Attack of the Sabretooth

One of the most delightfully awful movies from Sci Fi Pictures, responsible for such genre classics as Piñata: Survival Island and Hammerhead.


Image“After a million years, they’re ready to eat!” — Tagline for Attack of the Sabretooth [Most recent estimates place the extinction of Smilodan fatalis approximately 10,000 years ago.]


ImageAs a rule, you can judge a movie based on the strength of its Carradine. Keith Carradine movies tend to be art-house fare, Altman and the like. David Carradine gives you your high-class guilty pleasures — Kill Bill, Kung Fu, etc. John Carradine gave us some unforgettable classics, some cheesy horror flicks, and some that a little bit of both. As for Robert Carradine? Well, the man’s most lucrative role was a bit part in Ghosts of Mars will give you Attack of the Sabretooth.One of the most delightfully awful movies from Sci Fi Pictures, responsible for such genre classics as Piñata: Survival Island and Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy, Attack of the Sabretooth revolves around the opening of a new theme park called, get this, “Primal Park,” which features the titular big cats, recreated through the glories of DNA cloning. Eventually, havoc is wreaked on the small group of business associates and the greedy megalomaniac founder when (I swear, I’m not making this up) an irate employee cuts the power. The vacationers-cum-Fancy Feast must fight their way through two normal animals and one genetic fluke, who crawls around on his front legs and was actually pretty depressing. No guesses as to whether or not the tigers are, in fact, ready to eat.A point worth mentioning is that these saber-tooths (teeth?) see in infrared (I wonder where that came from…). Now, ignoring the obvious question, “why the hell do they that?”, let’s talk for about about the infrared itself. It’s like, if infrared only worked on people and everything just looked sepia-toned. Also, if infrared followed no anatomical laws, and just kinda picked colors at random. At one point a person’s heart appeared as dark green, implying that it emitted less heat than the arms, which glowed beet red. If your body chemistry works like that, being mauled to death by a genetically-engineered, millennia-old big cat is the least of your worries. Now, we may address the aforementioned question of “why the hell do they that?” The answer is that it’s a stupid movie. A very stupid movie, in fact. A wonderfully, wonderfully stupid movie.One thing this movie deserves credit for, though, is its strict adherence to the Hollywood mantra: “steal from the best.” Perhaps a little too strict; if you’ll examine what was intended to be the most dramatic dialogue in the movie: the discussion of the suspicious deaths of all of Savannah’s (the redhead justing after the protagonist) former lovers. The first two died horribly, one getting macheted after falling out of a tree. The third one, her fiancé (this, I might add, is the climax of the scene), he died: “in a freak gardening accident.”
Let me repeat. A freak. Gardening. Accident. Sound familar? If we may turn the clock back to 1984 and a little film called This is Spinal Tap, we might recall the same story, this time about a drummer.

David St. Hubbins: He died in a bizarre gardening accident…
Nigel Tufnel: Authorities said… best leave it… unsolved.

The difference is, of course, Spinal Tap was a comedy. Attack of the Sabretooth is, well, side-splittingly hilarious, but I don’t think that was the point.

So here’s the breakdown: you have a film in which the film’s grand villian turns out to be a pathetic, sad (poorly animated) genetic mistake (Alien: Resurrection, anyone?) dispatched by some ditz from behind with a Beretta, tigers start seeing in half-assed infrared, and the grapics in the big penultimate death sequence are literally outclassed by Sega Genesis. It’s pretty grisly for a TV movie, I counted three decapitations. How you handle this is what seperates the men from the boys in the world of bad cinema. My suggestion? Sit back, gather some friends, and tackle this mangy Smilodan head-on.