than 100 of these wild animals at their home in Beverly Glen throughout the 1970s. The animals slept in and around their home, which was chronicled in a Life Magazine shoot (some photos of which can be seen in this Mashable piece).

Roar essentially looks like a dangerous, expensive, irresponsible, and compellingly idiotic home movie of the mayhem that occurs when naive rich people get a bunch of wild animals together in a remote Los Angeles-area mansion. The movie apparently features a young Melanie Griffith getting mauled by a lion or tiger (she needed 50 to 100 facial stitches and reconstructive surgery); cinematographer Jan de Bont (future director of Speed) needed 220 stitches to have his scalp reattached after being attacked by a lion. There were more than 70 documented animal attacks, and also fires, floods, and animal illnesses that plagued the production. The Wikipedia entry on Roar is definitely worth a read.

Look for Roar in select theaters around springtime, with a DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD release later in the year.

First Miami Connection, now this.

Thanks, Drafthouse!

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.