Survival of the fittest: Hollywood's 10 wildest man vs. beast movies – The A.V. Club

Within the new film Beast, Idris Elba fights for his life—and the lives of his two younger daughters—towards a ferocious, man-eating, and really hungry lion. The trailer alone has folks recoiling in concern. After all, that is removed from the primary man vs. beast battle in Hollywood historical past. Listed here are 10 creature face-off movies with actual tooth (or, in a single case, tusks).
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There are many nice kills in Lake Placid (1999), which earned its R-rating after which some. Steve Miner, whose different horror outings embody Friday The thirteenth Half 2, Friday The thirteenth Half III, Home, Warlock, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and Day Of The Lifeless, is aware of his means round dismembering folks. To be honest, the most effective scene in Lake Placid might be one through which expensive, candy, psychotic Betty White beckons the movie’s monstrous 30-foot-long crocodile to return and get its supper—a cow that will get devoured in an excellent extensive shot. However amongst its human victims, we’ll go together with a scene on a ship the place Deputy Burke (Jed Rees) leans over the sting and loses his head to the croc whereas poor Bridget Fonda screams in terror. It’s an impeccably shot sequence constructed on the misdirection that Fonda or Invoice Pullman or Oliver Platt will truly be croc meals. In the meantime, anybody keep in mind who wrote Lake Placid? It was none aside from esteemed tv author David E. Kelley!
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Cujo is the sweetest St. Bernard on Earth—no less than till he’s bitten by a rabid bat and goes bonkers. Lewis Teague, who’d beforehand directed the low-budget man-vs-beastie gem Alligator, directed Cujo, the 1983 big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. The ultimate showdown between protecting mother Donna (Dee Wallace) and Cujo is stable, however predictable. Extra satisfying is the sequence through which Cujo—bloodied, face oozing gunk—assaults Donna and her son Tad (Danny Pintauro of Who’s The Boss?!!) as they sit helplessly, out within the open, of their broken-down Ford Pinto. Cujo snarls and snaps nastily as he sticks his head by way of the automotive’s window and repeatedly rams the automotive. It’s a violent, claustrophobic sequence that Wallace and Pintauro play to the hilt, which was pulled off with the assistance of a number of specifically educated canines, a mechanical pooch, and even a stuntman in a canine swimsuit. And also you’ve received to like the kicker line of dialogue: “It’s not a monster,” Donna says, attempting and failing spectacularly to calm Tad. “It’s only a doggie.”
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Alexandre Aja went balls to the wall with Piranha 3D, his 2010 remake of Joe Dante’s 1978 Piranha, delivering a delirious mixture of horror and comedy that’s exemplified by the scene through which kid-hating, coke-snorting, porn-making, world-class asshole Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell) finds himself within the water, gushing blood, as a swarm of piranha devour his physique. With the assistance of a nubile babe, Danni (Kelly Brook), he drags himself onto a ship—and we get the large reveal. He’s been chewed to the bone from his waist down, and Danni makes use of an oar to swat the still-eating piranha off him. O’Connell then delivers the road of the film: “They took my penis!” Gory and twisted and humorous as hell, Derrick’s demise is intercut with Jessica Szohr frantically dodging piranha on the boat itself, whereas a few little kids take all of it in. And the whole lot, together with Derrick’s dick floating within the water, is all in wonderful 3D!
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Moviegoers have been handled to plenty of films pitting man towards arachnids and their genetic cousins, together with Kingdom Of The Spiders, Eight-Legged Freaks, Large Ass Spiders, Lavalantula, and Spider-Man, in fact. But when we’re speaking about probably the most memorable film moments/scenes, we’re staff Arachnophobia. Frank Marshall, making his directing debut, by no means fairly decides if his film is a horror story or a comedy—Disney billed it as a “thrill-omedy,” however he builds stress in scene after scene as an previous man places on his slippers, a soccer participant dons his helmet, till ultimately, spiders burst by way of a toilet sink, pop up in a rest room, and terrorize a teen as she showers. However greatest and creepiest of all is the ultimate sequence through which Dr. Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels), who’s spent most of Arachnophobia cowering on the sight of spiders, takes on lots of them within the cellar of his dwelling. Marshall shot many of the scene at midnight, in a decent set, with actual and faux spiders creeping alongside, and he captures Jennings’ concern fantastically, together with the a-ha second through which Jennings realizes, “Oh shit, I’m within the goddamn nest.”
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Bears, like spiders, are a big-screen staple and so they’ve served as significantly formidable antagonists in Grizzly and The Edge. However nothing, and this bears repeating, nothing beats Backcountry. Younger couple Jen (Missy Peregrym) and Alex (Jeff Roop) head into the woods for an journey he plans to cap with a wedding proposal. However when he injures his leg, abruptly he’s bear bait. The bear assaults Jen and Alex of their tent, clawing at them, baring its tooth. Alex can barely battle again. Jen fires bear spray at it, however that solely briefly holds the bear off. It then snags Alex, yanks him out of the tent, and eats him till the anguished screaming subsides. Director Adam MacDonald provides viewers time to know and like Jen and Jeff earlier than placing them by way of seven minutes of hell. The scene, realized with an actual bear and puppets, delivers a grasp class in ratcheting stress. MacDonald shot it hand-held in a Blair Witch/shaky-cam type with a mixture of close-ups and extensive photographs, and from inside and outdoors the tent. And he doesn’t stint on the gore, because the digicam captures Jeff’s mangled face after which his gutted, bloodied physique.
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The Ghost And The Darkness, Stephen Hopkins’ 1996 adaptation of the non-fiction ebook The Man-Eaters Of Tsavo by John Henry Patterson, pits Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer towards the title characters, a pair of male lions that terrorized staff in and round Tsavo, Kenya, within the late 1800s. There’s a cool scene through which the Ghost and the Darkness—these are the lions’ names—assault Douglas and Kilmer, and one other well-executed sequence through which the lions bloodbath a makeshift hospital. However the man-vs-beast cash shot comes on the very finish. Douglas is useless and so is without doubt one of the lions. The surviving lion chases Kilmer, who climbs up a tree. He tosses a rifle which flies by way of the air—in slo-mo, natch—and hits the bottom. Kilmer jumps down from the tree, rolls in the direction of the rifle, and kills the lion simply earlier than it could possibly kill him. There’s no foolish celebration, only a sigh of aid. It’s thrilling stuff, nimbly lower collectively, and complemented by sound modifying so good it received an Oscar.
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Luis Llosa knew his means round a superb motion scene, as he’d confirmed with Sniper and The Specialist. And he delivered a bunch of them within the shock hit Anaconda, through which the largest fucking snake you’ve ever seen assaults the crew (Jennifer Lopez, Ice Dice, Kari Wuhrer, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson) of a documentary being shot within the Amazon. Supposedly serving to the crew is a jerk of a snake hunter named Paul (Jon Voight). Wilson dies a fairly good dying, squeezed by the snake and pulled into the water, however Voight’s demise is one for the ages. The snake is coiled round Lopez and Dice, who’re already tied up (by Voight, utilizing them as bait), constricting tighter and tighter. Voight shoots at it, and it chases him up a ladder, which then comes crashing down. The snake, with an help from Dice, coils round Voight. And right here’s the place the enjoyable begins. Llosa goes in tight on Voight’s face almost popping, then to a close-up of the pissed-off snake, then again to Voight’s head, then to Lopez and Dice, and to an overhead shot of the snake unhinging its mouth and shutting in on Voight’s head. Then, Llosa delivers one of many nuttier photographs ever, as we’re now contained in the snake’s mouth! Lastly, we get a large shot of the snake devouring Voight complete. And it simply retains going, because the snake regurgitates a venom-mutilated Voight … who winks at Lopez earlier than lastly dying. It’s 5 stable minutes of bravura, batshit-crazy filmmaking (realized largely with sensible results vs CG).
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Everybody round John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is useless, picked off one after the other by wolves after their airplane crash-lands within the wilds of Alaska. Ottway, within the closing moments of Joe Carnahan’s The Gray, realizes he’s sitting in the midst of a wolves’ den, with the alpha wolf eyeballing him. It’s been Ottway’s job to kill wolves, and now they’re able to return the favor. However that is Liam Neeson, and he received’t go down with out a battle, proper? Proper. Although, correctly, we don’t see the battle. Carnahan reveals Ottway making his peace, flashes again to recollections of his spouse (a key reveal) and childhood, lets him quote a poem (“As soon as extra into the fray/Into the final battle I’ll ever know/Stay and die on this present day/Stay and die on this present day”), and depicts him greedy a knife and strapping damaged mini-bottles of liquor onto his palms. Then, Ottway’s eyes slim, he begins to lunge ahead, and… fade to black. It’s a shocking ultimate scene, unrushed, elegiac, and given added emotional heft by Marc Streitenfeld’s spot-on rating. Fact be instructed, although, we’re nonetheless unsure what to make of The Gray’s quick post-credits scene.
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Russell Mulcahy made his characteristic directing debut with the Australian horror flick Razorback. Sure, it’s a few huge murderous pig. Two scenes vie for best-of honors. The opening sequence begins with an older man sweetly placing his grandson to sleep in a crib when the boar wreaks havoc. It’s quick and fiery and violent, and Mulcahy immerses you within the explosive motion. Much more highly effective is the grand finale. The movie’s central character, an American named Carl (Gregory Harrison), has already contended with the dying of his spouse, the actions of two native jerks, and assaults by wild pigs and the killer boar, when all of it boils all the way down to a battle between Carl and the raging razorback in a cannery stuffed with hanging animal carcasses. Carl attracts the creature onto a conveyor belt, which deposits it right into a meat grinder, the place it screeches horrifically because it’s pulverized. The outsized pig is a sensible marvel, and Mulcahy doesn’t stint on the gore, thereby making the movie’s ending, as famous, even higher than its exhilarating starting.
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We thought for a second about going with the insane scene from Deep Blue Sea through which a genetically engineered shark snuffs out Samuel L. Jackson in the midst of a rousing speech. Jackson was billed because the star, and his dying left the viewers surprised. The gasps had been audible. But when we’re speaking sharks, we’ve received to go together with Jaws. And if we’re going with Steven Spielberg’s 1975 traditional, we’ve received to spotlight the extraordinary “You’re gonna want an even bigger boat” sequence. Positive, there are extra visceral scenes. Sure, the kills and soar scares are thrilling. However this scene prefaces most of what’s to return. There’s the priceless interplay between Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), Quint (Robert Shaw), and Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) on the boat. Brody tosses chum into the water, prompting the shark to spring into view proper in entrance of him. Shocked and silent, cigarette nonetheless in his mouth, Brody walks backward towards Quint and utters the well-known line. The shark then swims towards the boat, accompanied by John Williams’ iconic dun-dun-dun-dun rating, and circles the boat, letting Hooper, Quint, and Brody measurement up the enemy: 25 toes lengthy and three tons. The scene, like the entire film, is elegant.

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