HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Orca: the Killer Whale lone whale on a vengeance trail
Year: 1977
Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson, Bo Derek, Keenan Wynn, Robert Carradine
Genre: Horror, Weirdo, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 4 votes)
Review: The late seventies saw Italian movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis launch three “nature gone amok” monster movies in a bid to take a bigger bite out of the global box office and top Jaws (1975). First came his infamous remake of King Kong (1976) (“When monkey die, people cry!”), then the “Herman Melville goes west” mysticism of The White Buffalo (1977). Finally, De Laurentiis went out to sea for Orca the Killer Whale. As if laying down the gauntlet, the film opens with a floundering sailor set to be gobbled by a Great White, until the friendly killer whale rips the man-eater in two. You can almost hear De Laurentiis crow: “Sharks? Ha! They’ve got nothing on our guy!”

Orca’s intervention is witnessed by Captain Nolan (Richard Harris), a shark hunter out to land a bigger catch by bagging these beasties. His idea appals marine biologist Rachel Bedford (Charlotte Rampling), first seen lecturing on these amazing animals. She tells her class, Orca Orcinus - “the bringer of death” according to ancient Romans - is “the most powerful animal on the globe”. Its brain has more capacity than man’s and a recording of its voice was found to contain 15 million pieces of information. “The Bible contains only four million”, she concludes. Rampling is normally a wonderful actress, but seeing her deliver that clanger with stone-faced solemnity is flat-out hilarious.

Rachel tries to talk Nolan out of pursuing the orca and even sleeps with the lonely widower, just so he’ll reconsider. Of course, the next morning he heads out to sea. Nolan harpoons Orca’s mate, hauls her aboard and promptly loses his lunch when the dying whale ejects a stillborn foetus on deck. Orca rears his head above water to emit an anguished roar. Thereafter it’s Death Wish (1974) with an aquatic mammal (You thought I was going to say fish, didn’t you?), as Orca wreaks bloody vengeance on Nolan’s crew and the local fishing community. Nolan’s nautical pal, Novak (Keenan Wynn) is swallowed whole. The whale rams holes in all the fishing boats, sets off a series of spectacular explosions (somehow) and, most spectacularly, hauls half a house into the murky deep. After shipmate Annie (Bo Derek) has her leg chomped off, Nolan returns to sea with Rachel and Native American mystic, Umilak (Will Sampson of course) in tow, for a Spaghetti Western showdown with Orca, amidst back-and-forth close-ups of staring eyeballs and an operatic Ennio Morricone score.

Although directed by Englishman, Michael Anderson (whose eclectic filmography includes The Dam Busters and Logan’s Run (1976)), Orca the Killer Whale is Italian exploitation all the way; the first - and best - in a line of Jaws rip-offs that include Enzo G. Castellari’s The Shark Hunter (1979) and L’Ultimo Squalo (1980), Lamberto Bava’s Shark - “Rosso nell’Oceano (1984), and Bruno Mattei’s Cruel Jaws (1995), among many others. The film is outrageously silly at times, but three elements lift it out of the ordinary: the doom-laden romanticism of Ennio Morricone’s lovely score (featuring his favourite diva: Edda dell’Orso); the strange, often beautiful imagery, with evocative underwater photography and a seamless blend of whale footage with Carlo Rambaldi’s special effects; and a deadly serious, intelligent performance from Richard Harris. Not so much evil as misguided, Nolan proves a genuinely tragic anti-hero. Having lost his wife to a drunk driver, he is all to aware of the sin he has committed and reluctant to face Orca. Their mythic showdown amidst the icy wastes of the North Pole provides a fittingly haunting conclusion, but if it all proves too ridiculous, amuse yourself by imagining Charles Bronson providing a voice for Orca.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 8398 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: