Monday, February 27, 2023

10 Off My Head: Putting the Wild in Wild Life

So who went and saw Cocaine Bear this weekend? I did, I did. It was fine. I'm surprised I can't rave more about a movie where Margo Martindale gets her ass gnawed on but the movie really needed some punching up, I thought -- it came up slightly short on everything it was aiming for. It wasn't scary enough, it wasn't funny enough, it wasn't camp enough. It was a little bit of those things, and it had moments. But there was a tension in the film between how straight director Elizabeth Banks wanted to play it and how far off the deep-end she wanted to go and the movie never quite resolved that.

Still I'm glad it exists (PS hey Alden Ehrenreich's biceps in that last scene) and I hope its success at the box-office sets off a "When Animals Attack!" craze, because that's one of my favorite sub-genres of movies. Indeed for no other reason than I felt like thinking about these movies this morning, here is a list of ten of my totally random favorites, all of which totally get the balance right between bonkers and bite, and which are all streaming right now. Cuz why not? it's Monday dammit.

10 of my Favorite "When Animals Attack!" Movies

(1988) -- streaming on Tubi

I've posted about Slugs on this here website more than Slugs could possibly deserve, but it was partially filmed in my hometown when I was in Junior High; how could I not be obsessed with it? I didn't see it until I was adult though and thankfully it's a blast -- over-the-top gross and totally knowing about how ridiculous it is. You'll never look at chopped lettuce the same way again!

Day of the Animals
(1977) -- streaming on Shudder

Not only does this movie star 70s horror icons Christopher George and his lady Lynda Day George -- the royal couple of Pieces, wherein she delivers the greatest line reading in the history of cinema -- but this movie also features Leslie Nielsen playing a wicked creep who dies topless wrestling a grizzly bear in the pouring rain. Look up "cinema" in the dictionary and it is just a photo of that. 

Frogs (1972) -- streaming on Pluto

Sam Elliot. Versus frogs.

(2007) -- streaming on Prime

This was director Greg McLean's follow-up to his masterpiece Wolf Creek and I feel like I remember it undeservedly falling through the cracks at the time and you never hear people talk about it anymore, but god it's a blast. Definitely tilts toward the scary side over the funny side, but Greg McLean does scary really well! I haven't seen this in awhile, I think I might revisit it myself. 

Food of the Gods
-- streaming on Plex

With these older ones you do have to warn people about real animal cruelty happening on-screen, and yes this movie does kill a ton of rats on-screen in its big finale. But it's still one of my faves -- gigantic chickens and mosquitoes, man! You can't go wrong. 

The Uninvited
-- streaming on Shudder

This is a recent acquisition unto my heart -- I only saw it for the first time a few months ago, thanks to its presence on Shudder. But as that gif above tells you,  I have chosen my heart's path wisely. About a cute little kitty-cat who gets exposed to radioactivity and then starts puking up a demon cat that kills a bunch of basic bitches (and George Kennedy!) onboard a yacht, this movie completed me.

(1976) -- streaming on Tubi

We've reached the point in the proceedings where I just feel the need to gesture wildly at the images and say, "LOOK! LOOK AT THAT! HOW COULD YOU NOT WANT TO WATCH THAT MOVIE???" But seriously. I don't remember much about Squirm's plot -- I should say "plot" -- but do I remember the scene pictured above? You bet your bottom dollar I do. You don't forget mountains of earthworms swallowing people up easy. 

(1984) -- streaming on Apple

I could have filled this list with nothing but movies from Australia, land of the demon animals -- indeed 1978's Long Weekend isn't on this list today but it's a must-watch and not just because its leading man wears the shortest-shorts I have possibly ever seen on-screen. But Razorback is also a classic and it's FINALLY getting a big blu-ray upgrade in just a couple of weeks -- this movie didn't have to go as hard as it does, but it's absolutely gorgeous in that very specific 1980s way and I can't wait to watch the upgrade to relish in its weird beauty.

Eaten Alive
(1976) -- streaming on Shudder

Speaking of going hard -- Tobe Hooper's wackadoodle gator-romp fever dream sure is something else, innit? Set at an isolated swamp hotel that's as artificial looking at anything in Querelle this movie has wigs popping off and swamp-hookers and the most annoying dog ever put on-screen. It's about as bonkers as these movies go, and covered in that sleazy gunky feeling that only Tobe could muster. God I adore it.

Black Sheep
(2006) -- streaming on Tubi

I gave this movie about deranged people-eating sheep a mixed-review when it came out in 2006 but I've been dying to re-watch it and haven't gotten around to it, so me including it here is really just me reminding myself to re-watch it. But I bet I'll be more forgiving of what bugged me about it now than I was then; I didn't used to be as delighted by goofiness + gore as I am today -- obviously I've regressed as a human being, but time will do that to you. 


So what are your favorite Animal Attack movies?


sissyinhwd said...

Sam Elliot's chest was one of the best back then. Yummy!!

joel65913 said...

This isn't a favored genre for me, not that means I haven't seen a ton of them, so the classics are the first ones I think of.

The Birds of course, Jaws, Them!, Sssssss are the only ones I'd watch again. I liked the cast of Day of the Animals including my beloved Ruth Roman but the picture was weak.

mrripley said...

1979's Prophecy has one of the best teaser trailers showing no footage of the film at all,the movie is great fun in a 70's Jaws rip off way,Talia Shire's in it and a young Armand Assante.

Grizzly is also good and Bait from a few years ago about sharks in a superstore.

Steve K said...

As promised, came here to say Kingdom of the Spiders! (And to a lesser extent, Phase IV.)

par3182 said...

joan collins as a con woman fighting off papier-mache ants and terrible sfx in ‘empire of the ants’

olins said...

“Night Of The Lepus”. Absolute crap about giant killer rabbits. One of the (unintentionally) funniest movies I have seen.

Rob91316 said...

"Squirm" is hands down my fave. Another guilty pleasure is "Deadly Eyes," with Dachshunds in rat costumes doubling not-so-convincingly for giant, mutated rodents.

ferretrick said...

I hear you saying they aren't real and I don't care, the giant worms of Tremors earn a place on this list.

Also, Lake Placid. It's hard to top Betty White telling someone to suck her dick.

Anonymous said...

Meth Gator! Coming this summer!

Poli said...

Alligator, with Robert Forster, is one of the best of the Jaws ripoffs. I also have fond memories of Crocodile from 1979, but that one probably needs a rewatch before I go around suggesting it.

Most of my other faves have already been mentioned, so consider this an endorsement for everything already mentioned.

luis pisa said...

The birds