Maneaters Are Loose! (1978) – By Duane L. Martin

 You gotta love the 70’s. TV movies full of stars and future stars were running rampant on television, and Maneaters Are Loose! is yet another lost entry in that category of films. Leave it to Wild Eye Distribution to find it for us and get it out there so we can re-live that 70’s television feel all over again.

Maneaters Are Loose! is about an old, drunken circus trainer who’s no longer with the circus and has a mated pair of tigers that he can no longer feed. Rather than see them starve to death, he releases them in the mountains near a small town. Unfortunately, it’s near a campground, and the tigers start killing random people as well as farm animals for food. It’s up to a local sheriff to stand up to his superior who refuses to accept the truth, and a mysterious, ex-government sniper to track down the tigers and stop them before they can kill again. Yes, I did say mysterious, ex-government sniper. He’s living on a houseboat with his bloodhound nearby, and he happened to have grown up in India and had to hunter tigers that had turned into maneaters before. So when he heard the roar out in the hills, he knew what it was right away and went on a mission to get the authorities to listen to him and to stop the tigers. That’s the 70’s for ya!

This film is full of television stars. So much so that I was surprised at how many I recognized. Tom Skerritt, Harry Morgan, Dabney Coleman (in a bit part) and tons of others who you probably wouldn’t recognize by name, but you’d know them if you saw them. Tom Skerritt is the deputy and Harry Morgan plays a bible thumping religious nut who also happens to be a closet porn producer. He gets caught and busted, which was cool because he was a total hypocritical ass in this film.

Eventually the tigers are killed. The female however was pregnant and managed to deliver her baby before she was killed. The ex-sniper ended up disappearing with the cub at the end of the film, which he then raised as his own. Isn’t that sweet?

This film was actually pretty good. It has that cheesy 70’s vibe throughout and the story can get a little ridiculous at times, but all in all it was pretty enjoyable. I think people who actually grew up in or lived through the 70’s will appreciate these old films more than people who were born after. Still, it’s a fun film if you just get into it and give it a chance. So maybe people who were post-70’s babies could find some appreciation for it.

The only thing I can really ding this release on is the quality. The visual quality is horrible. It’s not at all unwatchable, it’s just bad quality. This isn’t Wild Eye’s fault however, as I’m sure they got whatever print of this obscure old television film they could get their hands on, and that’s what the quality happened to be after all these years. At least now that the film is in DVD format, it’ll remain preserved even as the physical film continues to degrade.

If you’d like to find out more about this film or pick up a copy for yourself, you can check it out on the Wild Eye Releasing website at http://www.wildeyereleasing.com.