Rabid rabbits, hungry sharks, naughty dogs, angry spiders and more
Comedy horror flick Zombeavers brings its melodramatic screams and ridiculous scares to the screens of the UAE this week. The film centres on a group of out-of-town girls who take an ill-fated break in the countryside only to discover the lake is infested with inexhaustible, bloodthirsty killer beavers. The camp comedy horror is littered with cheeky beaver puns, and it got us thinking about some of our favourite animal horror movies, and a couple that definitely should have been put down.
Cujo (1983) Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Danny Pintauro Written by Stephen King, you can rest assured that by the end of the 93 minutes, you’ll never look at St Bernard dogs in the same way again (even if you watch 300 straight afterwards). Cujo tells the chilling story of a family pet that turns rabid after being bitten by a bat. During a hot weekend the disease takes hold and the crazed canine kills his owners, and a stand-off ensues between the mad dog and family friends that are trapped inside the house.
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963) Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette A cinematic classic where nature revolts. The film begins with a slow start, when San Francisco socialite and practical joker Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), takes a liking to lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) and follows him to his weekend home in the country. But her arrival there heralds the start of bizarre avian activity and every bird in town begin to violently attack the residents. The closing shot is great and the film’s only Oscar nomination was for special visual effects, where hundreds of seagulls, ravens and crows were trained for the film’s chilling apocalyptic scenes.
Arachnophobia (1990) Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, John Goodman When a deadly alpha male spider from Venezuela hitches a ride in a coffin back to San Francisco, all manner of creepy-crawly trouble is about to unleashed on the city. Arachnophobia plays on the common fear of spiders and anyone who gets goose bumps at the mere mention of the eight-legged critters would do well to avoid this one. The super-spider soon mates and the population of the small town starts mysteriously declining – rapidly.
Jaws (1975) Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss The music, the directing, the mechanical shark – Jaws is a brilliant ageless film that never seems to disappoint. Once that suspenseful theme music kicks in you just know that ol’ sharky is lurking beneath the surface waiting to strike out on unsuspecting swimmers on Amity Island. No matter how many times you watch this film, there’s still a part of you that will be wrapped up in the sense of fear that Spielberg expertly creates.
Jurassic Park (1993) Richard Attenborough, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum Animals from a different age, but animals all the same, and when this film was released, Hollywood and movie goers had never seen anything like it. When a scientist mogul creates a theme park full of genetically cloned dinosaurs, the invited guests at the opening preview are rapt, but when things go wrong the dinos take over and in this age they adapt a lot quicker to their environment than they did before. ‘Clever girl!’
Watership Down (1978) Voices: John Hurt, Richard Briers, Ralph Richardson Not technically a horror film, but with a cast of ferocious police rabbits ripping the ears off each other like Mike Tyson, and plenty of sociological and philosophical underlying themes, this film may be animated but don’t be fooled, it’s not really for small kids. Adapted from the novel by Richard Adam, this beautifully animated film follows a band of rabbits who believe that their home will be destroyed. Failing to convince the rest of the warren, they leave out on their own and embark on a journey that sees them face dangers of all kinds, including a group of brutal militant police led by the tyrannical General Woundwart.
Anaconda (1997) Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Eric Stoltz When a documentary film crew pick up a man stranded in the rainforest, they are unaware of what they’re getting themselves into. The creepy stranger is out to capture the giant anaconda snake that has been lurking in the undergrowth of the jungle, and the film crew get literally dragged into his plans by the colossal constrictor. The acting isn’t great, even from award-winning Jon Voight, but that snake steals the show.
Piranha (2010) Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connell, Richard Dreyfuss From the director of the Hills Have Eyes and producer of 300, Piranha is a comedy horror with many predictable bits, a minimal plot, and way too many screaming teenage girls. When an underwater earthquake opens a chasm under Lake Victoria (just in time for Spring Break, naturally), swarms of bloodthirsty piranhas are released into the waters and the feeding frenzy begins.