Smarter Than the Average Bear

“The grizzly’s belly was full,” wrote Edwin Corley at the beginning of this movie novelization. “Dimly the beast was aware that he had stumbled upon a rich source of food that seemed inexhaustible.”

Until this moment, the hikers and campers of National Park had been a vague threat, to be avoided and hidden from. But now the giant bear had tasted their prime red meat, and he lost all fear of their strange acrid scent and noisy ways. “His thoughts obsessed about the juicy, easy food he had discovered, and his crafty mind began to form a plan of action.”

After the graphic slaughter of two comely female campers, the park rangers know everyone was in imminent danger. “We’ve got ourselves a rogue bear, a berserker bruin,” they all agreed. “That bear has tasted human blood. “From now on, he’ll be a killer. Until we kill him first.”

Normal grizzly bears were seven, maybe eight feet tall. But this one was easily 20 feet high and over three thousand pounds. Standing erect on his hind legs, he was able to snatch a helicopter from the sky. Truly, he was not unlike some kind of prehistoric monster.

And according to a local expert, that’s exactly what he was. “At one time there were grizzlies that large,” explained naturalist Arthur Scott. “The books call them Arctodus-Ursus Horribulus. They were one of the mightiest carnivores during the Pleistocene Era.”

But everyone wondered how a beast from a million years ago could still be alive? Was he trapped in ice like Captain America or what? “He was probably born of normal grizzly parents with hearty ancestral genes,” speculated Scott. “If so, he’s a genuine throwback to the Quaternary Period. He’d be an outsider to even his own pack.”

Still, no matter how fearsome bears were, they weren’t usually man-eaters. They mainly subsisted on fish, berries and pic-a-nic baskets. And like Winnie the Pooh and Baloo, they loved bees and honey too. Just like every other super villain in history, this psycho grizzly had an origin story that turned him into a raging man-killer.

As you’d expect from a novelization of a 70s exploitation flick, the action in Grizzly is waaaay over the top and spiced with Burt Reynolds-like bravado and curvy ladies. In fact, it’s laughable how much inconsequential chit-chat there is about big boobs in this book. Watching the movie, the actresses weren’t particularly zaftig. Their endowments came directly from the author’s overworked imagination.

For 180 pages, the bear roamed his domain without fear of consequence. Even though he was a gigantic prehistoric throwback, he was able to stay ahead of armed National Guardsmen at every turn. “That damn bear is smarter than you and me and everyone else put together,” admitted a weary park ranger.

[Grizzly / By Edwin Corley writing as Will Collins / First Printing: April 1976 / ISBN: 9780515041798]