Rupert Pupkin Speaks: When Animals(and Insects) Attack! ""

Friday, March 5, 2010

When Animals(and Insects) Attack!

Along with disaster movies, I am also quite passionate about "animals attack" films. The two genres are intertwined and there is some cross-over in several cases. They range from classics like JAWS, THEM and THE BIRDS on down to some considerably weaker fare. I love of all them. Like disaster films and slashers, there is a recognizable structure in place. Often an inciting incident sets up the threat and then we have a 'discovery' section which also involves introducing the many characters that will soon be in peril from fish, ants, baboons, bees, rats, dogs, bears and so forth. I am always amazed too look at the pool of talented directors who've taken a shot at one of these films. A lot of high profile folks like Spielberg, James Cameron and Joe Dante really more or less kicked off their careers with this genre. And then of course you've got one of my favorite entries from Hitchcock here as well. Robert Clouse, who is probably more well known for his martial arts films(most famously ENTER THE DRAGON and the fantastic BLACK BELT JONES) also quite adept at making these films and has turned in a couple of my favorites(William Girdler showed up twice as well). I love that these films never seem to totally go out of style. They just keep making them! The recent release of BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR, which seems to exhibit a Wiseau-like proficiency has me quite excited I must say, but then I'm also really excited to see MALIBU SHARK ATTACK...

1. Jaws(1975; Steven Spielberg)
2. Them(1954; Gordon Douglas)
3. The Birds(1963; Alfred Hitchcock)
4. Deadly Eyes(1982; Robert Clouse)
5. Kingdom of the Spiders(1977; 'Bud' Cardos)
6. The Pack(1977; Robert Clouse)
7. Alligator(1980; Lewis Teague)
8. Phase IV(1974; Saul Bass)
9. Grizzly(1976; William Girdler)
10. The Bees(1978; Alfredo Zacarias)
11. The Swarm(1978; Irwin Allen)
12. Day of the Animals(1977; William Girdler)
13. Piranha(1978; Joe Dante)
14. Prophecy(1979; John Frankenmeimer)
15. Of Unknown Origin(1983; George P. Cosmatos)
16. Infestation(2009; Kyle Rankin)
17. Orca(1977; Michael Anderson)
18. Shakma(1990; Tom Logan)
19. Dark Age(1987; Arch Nicholson)
20. Tarantula(1955; Jack Arnold)
21. Tentacles(1977; Ovidio G. Assonitis)
22. Killer Fish(1979; Antonio Margheriti)
23. The Naked Jungle(1954; Byron Haskin)
24. Sands of the Kalahari(1965; Cy Enfield)
25. Rogue(2007; Greg Mclean)
26. Deep Blue Sea(1999; Renny Harlin)
27. Razorback(1984; Russell Mulcahy)
28. Piranha II: The Spawning(1981; James Cameron)
29. Ben(1972; Phil Karlson)
30. In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro(1986; Raju Patel)
31. The Savage Bees(1976; Bruce Geller)
32. The Beasts Are on the Streets(1978; Peter R. Hunt)
33. Night of the Lepus(1972; William F. Claxton)
34. Food of the Gods(1976; Bert I. Gordon)

Honorable mentions:
Ants!(1977), Arachnophobia, Congo, Empire of the Ants, Frankenfish, Jaws of Satan, Lake Placid, Open Water, Rats(1984), Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo, Terror Out of the Sky, The Wild Beasts, Willard...

As always, if there are suggestions from your own favorites that you think I've missed, please leave a comment and let me know!


btsjunkie said...

Another great list. Glad to see Girdler represented (really, how could one not include at least 1 of his films) and I totally would take GRIZZLY over DAY OF THE ANIMALS as well. Remember LOVING the hell out of it but need to rewatch it soon to remember exactly why. Also love seeing SHAKMA on there!

Rupert Pupkin said...

Thanks for the kind words sir! Yeah GRIZZLY is one of the best JAWS knockoffs out there for my money. And boy does it copy the JAWS structure/characters exactly! DAY OF THE ANIMALS is worth it for the Leslie Nielsen freak-out alone. SHAKMA, though not nearly as good as that trailer, needs to be seen. It's that simple...

Ned Merrill said...

Holy shit, dude! You have seen a ton of these. Am I mistaken or did you and I see DEEP BLUE SEA way back when it opened in Madison?

Rupert Pupkin said...

That's very possible man. I have this image of seeing it at the University Square Four or something...

MrJeffery said...

I'm a fan of these as well! It's pretty terrible but Empire of the Ants sticks with me. Deadly Eyes looks/sounds amazing!

Rupert Pupkin said...

I forgot EMPIRE OF THE ANTS! That's a pretty fun little camp classic. Every time I do a new list, there are always so many I leave out! That made me think of ANTS(also from 1977). I need to add both to honorable mentions. DEADLY EYES is pretty great. And pretty Canadian(I can't remember if they say what city its supposed to be in). Any film with Scatman in a supporting role deserves a look at least.

HalfManHalfMovie said...

I that think "Orca" belongs on a separate "Killer Whale Early Pregnancy Terminated By Richard Harris" list.

I'm sure this has happened to him before.

'Wolfen" is awesome, but not really a disaster unless you're old, sickly or not a Native American.

There's a cool scene where Tom Noonan gets eaten. This is after he's given a speech about how the wolf has been getting bad press for years and how he loves them and all this shit. Gregory Hines is great as a coroner. He can coron even better than he dances.

The "Food Of The Gods" giant chicken attack sequence is a favorite of mine and the most perfect integration of live actors and real hens that I had seen until "Avatar."

Wouldn't Hitchcock would happy to know he appears in a list with "Piranha 2 - The Spawning."

Good Job Rupert.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Yeah I thought about putting WOLFEN on the list, I like that film. Couldn't remember how werewolf-y it was though so I left it off. You are correct though. Gregory Hines can coron like no one's busines! It's funny how Bert I. Gordon can make you sometimes think of James Cameron isn't it?

Ned Merrill said...

"That's very possible man. I have this image of seeing it at the University Square Four or something..."

That's where it was. I remember actively disliking it at the time and you were in agreement with me. I feel like we did a lot of laughing at this film rather than with it. I guess you have come around to its pleasures...

Rupert Pupkin said...

yeah DEEP BLUE SEAS badness has really grown on me over the years. Just so silly. I mean LL Cool J and that parrot?? come on...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Great list as always! Nice to see Alligator and Phase IV so high on the list.

I need to Deadly Eyes one of these days. I recently tried to watch Grizzly 2. That movie is bad in a level of its own.

- Vikke_AJ

Unknown said...

I recently watched a small budget shark movie called THE REEF. I though it was pretty decent. It's too bad that they did not make the MEG movie.

I guess DEEP RISING can also be considered a Animal Attack film :)


- Vikke_AJ

Rupert Pupkin said...

Vikke-AJ-thanks! Yeah animals attack is a genre near and dear to me for sure. I really need to check out THE REEF, heard good things!

David Sal said...