Clark Collis
April 08, 2015 AT 07:39 PM EDT

Starting in 1971, actress Tippi Hedren (The Birds) and her husband Noel Marshall began to raise lions, which they planned to feature in an adventure movie called Roar. Incredibly, the place they decided to do this was their own house in suburban Sherman Oaks, which they shared with Marshall’s three sons—Jerry, John, and Joel—and Hedren’s daughter, future Working Girl star Melanie Griffith. “In hindsight, it was dumb,” says John Marshall, who also appeared in the film alongside most of his family, including Hedren and Griffith. “I mean, I’m amazed no one died. But I was a teenager. I was invincible! I was convinced that I could stop these lions from killing us.”  

The 10-years-in-the-making Roar remains one of the most jaw-dropping cinematic spectacles films of all-time, a movie in which it seems possible that at almost any point one of the actors could be torn apart, for real, in front of your eyes. From April 17, the Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain’s distribution arm, Drafthouse Films, is releasing Roar to select cinemas, following a successful screening at the recent SXSW Festival. “That’s when I knew that we had something really special here,” says Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League. “There were gasps, there was horror, there was laughter, and everybody was tense, completely on the edge of their seats, for this entire film.”

You can read more about Roar in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (out April 10). And you can see both the trailer for the movie and an exclusive clip below.

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