Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Top Ten Homicidal Animals

Horror movies are frightening enough when man is pitted against vampires, zombies and hockey-masked serial killers, but when Mother Nature's own children of the animal kingdom become the predator, that adds a little more spook to the spookiness. I've compiled for you a list of my Top Ten Terrifying Animals as seen throughout my favorite genre - horror: where anything can be scary...even a fly!

10. The Fly (1986)
"I'll hurt you if you stay."

Flies can be annoying and bothersome on any given day, but when crossed with human DNA, they are downright terrifying! David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly starring Jeff Goldblum is one of the most unsettling creature features ever! From vomiting acid to losing fingernails to skin slippage, Dr. Seth Brundle (Goldblum) mutates onto a human-sized fly in a lab-experiment-gone-wrong. The most terrifying scene, however, takes place at the very end when Brundle's girlfriend gives birth to...something. Ick!

9. Monkey Shines (1988)
"He had his little demon do it for him!"

Monkeys are supposed to be cute and funny, right? Tell that to Ella, the helper monkey who can sense the rage and hate of her quadriplegic owner and acts out her master's evil intentions. Ella is quite the helper when it comes to evil deeds...and what an alibi!! No one would blame murder on a cute little monkey!

8. Pet Semetary (1989)
"Sometimes dead is better."

One of Stephen King's better creations, Pet Semetary centers around an Indian burial ground in which the dead become undead after being buried in the 'sour' ground. Of course, these resurrected beings don't return from the grave in quite the same way as they were before they went into it. Take Winston Churchill, or Church, the family's loving house cat. After being killed on a high-traffic road, the patriarch of the family buries Church in the burial ground. The next morning, Church shows up for breakfast having woke up on the wrong side of the shallow grave. His eyes glow; his purring is more of a vicious growl; and he smells like something died (mainly, himself). Though the evil Church doesn't lash out and kill anyone, save a rather large rat, he does offer frequent moments of potential cardiac arrest.

7. Resident Evil (2002)
"We are gonna die down here."

Doberman pinchers can be scary, in general, but zombie dobermans 'up' the scare factor. Based on the popular video game about a virus outbreak that turns living things into undead flesh-eating zombies, Resident Evil makes a terrifying dog even more so by turning them into bleeding, salivating zombie dogs having super speed and super strength. Oh, and they won't just bite you and turn you into a zombie too...they'll devour you alive. Good dog.

6. Primeval (2007)
"You're after a man-eater."

What's more terrifying than a crocodile? A 25 foot crocodile! Based on a true story, Primeval takes place in Africa where a group of scientists and photographers are searching for a legendary, homicidal crocodile. They find it...or rather, it finds them. Just the fact that this movie is based on a true story is enough to put this savage animal on the countdown!

5. Ginger Snaps (2000)
"...Wish these were babies' legs."

Ginger Snaps is the Canadian coming-of-age story of a young girl (Ginger) who finally gets 'the curse.' No, not that curse - the werewolf curse! After being bitten by a wolf, Ginger begins to change. She develops a taste for blood; she grows a little more hair in a few more places; her sexual conquests become more violent, often ending in bloodshed. As her sister Brigitte tries to help her, Ginger loses more and more of the young innocent girl she once was in favor of the blood-thirsty, pet-killing wolf she's become. Werewolves are scary anyway, buts hormonal, sexed-up, teen aged werewolfette is something to definitely avoid!

4. Arachnophobia (1990)
"Honey, we're in the living room. We need you to kill a spider."

Mutant, poisonous spiders. Millions of them. One bite, you're dead. 'Nuff said. I shudder to think about it!!

3. Cujo (1983)
"Oh my're rabid!"

See Cujo...a big, lovable St. Bernard. See Cujo run. See Cujo go into a scary cave. See Cujo get bitten by a bat. See Cujo go on a kill-crazy, rabid rampage. This is another one of Stephen King's great novels optioned into a great horror movie. Cujo's transformation from happy to homicidal is a great one as the story shows an endearing family pet become a murderous beast as the result of one bite from a rabid bat. The ending scenes are particularly terrifying as Cujo traps his own family in a car, fully prepared to rip them limb from limb. Scary.

2. Jaws (1975)
"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

A man-eating great white shark terrorizes a small island in this Steven Spielberg film. The movie is loosely based on a true incident which happened in fresh water rivers inland, but a Great White wasn't the culprit. The beauty of Jaws is that you don't see the shark for more than half of the movie, thereby building up the suspense of finally seeing the killer. Great cast, great screenplay, great mechanical shark! I'm still slightly afraid to go into the water.

1. The Birds (1963)
"It's the end of the world."

Flocks of seagulls - not the 80's band - take over an island town, pecking at people's faces, trapping them indoors and attacking anything that moves. The most puzzling (and frightening) aspect of this flick is that there's no reasoning behind the attacks. There's no logical or scientific explanation! Even Jaws attacked out of instinct. The birds just decided one day to launch a coup on the human population. I ultimately chose The Birds over Jaws for one major reason: Jaws wasn't a threat on land, only in the water. Birds are a threat everywhere! And, face it, they're kind of creepy with their small, soulless eyes and sharp beaks!! And, birds have that mob mentality; you're not attacked by one at a time...they take you out as a group! Just ask Melanie (played by the incomparable Tippi Hedren) who became bird seed when trapped in a room with the feathered fiends!

- Sue A. Cide

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