Feature: When Giant Animals Attack Simon Fitzjohn October 10, 2013 Editor's Choice, Features 2 Comments 4297 What is worse than a spider in your house? A spider as big as your house. To celebrate the release of Spiders 3D on DVD next week (which we’ll review here this weekend), we’ve pulled together some of our favourite giant animals movies from over the years. Here goes…… Sharknado (2013) ‘Enough said’ When a freak Hurricane descends upon Los Angeles, swarms of giant killer sharks come with it and take control of the land, air and sea whilst brutally terrorizing the local populace. This made-for-television disaster film is as exciting as it sounds; with sharks shooting through the air like missiles only to be taken out by a chainsaw wielding Fin (Ian Ziering). Tara Reid hilariously leads the cast in this thrilling and unconventionally funny horror movie. Mega Piranha (2013) ‘They said it was safe to go back in the water. They lied.’ Special Forces Agent Finch (Paul Logan) and Professor Sarah Monroe (Tiffany) team up to fight a mutant strain of piranhas that have escaped from the Amazon as they chomp their way towards Florida. Produced by The Asylum, and in their tradition, this is a mockbuster of ‘Piranha 3D’, and bad movie enthusiasts will undoubtedly enjoy watching giant Piranhas propelling themselves into the Florida coastline, laying waste to all in their path. Mighty Joe Young (1998) ‘Survival is an instinct’ Ron Underwood (City Slickers, Tremors) directs this Disney family film in which the giant Gorilla Mighty Joe Young is brought back to America from the jungle in order to keep him safe from poachers. However his past catches up with him and the mighty gorilla escapes, running wild in Hollywood whilst being spurred on by tormentors intent on taking revenge upon the gorilla. An all-star cast including Bill Paxton, Charlize Theron and Rade Serbedzija (Snatch) help and pursue the gigantic ape in this Oscar-nominated (Best Visual-Effects) family adventure. Them! (1954) ‘The city is under martial law until we annihilate THEM!’ Police Sgt. Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) and his partner find a child wandering alone in the New Mexico desert, and they soon discover that nuclear tests have caused common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters. Even after the destruction of the colony in New Mexico, they soon discover that two queen ants have escaped to LA and are starting an even bigger colony in the underground of the city. It becomes a test against time as Sgt. Peterson and his colleagues must try and get there in time to destroy the colony and save human civilisation. Them! is one of a small handful of vintage science-fiction thrillers that manage to hold up as well today as when it was first released. It is certainly the high point in the careers of director Gordon Douglas and scenarists Ted Sherman and George Worthing Yates. Empire of the Ants (1977) ‘For they shall inherit earth…sooner than you think’ Loosely based on a story by H.G Wells, the less than scrupulous business woman Joan Collins tries to scam a group of naive souls into investing in a worthless housing development in the Florida everglades. However the party stumble upon a nuclear waste dump in the area, and as a result must flee from a pack of huge mutated ants that have unfortunately developed a rather nasty disposition for human blood. Empire of the Ants is one of those unintentionally funny ‘B’ movies that are so bad that they have a kind of cheesy entertaining value, and still manage to leave their mark. Eight Legged Freaks (2002) ‘Do you hate spiders? Do you really hate spiders? Well they don’t like you either.’ In this throwback to the monster movies of the 1950s, David Arquette returns to his economically depressed town aptly named Prosperity, Arizona. Unfortunately his return coincides with a toxic-waste spillage in the water system, a spillage which occurs next to the local spider farm. Consequently the spiders grow to the size of cars, and begin laying waste to the sleepy town. Beginning with the annihilation of the town’s pets and ostriches, and culminating with a full-scale battle between the towns-folk and hordes of giant spiders, the carnage in Eight Legged Freaks won’t fail to impress. The film was originally titled ‘Arac Attack’, however the producers were concerned that this was a too close to ‘Iraq Attack’ thus changed it last minute due to the possible political connotations. King Kong (1933) ‘A monster of creation’s dawn breaks loose on the world of today!’ A film crew led by the charismatic producer Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) seek to finish their movie in the perfect location, Skull Island. The crew and their new leading lady, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), do not know why the island is so mysterious and what they will encounter there. They soon encounter a colossal gorilla hidden deep in the island who takes a shine on their female blonde star. One of the best adventure-horror movies ever made, King Kong remains an icon of pop culture with truly emotional and underlying erotic scenes between Fay Wray and the giant gorilla. Anaconda (1997) ‘When you can’t breathe you can’t scream’ A documentary crew looking for a tribe called ‘the People of the Mist’ up the Amazon River come across a terrifying, man-eating Anaconda in this thriller. Film-maker Jennifer Lopez and her film crew consisting of cameraman Ice Cube, sound man Owen Wilson, anthropologist Eric Stoltz among others come across mysterious stranger Jon Voight whose boat has sunk and is in desperate need of help. His claims of being able to help prove false, however, when rather than leading them to the tribe they wish to document he takes them to the hunting ground of the fearsome Anaconda; a snake so huge its swallows its victims whole, vomits them out again, and then proceeds to eat them for a second time. This trashily entertaining reptilian rip-off of Jaws set in the steamy Amazon doesn’t take itself too seriously, and Jon Voight as an eerie Paraguayan snake hunter certainly steals the show. The CGI for the Anaconda cost a whopping $100,000 a second. Crocodile (2000) ‘The fear won’t tear you up, but it will’ A group of teenage friends go out on a boat trip on a lake in Southern California, however their fun weekend in the sun quickly turns into horror when a giant killer crocodile begins searching for its stolen eggs and will show no mercy to anyone who gets in its way. From director Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) this somewhat standard story of a group of teens being terrorised on spring break is far more entertaining than one might first believe. We could also throw in Jaws (and Jaws: The Revenge of course) and how about the likes of Alligator, Lake Placid or Grizzly? Why not let us know your favourite giant animal movie below….. 2 Responses Ant October 12, 2013 I know that by “giant” it would mean-bigger than the norm…. but my film to throw in here has to be Jurassic park…. Or as sharknado made the list, it would be criminal not to have a spot for little shop of horrors in there somewhere! Col Kenobi October 12, 2013 I can’t that believe the only mention of Tremors in this article is about Ron Underwood directing Mighty Joe Young! It is easily the best film about giant underground worms in the desert that has ever been made!