Saturday, October 9, 2010

Animals Run Amok!: The Top... Well, However Many I Want To List

Aside from my undying love of supernatural horror films, one thing you should know about my horror appetite is the insatiable need for Animals Run Amok. I don't care if it's mutated giant spiders, anacondas in the jungle, or lions in the African desert, nothing gets this little horror girl excited like Mother Nature sticking it to man. Therefore, I have compiled a short list of some of my personal favorites in the Animals Run Amok subgenre, most of which are horrible guilty pleasures (don't judge me). Not necessarily the best ones, mind you, just the ones that I really get a kick out of.

No numbers, because these movies are all so different that I couldn't put them in any particular order.

I love killer shark movies as much as the next person and I must say that Deep Blue Sea is my absolute favorite. Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane, and genius sharks with chompy teeth make me happier than any other killer shark movie. Happy in my pants. It's a sin to prefer this over the almighty Jaws, but I really can't help myself. I was squealing like a little girl at the theater over this film and the excitement hasn't waned even after 762 viewings, give or take a few.

Arachnophobia still deserves a spot on this list, but all my willies about that film were increased a thousand percent when I saw Kingdom of the Spiders. I reviewed it recently but if you don't want to read it, let's just say that I was thoroughly traumatized by the sheer number of GD tarantulas that are crawling their butts all over people in that movie. William Shatner is the king but I was a little too freaked out to really enjoy him.

Anaconda (1997)
An improbable story and a wet-behind-the-ears J. Lo could not even ruin this absolute gem of giant man-eating snake movies. Just the words "South American jungle" are enough to scare the shit out of me, but add in a hunt for anacondas with one creepy-ass Jon Voight and you've got one of the best Animals Run Amok ever. Oh jeebus help me, I can't get enough. Everything about this movie including an unconscious Eric Stoltz is simply awesome. Not to mention a giant snake eating and then regurgitating a winking Jon Voight. I am in killer animal heaven. And the sequels are a fucking riot.

Lake Placid is a hell of a lot of fun. Seems to be a theme amongst these movies, right? Giant/killer animal movies just need to be fun for me to fully enjoy them. Otherwise the whole concept of people being chewed up and eaten alive by crocodiles or snakes is too horrible to think about. Lake Placid is the very definition of fun. Great movie. Betty White as the defiant old lady who feeds the croc is damn genius. And I have some mad love for Oliver Platt. Seriously overlooked character actor right there.

The reason Sam Jackson wanted to make this movie was because of the title. The reason I wanted to see it was because of the title. Expectations can be bad. This movie is not. It's the most parodied movie I've seen, but in a completely lovable way. It's funny and it's got the gory animal attacks that I love without being campy. Okay, there might still be a little bit of camp, but it manages to take itself mildly serious - a huge feat in my book. Yea for angry poisonous snakes in unnatural colors!

Arachnophobia is a 90s retro-licous... well, I wouldn't call it a favorite but it was a movie that even though I hated spiders with a passion, I couldn't pass up watching this literally every time it was on TV. Tell me that seeing that fucking huge queen spider crawling up Jeff Daniels' leg didn't make you squirm in your seat. He had to use a nail gun to kill the GD thing - that's one bitch you don't fuck with.

Congo (1995)
Not a horror movie, you argue? Well, it's my blog. So get over it. On this continent we've got the most feared of all animals protecting our wildlife and parks - bears. But across the ocean, they've got an even bigger menace protecting their diamond mines - pissed off gorillas trained by man to kill. And not only do we have gorillas pounding the shit out of people's faces, this movie also contains one AWESOME hippopotamus attack on a convoy of inflatable rafts. Technically, I guess it's a bad movie but it's one of my biggest guilty pleasures. Bruce Campbell and Tim Curry definitely help the film, plus one of cinema's greatest lines - "STOP EATING MY SESAME CAKE!"

Primeval (2007)
Primeval might be a little too serious of a movie to be enjoyed as much as the others on this list, but I think it was really well done. The effects work on Gustave the crocodile were killer and I loved the action sequences. The real-life issues dealt with in the movie didn't bother me at all and I embraced the movie for what it did. Dominic Purcell is perhaps not the best actor and he is completely upstaged by the guy playing the videographer. So there's a bit of comic relief to make the movie more fun. Gustave could have eaten more people, though. I would have liked that better.

Three spider movies on this list is perhaps a little excessive, but whatever. From lots of ugly little spiders to spiders mutated to enormous sizes by chemical-contaminated water. Eight Legged Freaks was a deliciously delightful throwback to the giant bug movies of the 50s. It was more an enjoyment of the genre rather than ridiculing it. It was an old-fashioned good time and FUN movie to watch, you can't deny it. I mean, the spiders talk throughout the whole movie, for crying out loud. If all that isn't a love for these kinds of movies, then I don't know what the hell is. Eight Legged Freaks was an instant favorite when I first saw it and I still love it.

Jurassic Park 1 and 3 (1993 and 2001)
What? This doesn't count either? Technically dinosaurs qualify as animals and they certainly run amok in this series of films. I can do without The Lost World, but was I the only one who totally fell in love with Jurassic Park 3? The spinosaurus kicking T-rex's ass and the pterodactyl scenes rocked my face off (I don't really know what that means). And of course the first one is a classic for bringing Sam Neill back into our lives. Raptors are the craftiest bastards that ever lived.

Killer... sheep? Is, um, is this movie really about killer... SHEEP? Holy crap, it is. And you know what? That FUCKING RULES. That's all I have to say.

This list probably sounds a hell of a lot like other peoples's killer animal movie favorites, but I guess there's a reason for that. THEY ROCK. I know there's a lot of killer animal movies from the 70s and such and I haven't seen any of them. I'm working on that, I promise. Perhaps I can revise this list in the future. 


  1. I love this type of movie to death! Arachnaphobia and Eight Legged Freaks are awesome! I keep meaning to bump Kingdom of the Spiders up on my Netflix queue as I desperately need to see it! Black Sheep and Jurassic Park are also top notch, and I did really like Jurassic Park III as well! Have you seen the Australian killer croc flick Rogue? I LOVED that one!!!! Awesome list :)

  2. Terrific list! I made one for myself earlier this year.

    I love your blog!

  3. @Emily - I kept seeing Rogue mentioned when I was looking up animal movies so I feel like I really need to see it. People seem to love it.

    @Cinema Du Meep - See now, your list has all those movies I haven't seen yet! I really need to catch up. Thanks for reading, BTW!

  4. Yes, ROGUE! I saw it on HBO last year, just started watching it idly, thought it was some crap-ass monster movie, but it's got some real skill and craft that took me by surprise and by the climax I was totally into it. Definitely check it out.

  5. Ah, I love all of these movies. Especially Lake Placid and Anaconda. Great post!