On this day in horror history, Michael Anderson’s Orca (also known as Orca: The Killer Whale) with Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, and Bo Derek was unleashed by Paramount Pictures in NYC in 1977.
Producer Luciano Vincenzoni was assigned to “find a fish tougher and more terrible than the great white” by Dino De Laurentiis (Evil Dead II, Blue Velvet) after watching Steven Spielberg’s Jaws with Roy Scheider.
Filming took place largely in Newfoundland in the town of Petty Harbour. The orcas were from Marineland of the Pacific and Marine World Africa (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom).
Produced by based on the novel by Arthur Herzog, the film was a minor box office success scoring $14.7 million on a budget of just $6 million.
The film sports a 10% rating over on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Content to regurgitate bits of better horror movies, Orca: The Killer Whale is a soggy shark thriller with frustratingly little bite.
It’s an ocean-going tale with ecological overtones in which a ruthless profiteering fisherman accidentally kills the pregnant mate of a canny killer whale. It’s `Jaws’ meets `Moby Dick’ as the bounty hunter becomes the target of the enraged, grief-stricken creature’s craving for vengeance.
It was directed by Anderson from a screenplay written by Luciano Vincenzoni and Sergio Donati based on the novel by Arthur Herzog. De Laurentiis Produced with Luciano Vincenzoni. Ennio Morricone provided the score. J. Barry Herron and Ted Moore handled the cinematography. John Bloom, Marion Rothman, and Ralph E. Winters edited it all together.