Cocaine Bear Takes Animal Attack Films To A Higher Level

“An apex predator… high on cocaine… out of its mind.”

It seems bizarre that it has taken so long for the bizarre story of the bear that ate all the coke to be adapted as a movie but maybe the cinematic world was just not ready for Cocaine Bear until now. In a world of Sharknados and Zombeavers, perhaps the story of a rampaging bear, high on snaffled narcotics, is inevitable. And it’s all based on a true story!

In 1985, the extravagantly-named Andrew Carter Thornton II – a former paratrooper, police officer and lawyer who had presumably seen the profits of crime first-hand and so taken a career shift into drug smuggling – jumped from a plane with $14 million worth of cocaine and what unfortunately turned out to be a faulty parachute strapped to his body. His corpse was discovered in a driveway in Knoxville, Tennessee, carrying numerous guns, thousands of dollars in cash and a lot of cocaine. That must have been quite the thing to find upon leaving your house.

It wasn’t all the cocaine, though – in Chattahoochee National Forest, directly on the doomed flight path of Thornton’s Cessna, the body of a black bear was found next to an empty duffel bag. The 75 pounds of coke that the bag had originally contained was missed – presumed to be inside the bear. That’s quite the overdose. Of course, killjoys have pointed out that while the bear’s stomach was certainly “packed to the brim with cocaine”, there was no evidence that it ate the full amount; it’s more likely that an enterprising hunter had found the corpse and the stash and made off with the latter, knowing that the bear would be blamed.

Well, that’s the true story, which might make for a quirky drama but clearly isn’t the stuff of Hollywood action cinema. ‘Bear finds drugs, eats drugs, dies horribly’ is not going to put bums on seats. So in the imaginatively-titled Cocaine Bear, liberties are taken (so no, the above is not a spoiler) and the cocaine-wired bear goes on the sort of rampage that Grizzly (who needed no artificial stimulants to fuel his actions) would be proud of. In fact, Cocaine Bear seems to have eschewed any attempt to be a sober tale at all, instead going all-in with the camp and the crazy. Which, of course, we thoroughly approve of. Whether the film as a whole maintains the wild lunacy of the trailer remains to be seen – we have until February 24th to find out. Trailers, as we all know, can be deceptive and these knowingly-trashy animal-rampage movies are very hit and miss.

Still – in a world where major movies wind up on streaming services without even getting a sniff of theatrical, the fact that Cocaine Bear – directed by Elizabeth Banks, whose career did not seem to be heading in this direction, and with Ray Liotta in his last role (it’s how he’s want to be remembered) – is playing cinemas at all, let alone getting what seems to be a proper release, is quite something – possibly a testament to cocaine-induced decision-making powers in itself, though obviously, that would be wild conjecture and not an accusation. Still, if this proves to be a hit, you can expect more ‘dangerous animals high on drugs’ movies to follow. Flakka Foxes, perhaps?

Here’s the trailer. Clear your diary.

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