We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
Top 7 "When Animals Attack "Movies This weekend's Furry Vengeance may make you wish for a good old-fashioned homicidal animal on a rampage movie. Sure you could sit in front of Syfy and watch "Megashark" or "Megadodo," but you're a connoisseur, you read The Scorecard Review, you want the best. Here are a list of the finest films featuring angry, overlarge, killer beasts.
7. Alligator (1980)
Recap: Do you remember that urban legend about alligators in the sewers? Well this film, written by John Sayles (of Eight Men Out fame) posits that a baby alligator, flushed down a toilet in Chicago grows over time into a huge behemoth. Soon the entire city of Chicago is in a panic with only cop David Madison (Robert Forster) standing between the populace and man-eating reptilian destruction. Reason: Sure it's cheesy, but have you seen the scene where the alligator shows up at the pool party? Pretty sweet. Plus Robert Forster is awesome. Also the alligator gets the crap blown out of him at the end, which is the way all evil animals should die.
Recap: During the construction of a railroad in Africa, two lions begin a reign of terror, picking off workmen. Big game hunter Charles Remington (Michael Douglas) is called in to kill the beasts and get the project back on track. Reason: The idea of rooting for a big game hunter in this day and age of endangered species seems weird; but the film still manages to be an exciting story, made more interesting by the fact that it's actually based on real events. The real Tsavo man eaters (what the lions are called) are reputed to have killed and eaten up to 135 men. The character of Remington is fictional, based on a real hunter called in to take out the lions, but that just lets Douglas get all scenery-chewy in a good way. And yes, those bastards are hard to kill.
5. Arachnophobia (1990)
Recap: A deadly South American arachnid hitches a ride to California in a coffin (belonging to one of it's victims) before proceeding to raise a new, very large family. When the spiders are discovered, it's up to a small town doctor (Jeff Daniels) and a slightly unhinged exterminator (John Goodman) to save the world from spidergeddon. Reason: Both a throwback to the B-movies of the '50s and a fun horror comedy, Arachnophobia is a really enjoyable movie. Daniels plays it pretty straight as a man afraid of spiders who ends up having to go up against the most horrible spiders ever. Though they don't bug me normally, I jumped quite a few times while watching this. Goodman gives a Barton Fink type performance, only less crazy and more appropriate for a family movie.
4. Grizzly Man (2005)
Recap: In Werner Herzog's documentary about Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, who were killed by grizzlies in Alaska in 2003, Herzog tries to understand Treadwell, who lived with the grizzlies for 13 summers, shooting footage to raise awareness about the plight of bears in the wild. The events leading up to the bear attack are unknown, though there was a camera that recorded audio of the attack. Reason: The other films on this list are fun and sometimes scary, but this one is downright heart wrenching. Treadwell may have been misguided, but he genuinely seemed to believe that if he behaved a certain way, the bears would never attack him. His death seems both inevitable and tragic though Herzog steers away from making any firm conclusions. Treadwell's footage suggests that there was an unfamiliar bear in the area who was behaving in an aggressive manner that may have been the culprit. But really the lesson that we learn from all animal attack movies applies here as well, do not mess with nature, especially when it creates huge, killer animals.
Recap: A new police chief (Roy Scheider) is looking forward to spending a relaxing summer in the seaside community of Amity Island. So naturally, a ginormous great white shark chooses that summer to start shish kabobbing tourists. In the interest of saving the local economy, and also any person crazy enough to venture a limb into the water, the town brings in an old salty dog who hunts sharks (Robert Shaw) as well as a scientist (Richard Dreyfuss) to go kill the beast. Reason: Of course I'm including Jaws! The first great American blockbuster after which all summer movies are modeled, it's also one of the greatest man vs. nature movies ever. The first half of the film is all about watching people innocently venture into the water before getting turned into bloody whirlpools. The second is a first rate showdown between three men on a surprisingly small boat and a fish with a tiny brain but huge teeth. The year it came out millions stayed out of the water. Seriously, the first time you went to the beach after seeing Jaws, could you go for a swim without looking everywhere for dorsal fins? It's been imitated but no one has made a killer sea creature movie that's better.
2. The Birds (1963)
Recap: A handsome young lawyer (Rod Taylor) is followed to his family's home in an isolated coastal community by a socialite (Tippi Hedren) where she's attacked by a seagull. Over the course of the weekend, bird attacks keep happening, culminating in an all out assault on the whole community. Also, they blow up a gas station which is pretty advanced for birds. Reason: Because for years I couldn't walk near the macaws at the pet store. This film freaked me the hell out when I first saw it and I was never the same after. For one thing I do not trust birds at all. For another, it introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock and showed me that a horror movie didn't have to have Freddy or Jason, but could make a pigeon scary. The most terrifying part, there's never an explanation for why the birds are attacking. Don't look into their beady little eyes and try to tell me they want anything other than sweet murder.
1. Jurassic Park (1993)
Recap: A group of scientists and two lucky children are granted a tour of the as-yet-unopened first zoo featuring cloned dinosaurs! It's all perfectly safe and nothing can go wrong, until everything goes to hell and people start getting eaten right and left. Reason: Because it's the best dinosaur movie ever! Dinosaurs are cool, I love seeing their skeletons at the museum. But Spielberg really wants you to know that if you mess with nature, it will mess with you right back, especially if it's full of alpha predators. Author and screenwriter Michael Crichton's science is credible enough to be believable to the layman so you can enjoy everything going to hell in a handbasket without worrying about how this could never happen. Instead, I found myself hoping that this would never happen. Well mostly, there's still a little part of me that thinks visiting Jurassic Park would be totally awesome.