HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 6589 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
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: