Cocaine Bear surprised everyone with its haul during its opening weekend. For fans of animal attack movies, this is not a shock. People love animal attack films and can’t get enough of them. I’m not sure if it’s the man vs. nature theme of the films, the animals themselves getting revenge on humans, or just the all-around fun these films bring. No matter what, they are enjoyable for audiences in theaters.
There has been a long history of animals attacking humans on film. Some films that are classified as ‘classic’ cinema fall into the animal attack category. We can always use more movies of animals rampaging through humans on the big screen. What are some of the best?
Since bears seem to be on everyone’s brain this weekend; then we might as well start with this classic. A fifteen-foot tall grizzly bear kills hikers and campers in a state park. When the supervisor refuses to close the park (sound familiar?), a park ranger and a military helicopter pilot take it upon themselves to kill the giant bear. This film has lots of bear savagery in this film, which makes it a favorite among animal attack fans.
When the Earth’s ozone layer begins to be depleted, animals above five thousand feet start to act aggressively. Their rage focuses on any human that comes in contact with them. Before a quarantine can be implemented, a group of hikers is dropped off on a mountain. Now they have to descend the mountain to get to safety, but can they trust each other? Leslie Nielsen, Christopher George, and Lynda Day George play the hikers fighting off animals.
From the novel of the same name written by Stephen King. A woman takes the family car to a mechanic. With her husband out of town, she takes their son Tad with her. She doesn’t know that the family Saint Bernard has gone rabid and killed everyone it has come in contact with. Now she is trapped in her broken-down car while the summer sun beats down on them. No one else knows they are stuck there. They have little chance of being rescued. The dog keeps trying to get inside the car, so she has to protect herself and her son. It’s an interesting single-location thriller. There are talks about remaking the film, but I’m wondering if it would work with modern technology.
A giant wild boar is killing people in the Australian outback. Locals scoff at the story of the giant boar as nothing but a made-up story. A hunter and the husband of one of its victims set out to find the swine while trying not to fall victim to its wild rampage. Nothing like giant pigs to make for a great film.
Sure we’ve seen sharks attacking people in movies. What would happen if these sharks were genetically modified to be highly intelligent? Well, then we’d be in big trouble. A group of scientists is looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. They increase the size of sharks’ brains to collect the disease-fighting enzymes found in them. Unfortunately, the sharks escape and begin to hunt down their captors. The film is star-studded, with Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane, and LL Cool J leading the charge.
Based on the urban legend that someone flushed a baby alligator down the toilet in New York City, and it grew up to be a giant in the sewers. What if it actually happened? Well, the movie will tell you. Robert Forster is a cop looking into bodies showing up that appear to have been eaten by a giant creature. A reptile expert accompanies him as he tries to figure out what is killing people and how do they stop it.
This self-admitted rip-off of Jaws has weirdly spawned more films in its franchise than Jaws did. Joe Dante directed this Roger Corman classic. A tank of veracious piranha at a military base accidentally gets released into a river. These genetically engineered fish can survive in both fresh water and salt water. If they reach the ocean, they will multiply out of control and eat everything in their path. More importantly, the stream runs right by a summer camp on its way to a fancy country club. Carnage properly ensues.
Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense, and his entry in the animal attacks genre is no different. Only could make a gathering of birds on a school jungle gym seem ominous. Birds begin attacking people for unknown reasons. Anyone that is outdoors quickly becomes a target. Those still in the small town have to find a way to survive. A classic of Hitchcock’s filmography fits rights in. It even got a sequel called The Birds II: Land’s End in the nineties. This one is not remembered as a classic.
Most would probably discount this one as it features more in the giant animal category, but it still fits. A film crew heads to a remote island to shoot with their cast. They discover that the island has a giant ape that takes a liking to the lead actress in their film. Realizing they could make more money showcasing the giant gorilla, they capture and take him back to New York. When the primate breaks loose of his chains, he kidnaps the actress and takes refuge on top of the tallest building in the city. A true classic.
It had to be the last one on the list, right? This movie is responsible for creating the summer blockbuster. The entire movie industry changed its release strategy purely based on this film. It was that big of a deal. A great white shark begins to attack people off the coast of Amity Island. The local Sheriff decides to hunt the killer down when the mayor won’t close the beaches down. The amazing part of this movie is how much went wrong during filming, which caused them to edit it in such a way that it made the film way scarier for the viewing audience. Nothing has touched the greatness of this one.
What are some of your favorite animal attacks films? Let us know in the comments.