So, why is this film controversial?
Roar is a 1981 American adventure exploitation film written and directed by Noel Marshall, produced by and starring Marshall and his then wife Tippi Hedren, and co-starring Hedren's real-life daughter Melanie Griffith and Marshall's real-life sons John and Jerry. The film follows a family who are attacked by a range of ravening jungle animals at the secluded home of their keeper.
Roar became notorious for its troubled 11-year production, which resulted in 70 members of its cast and crew being injured by the many predatory animals used in the film, including its main stars sustaining life-threatening injuries ranging from bone fractures to scalpings and gangrene. Much of the footage capturing the injuries was included in the final cut of the film, resulting in real blood on screen. It has been considered the most dangerous film shoot in history.
The film was released theatrically in Europe in 1981, but was a financial failure. It was released theatrically in the United States for the first time on April 17, 2015. Hedren co-wrote the 1985 book Cats of Shambala about her experience of filming Roar.
Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film. Cinematographer Jan de Bont had his scalp lifted by a lion, resulting in 220 stitches. Tippi Hedren received a fractured leg and also had scalp wounds. This occurred after an elephant bucked her off its back while she was riding it. She was also bitten in the neck by a lion and required 38 stitches. This incident can also be seen in the film.
Melanie Griffith was also mauled during the production, receiving 50 stitches to her face; it was feared she would lose an eye, but she recovered and was not disfigured. Noel Marshall was attacked so many times that he eventually was diagnosed with gangrene. In one of those incidents, he was clawed by a cheetah when protecting the animals during a bushfire that occurred in 1979. All animals were evacuated though it took several years for him to recover from his injuries. Due to the injuries, turnover was high as many did not want to return to the set. Some of the lions also suffered from illnesses that reduced their population.
John Marshall was bitten by one of the lions and required 56 stitches. In a 2015 interview, he commented on the film's notorious tagline that 70 people were injured during the making of the film, saying:
Tippi [Hedren] disputes the number. I believe that number is inaccurate – I believe it’s over 100. It’s somewhere between 70 and 100. It is the most dangerous film ever made in history. Nowadays, there’s so much regulation, if you’re working on a film and two people get injured, they come in and they shut you down. They have safety meetings and they say, ‘What are we gonna do to change this situation?’ If they did that to us after two bites, we would have said, ‘I don’t know what else we can do differently. Should we do it with dogs? I don’t know!’ If we wanna make a movie with lions, people are gonna get bitten. We just hope that nobody dies and we’ll do everything we can to makes sure that doesn’t happen.
Marshall's brother Jerry was bitten in the foot while wearing tennis shoes on set. He later jokingly said the lion had a "tennis shoe fetish." Assistant Director Doron Kauper had his throat bitten open, his jaw was bitten, and one of the lions attempted to rip an ear off. He was also injured in the head, chest, and thigh. Although it has been reported that the attack nearly proved fatal, a July 9, 1978 edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel printed a quote from a nurse describing his injuries as acute, meaning simply that they were sudden and traumatic. He was also reported as being conscious and in a fair condition.
Upon its initial release. Variety said of the film: "Here is a passionate plea for the preservation of African wildlife meshed with an adventure-horror tale which aims to be a kind of Jaws of the jungle. If it seems at times more like Born Free gone berserk, such are the risks of planting the cast in the bush (actually the Marshalls’ ranch in Soledad Canyon in California), surrounded by 150 untrained lions, leopards, tigers, cheetahs and other big cats, not to mention several large and ill-tempered elephants." During the film's 2015 release, Amy Nicholson of L.A. Weekly called the film a "thrilling bore, an inanity with actual peril in every scene. The story is simply "Big cats destroy a house," since that could be guaranteed."
I don't even know where to begin with the sheer stupidity of these people. Bragging about the amount of people injured making the film? Endangering their children to make a movie? Using "Well, they're lions and lions maul people and there's nothing we can do about that so we'll just hope no one dies while filming" as an excuse?
It's because of idiots like these that big exotics like large felines, bears, and hyenas are banned now even to responsible people. -___-