director Franco Prosperi
Zoo animals on PCP. Concept alone is awesome.
Coming from Franco Prosperi, director of Mondo Cane (1962) and the infamous Africa addio (1966) and Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971), it probably shouldn’t surprise you that Wild Beasts contains something outre, transgressive, and/or repugnant.
While it’s kind of impressive the number and variety of wild animals that make appearances here, it’s probably really frightening to think of the conditions in which this film was shot. Prosperi gets elephants, a polar bear, a cheetah, lions, tigers, a hyena all running around Frankfurt terrorizing and killing humans while crazed by PCP-laced water. He includes scenes of the hyena and tigers mauling (and presumably killing) pigs and cows. Not exactly nature documentary material.
Most disturbingly, the rats. Rats attack a cat with dubious concern for the cat and then the rats are set on fire with zero concern for the rats. The line from the film even says that fire is the only way to take care of them.
It’s kind of a Mondo movie squeezed into a horror thriller, with the shock value of the real animals and real animal endangerment and torture. When you’re looking for “out there” cinema, you’ve got your stuff right here. If you have an ounce of empathy, you’re not going to be entirely comfortable with it though.