Top 10 Best Worst Killer Animal Movies
“This was no boat accident.”
– Hooper, “Jaws” (1975)
There are a lot of great killer animal movies out there, and plenty of lists to chronicle their triumphs. But for every great killer animal movie made, there are ten bad ones that rarely get their due. Film Critic Joel Massie examines the top 10 best of the very worst rampaging animal flicks he could unearth, most of which are are so bad that they’re actually kind of good. Kind of. Move aside “Jaws”!
10. Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
“Eight-Legged Freaks” attempts to be a goofy homage to B-movie monster flicks, but for the most part it just succumbs to its ludicrous plot – and I’m not talking about the toxic waste dump that creates giant spiders. The dated CG effects, annoying alien-conspiracy-obsessed DJ, lame one-liners, and octo-appendaged crawlers’ personification with silly gremlin sounds doesn’t help either. At least if the overgrown spiders don’t get your blood pumping, the mother-and-daughter duo of Kari Wuhrer and Scarlett Johansson probably will.
9. Night of the Lepus (1972)
Who thought giant rabbits would be scary? Well, they were wrong. Just look at 1972’s “Night of the Lepus,” where monstrously fluffy bunnies terrorize Janet Leigh and her small rural town. It’s a testament to Leigh’s acting that she genuinely seems alarmed by the oversized furballs, as she was once terrorized by real horrors like Norman Bates (“Psycho”), mariner ghosts (“The Fog”), and an enormous Orson Welles (“Touch of Evil”).
8. The Nest (1988)
As if killer cockroaches weren’t bad enough, the horde found in “The Nest” are mutant killer cockroaches. That means they can mimic whatever they eat. Cool, right? Wrong. Only this Roger Corman-produced creature feature can take a great idea and bury it with tons of bad acting and ludicrous human-cockroach hybrid monsters. Hmmm, come to think of it, that does sound kind of cool.
7. Razorback (1984)
Every second the giant killer pig graces the screen is awesome. Too bad the low budget allows for very little pig action and the goofy characters soak up the majority of screen time. At least director Russell “Highlander” Mulcahy spruces up the proceedings with surreal imagery, creative sets, and lively camerawork. Ultimately though, if giant killer pigs are your thing, you really don’t have any other options.
6. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
If it weren’t for Samuel L. Jackson lending his awesomeness to “Deep Blue Sea,” well, it probably still would have made this list. But his rousing speech, paired with a few great shark kills and a handful of impressive animatronics, sets the film above other bad shark flicks (though, perhaps, not above “Shark Attack 3: Megalodon”). Plus, Saffron Burrows is forced to strip down to her minimal undergarments to take out a feisty Mako. I’m sure it was somehow vital to the plot.
5. Orca (1977)
If killer sharks aren’t your thing, how about a killer orca whale? Whales can be vicious, bloodthirsty monsters too! Actually, while the orca does slowly kill off Captain Nolan’s (Richard Harris) crew in a rampage of revenge, it’s not without reason. The vengeful whale’s wife and unborn child were brutally slaughtered by the salty seaman. Often bitter and distasteful, this one might leave a sour taste in your mouth.
4. Mosquito (1995)
Take some great practical effects, a few atrocious green screen shots, terrible dialogue, and Gunnar Hansen mocking his own “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” role and you’ve got Gary Jones’s 1995 cult flick “Mosquito.” If you’re sick of the typical “bugs got big ‘cause of radiation” explanation, try out this more believable alternative: the monstrous fliers in “Mosquito” grow to epic proportions from feasting on the remains of a crashed alien spaceship. Not sure if Jones loses creativity points for that synopsis, but he gains them back for showing one of the oversized skeeters killing a nude female camper by sucking the blood from her exposed rear. For some reason, the killer mosquito subgenre doesn’t stop here – runners-up include “Mansquito” (2005) and “Skeeter” (1993).
3. Snakes on a Plane (2006)
The best thing about this movie is its bluntly hilarious title – and, once again, Samuel L. Jackson. But even with the stalwart wordsmith telling those snakes to get off his plane, the film lacks many real thrills, while most of the gore and nudity feel tacked on – probably because it actually was. Fans clamored for more sex, blood, and guts, so additional scenes were filmed to appease them. It’s surprising that director David R. Ellis didn’t learn from this experience for his next killer animal movie, “Shark Night 3D,” which garnered a limp PG-13 rating.
2. Anaconda (1997)
It’s hard to imagine a fate worse than being constricted until your bones snap, and then filling the belly of a giant killer snake while you’re still alive. But, between Jennifer Lopez’s atrocious acting and Jon Voight’s brain-meltingly bad accent, it would seem that there are worse things to endure. In its defense, when “Anaconda’s” practical effects are on display, the monster snake doesn’t look half bad … and neither does Kari Wuhrer, who keeps turning up in bad monster movies.
1. Lake Placid (1999)
Though much of it is wholly improbable and even the serious stuff tends to get silly, “Lake Placid” actually succeeds in providing as many laughs as it does thrills. The downfall here is that in the 82-minute runtime there are only two casualties (three if you count the bait cow that everyone conveniently forgets about once the crocodile shows up). Creature effects by Stan Winston hold up well, as do Oliver Platt’s one-liners and Bridget Fonda’s, uh … sass. Of course, we generally watch killer animal movies to see, well, animals kill people.