Movies From the Black Lagoon: Birds of Prey

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Birds of Prey - 1987, Rated R
By Tom Doty

Al Gore probably owns a copy of this low budget effort, which blatantly rips off of the Hitchcock classic and posits that out feathered friends will have to take us out in order to save the world from our polluting ways.
This one starts off like a package tour with stops to Rome, Acapulco, Peru, and Madrid. In each port we see more evidence that the avian community is through with us. In Mexico an eagle demonstrates that he isn't willing to share the sky with bloated American hang-gliders.
Cut to Peru where a busload of tourists learn that the Incas supposedly build their temples with the help of large birds. Apparently these talking birds then left the planet and became stars but vowed to return and reign fire on us if we got out of line. Once the history lesson is over we move to Spain and witness a man getting his blood pressure taken. The nurse informs him that he's in great shape so the man steps outside where he is promptly blinded by an angry condor.
Next we travel to Madrid where we meet the film's heroes. They turn out to be a feisty reporter, Vanessa, and her cameraman/boyfriend Peter. They are covering a sports and leisure lead story about a guy who can shoot a bird while blind folded. This awesome item is powerful enough to net them a follow up story about a farmer attacked by chickens but Vanessa worries that these stories are merely career indicators and they aren't pointing up.
No one is more surprised than Vanessa when her story leads to more accounts of people being attacked by birds. Soon she is globetrotting to beat the band as she follows up leads. My favorite bit is when she interviews a bird expert who theorizes that mankind has disrupted the breeding habitats for birds and this has incurred their wrath. Apparently there's nothing more dangerous than undersexed pigeons.
The final half hour sees the birds attack escalate (at one point they even take down a small plane). Our intrepid reporter convinces the people of one city to escape via train. The locomotive runs into a new problem, however, when their progress is arrested by a herd of sheep on the tracks. Are the sheep working with the birds? Will anyone survive long enough to show the birds that we can clean up our polluting ways? Trust me this film is not about providing you with well thought out answers to these questions but they do deliver on the avian carnage with enough gore to satisfy splatter fans.
This is a fun time waster that adds elements to the "Bird vs. Mankind" drama that eluded Sir Alfred Hitchcock (this was actually marketed as a sequel to 'The Birds" in Europe). Mainly those elements consist of graphic gore and a pinch of nudity. Acting wise this one is a bit of a wash. Most of the actors are dubbed poorly. The American leads aren't much better though they provide their own voices. Michelle Johnson plays Vanessa as if she landed her reporting gig by virtue of her looks. Johnson would go on to be menaced by 'Dr. Giggles" but has yet to break out. Her co-star, Christopher Atkins, was much more seasoned by the time he made this. Atkins had gotten started opposite Brooke Shields in 'The Blue Lagoon" before getting a full time job on CBS' smash series 'Dallas." Since then he has petered out and this film didn't help much. Here he is reduced to a rolling his eyes and, at one point, even talking to his penis. Things are looking up for him as the Internet Movie Database currently lists him as being employed in four films scheduled for release in 2010,none of which could be any worse than this one. On the bright side this film will kill ninety minutes deader than Disco.
Bets Line: " I saw your broadcast about the man who was attacked by his chickens."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.