I saw Orca for the first time a few years back and enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s definitely a flawed film, though. My thought throughout was, why can’t Richard Harris just move inland and get a regular 9-5 job? A killer whale is pretty limited in where it can strike at humans. I think we’re holding this movie to the wrong standard, however, if we complain that it’s unrealistic, as when you gripe that it “pushes the whale’s vengeance plot way past any point of believability, to the point of absurdity.” Orca, like a lot of movies about scorned nature, follow the basic template of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, with an initial transgression against an animal meeting with revenge from Mother Nature. I don’t know that Orca ought to be interpreted literally so much as figuratively. It’s very much in keeping with the eco-conscious horror movies of its time, like Frogs et al.
So I hadn’t seen Orca (1977) since it was on HBO sometime in the early to mid 80s. Even then I didn’t recall much of the plot (besides the obvious.) The only scene I really remembered is when the main character is trapped on the floating iceberg at the end, and the whale tilts it, sending the man sliding down it to his inevitable death.
I decided to revisit the film given that it was produced by Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis (who also produced Death Wish) and directed by Michael Anderson, who had just previously directed one of my favorite films, Logan’s Run. Anderson would also later direct the eeirly watchable TV miniseries adaptation of The Martian Chronicles in 1980, which I also enjoyed. Given this, I went into watching Orca probably with higher expectations than most people would when they sit down to view a 70’s horror movie…
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