Day of the Animals (1977)

day of the animals poster 1977 movie
1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 1/10

So-bad-it-is-good, Leslie Nielsen

Pretty much everything

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Day of the Animals

Studio:  Film Ventures International

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  May 13, 1977

MPAA Rating:  PG

day of the animals rat attack walter barnes

It seems like there are better ways to kill rats…

Steve Buckner (Christopher George) leads a hike down from a mountain despite recent reports of strange animal attacks. Reports of high levels of ultraviolet light striking the Earth due to a weakening ozone layer have driven the animals and some humans mad. When night falls and the animals begin to mass against them, they realize they must get off the mountain before it is too late. If the animals don’t kill them, a threat from within the group by Paul Jenson (Leslie Nielsen) could be their undoing.

Directed by William Girdler, Day of the Animals is a nature attacks B-horror movie.  It was initially released in 1977 to little fanfare but was released in 1978 as Something Is Out There.  The film was critically panned, but it has gained a cult following over the years.

You have to love cheesy ’70s disaster films.  They had some decent intentions (save the world), but they took this message over the top and tried to am-up the horror…which as seen in this movie is not always successful.  Despite being an awful movie, Day of the Animals is fun, watchable shlock.

day of the animals bird attack susan backlinie

Oh no!!! Someone glued birds to me!!!

After The Birds (and then the immense success of Jaws), “killer animals” was a big thing, and this film has the style of other contemporary films like The Food of the Gods, The Swarm, and Frogs.  The whole attacking animals is pretty weak however since most of the animals are just shown in distant shots and forced perspective shots (until they just have everyone attacked by dogs).  With all the great killer animals in the wild, you really expect more than a rat attack on a guy.

The movie does have a fun ’70s look with soft focuses, scratchy prints, and over exposed film.  This also comes with some bad effects.  The scene in which Susan Backlinie’s meets her death at the hands (or talons) of birds of prey, has her “falling” with it appears like the birds just attached to her.  The whole scene is against a chroma-key background.  It is quite awful (and a side note, Susan Backlinie is the also the woman killed at the beginning of Jaws).

day of the animals leslie nielsen shirtless

I’m not afraid to punch a kid…or a bear!!!

The best thing in Day of the Animals has to be Leslie Nielsen.  This of course is his pre-comedy days, but just as funny as his actual comedies (especially the not-so-good late ones).  Nielsen is a jerk through the whole thing…verbally attacking everyone.  When the groups “split up”, he takes control of the one group…then runs around like a mad-man with a shirt off, plotting to rape the women in his group.  He ends up fighting a bear…yep, Leslie Nielsen versus a bear.

The reason for the animal attack is a bit vague and undefined but bottom line is humans are destroying the world and the world is fighting back.  The creators of the film took the ozone study (a recent discovery at the time of the movie’s making) and ran with it…it is nothing new, but everything combined with the over-the-top Leslie Nielsen makes the movie watchable, laughable, and so-bad-it-is-good.  Spend a day watching horrible killer animal movies and make sure this one is at the top.  It is a great bad movie.

Related Links:

Frogs (1972)

Tarantulas:  The Deadly Cargo (1977)

The Food of the Gods (1976)

The Birds (1963)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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