Beaks: The Movie (1987)

Not to be confused with Beaks: The Novel, this movie is also known as El Ataque de los Pajaros (The Attack of the Birds), Birds of Prey, Evil Birds and Beaks: The Birds 2, which is some Bruno Mattei-level skullduggery.

It was directed by Rene Cardona Jr., who made King of the Gorillas after King KongTintorera after Jaws and Survive! after an Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes Mountain and ate one another. So what you need to know is that this is a filmmaker who only cares about entertaining you, not lawyers or the sensibilities of average folk. This is a guy who had so much fun making a film with cannibalism in it that he went back and did it again with Cyclone and got some Hollywood stars to go along for the ride.

Rene, I love your whole family. I love your father and his films. I love your son and his movies. And man, you know what’s up. I have no idea what you were trying to do here, but as a friend, I’m going to sit through it.

Michelle Johnson started her acting career leaving modelling behind and needing to meet with a judge before appearing topless at age 17 in Blame It On Rio. The rest of her career was spent in movies that I can instantly point to her being in, like WaxworkBlood TiesDr. Giggles and the Andrew Stevens-directed Illicit Dreams.

She’s starring with another actor who got famous getting naked on a beach in some form of explotation magic kismet. Christopher Atkins was all of 19 when he appeared alongside Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon, playing cousins shipwrecked on an island who are destined to aggressively cuddle because it was 1980 and incest was seemingly everywhere (a cursory look at Pornhub says, nope, it hasn’t gone anywhere).

They both ended up on Dallas as well, with Johnson showing up in the TV movie Dallas: War of the Ewings and the rebooted 2000’s version, while Atkins played camp counselor Peter Richards for the 1983 season. He also had a singing career — “How Can I Live Without Her” peaked at #71 on the Billboard charts — and appeared in movies like ShakmaMortuary Academy and The Little Unicorn before becoming a luxury pool builder and fishing lure inventor.

Here, the twosome play Vanessa, a television reporter, and Pete, her cameraman. They’re investigating stories of farmers being attacked by their chickens and then go to Spain to meet the survivors of similar attacks thirty years ago.

You have to give it to Cardona, because he realizes, “¡Hola, no soy Hitchcock!” and goes full gonzo, having children decimated by birds at a birthday party and a farmer and his wife killed by doves, the very symbol of peace.

Why are the birds doing this? Because they’re had enough with men and this time, it’s personal. As it always is, really.

Gabriele Tinti, who usually is in Joe D’Amato stuff like The Crawlers and Endgame, shows up here, uniting two of my favorite scummy movie worlds. Aldo Sambrell is also here, probably telling everyone at catering how many Sergio Leone movies he was in. I kid! They didn’t have a catering budget.

This movie still isn’t as bad as the Rick Rosenthal-directed The Birds II: Land’s End. That is such a small bar to trip over, however.

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