Some white guy lives in Africa. He spends some of his time putting band aids on sick, African children. He spends the rest of it caring for THE HUNDREDS OF LIONS, TIGERS, LEOPARDS, JAGUARS, AND PUMAS he keeps in his house.
The guy's black friend comes over, apparently for the first time, and is horrified at all the DEADLY KILLER ANIMALS his crazy, white friend keeps as pets. Black Guy doesn't hesitate to freak out, which I think was the actor's actual reaction to the situation he found himself in. Anyway, some other people show up, and get attacked by the DEADLY KILLER ANIMALS. They leave, understandably.
White Guy suddenly remembers his family is coming from the States to visit, so they hop on Black Guy's boat and head for the airport. Unfortunately, two tigers (really damned big ones) stow away on the boat. While White Guy and Black Guy try to keep them under control, they don't pay attention to steering, which causes them to wreck the boat. Well, darn. What will they do now?
Meanwhile, White Guy's family (Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith, and two late-teens/early twenties boys ... apparently the real life family of the actor playing White Guy) are tired of waiting at the airport, so they catch a bus that's going in the general direction of White Guy's house. Oh, did I mention that White Guy has never once mentioned to them that he keeps HUNDREDS OF LARGE, CARNIVOROUS ANIMALS in his house? Well, he never has.
Once the family reaches the house, it seems fairly normal because the KILLER ANIMALS aren't there. As the family explores the house ... opening all the doors and windows ... a few of the smaller cats start showing up. Then the lions arrive -- with a (real) zebra they've torn into pieces! As the family watches, and as the camera lovingly zooms in on the bloody zebra meat, the lions eat the entire thing in a matter of minutes. Thing is, there are just too many LARGE KILLER ANIMALS for one zebra to feed. Good thing there are now some tasty humans on hand, eh? And if that's not enough, there's also the Hateful Elephant to content with. This elephant hates boats! He hates motorcycles! He hates barrels! He hates anything humans might use to escape or to hide and, by golly, he'll smash them all!
The rest of the movie is the family trying to hide and/or escape from the HUNDREDS OF LARGE HUNGRY CATS. Every so often, it cuts back to White Guy and Black Guy trying to get the two tigers back to the house. One hilarious scene has Black Guy rushing ahead to a village, where he presumably begs to be rescued from this crazy white man. Then White Guy shows up with the two tigers, causing the villagers to flee. White Guy just shrugs and steals a bicycle to ride back to his house.
There are actually two other minor plots. Remember those people who got attacked way back near the beginning of the movie? Well, two of them are hunters, and they decide White Guy's cats have to be dealt with (they raise the rather good point that the tigers and other foreign cats especially need to be killed because they are a genuine threat to the local ecosystem). So, they gear up and head to White Guy's house to shoot some big cats. The other plot concerns a rogue lion called Togar and his attempts to dethrone the king of White Guy's lion pride, Tobie. These two minor plots intersect when Togar MURDERS THE s**t out of the two hunters. (White Guy and Black Guy later find the corpses and, amazingly, White Guy tells Black Guy to keep it hush-hush so that the authorities don't call for the cull of his pets. My God.)
Unless I've failed to impress this on you: this movie features real lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, and other big cats interacting directly with untrained, ill-prepared actors. Tippi Hedren and her husband somehow got it into their heads to gather up oodles of big cats at a villa in the California countryside, then somehow convinced their real-life children to get mauled by them in front of cameras. Melanie Griffith actually received rather serious facial lacerations during this movie -- and it's damned easy to pick out the scene where it happens, too. Please note how her hair style changes fairly late in the movie to cover more of her face.
But that's not even the most amazing part. This isn't a horror movie, even though its premise, the circumstances of its production, and the way it's filmed make it one of the most effective horror movies ever. No, this is supposed to be a comedy. For families. With big cats inflicting real, bloody injuries on each other, chasing and causing real injuries to humans, and gorily ripping apart a real zebra on camera. With two hunters getting graphically mauled to death by a lion with nary a discretionary cut away.
I really don't even know what to say.