I am an unapologetic fan of "animals attack" films. Actually, animals, insects or whatever attacking people in movies is a favorite genre of mine. Did a list of favorites years go:
I had been able to see this one via a bootleg, but it was quite tricky to track down at that time. I found that to be a bit of a shame as it's got a solid cast and has a that great 70s-TV-movie vibe to it. I love movies about institutions that don't really exist any more. THE BEASTS ARE ON THE STREETS is about animals getting loose from a safari park after a freak accident tears down a section of their fenceline. Of course safari parks still exist in some capacity, but have all but disappeared, especially in the U.S.(as far as I know). The idea of a park where there are wild animals roaming free and you tour it via a tram or in your own car seems like a bad idea in the litigious society we live in today. So many potential lawsuits! Anyway, it makes for an enjoyable 1970s TV-movie in my opinion. What can I say, I just like to see movies where animals are roaming free and running around. There's an Italian film called THE WILD BEASTS from 1984 that is similar to this movie. Of course, in the Italian version, a zoo's water supply is contaminated with PCP and the animals go nuts and get loose. This is a bit tamer than that, but it still features lots of citizens being attacked by and fleeing from large live animals. It's hard not to bring up CGI when watching something like this. I realize that I harp on it a lot, but it's just on my mind a lot watching older films as much as I do. This movie would have little to no live animals if made today. It's a sad thing to me. I love watching the way real animals move and react on camera. It really does give me a sense of genuine suspense that I like a lot. Also, animals are just pretty to look at. Simple as that.
So our main cast here consists of the lovely Carol Lynley, Phillip Michael Thomas and Billy Greenbush, but there are lots of familiar faces to be seen as well. Interesting note about this film's director is that Peter Hunt has some big time ties to the James Bond franchise. Not only did he direct ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE(one of my favorites), but he was also the editor on several classic Bonds including DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and GOLDFINGER. He even edited the great British spy thriller THE IPCRESS FILE. He also directed DEATH HUNT(with Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin), SHOUT AT THE DEVIL and GOLD. All interesting films. Would love to hear production stories on this movie and how he ended up directing it. Oh and I totally forgot to mention that this movie was produced by animation giants Hanna-Barbera! Hanna-Barbera has an interesting legacy of oddball TV-movies including things like KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK and THE LEGEND OF THE SUPERHEROES. This movie isn't like those by any stretch, but I find it intriguing that they are behind this nonetheless. I mean, they made countless cartoons with talking animals, why not a live action movie with them running wild and attacking people? Seems like an odd choice, but I for one am glad they made it. Who knows, maybe this film and Hanna-Barbera's cartoons inspired the MADAGASCAR series. Okay, I'm just reaching there, but sometimes reaching is fun. And so is this movie.
THE BEASTS ARE ON THE STREETS is currently streaming on Warner Archive Instant in HD: