Remember me BEAST hits theaters on August 19.
Over the years, monster movies featuring deadly animals preying on human targets have become a fixture of Hollywood and have given audiences some of the biggest thrills and shivers on the big screen. We’ve seen it over and over with classics like JAWS and modern hits like CRAWL. And before the summer blockbuster season comes to an end, we see it again in BEAST, the upcoming thriller starring Idris Elba as a father trying to save his two daughters and himself from a cruel and extremely deadly lion.
But before we check out BEAST, which arrives at AMC Theaters across the country in August, let’s take another journey, one that explores some of the best animal films that roared into cinema history and became iconic for some reason. There are quite a few to unpack, so let’s get this exciting and terrifying show on the road…
Known as the ‘Master of Suspense’, Alfred Hitchcock has directed some of the most iconic thrillers and horror films to hit the big screen, including PSYCHO, REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO, to name a few. In 1963, Hitchcock added another classic to that list with the release of THE BIRDS, a gripping and traumatic film in which birds of all shapes and sizes begin to attack everyone in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the course of the film, characters like Melanie Dawes of Tippi Hedren and Mitch Brenner of Rod Taylor are attacked over and over by huge flocks of birds, while also trying to make sense of the madness.
And while the reason for the attacks in THE BIRDS is never explicitly stated in the film, there are plenty of theories about the sudden change in behavior that are a lot of fun to research and discuss. But one of the craziest aspects of the movie is that THE BIRDS was apparently inspired by a real-life incident that baffled Hitchcock a few years before its release.
Considered by some to be the first summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller JAWS is arguably one of the most terrifying movies about monster animals and one of the most decorated films of all time. The film revolves around a group of three men from completely different backgrounds – Roy Scheider as Police Chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as marine biologist Matt Hooper, and Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint – who set out for open waters to kill a huge great white man. kill shark that has brought death and chaos to Amity Island off the coast of New England.
With one memorable scene after another, as well as some of Spielberg’s most iconic shots, JAWS tells an incredible story of man moving from hunter to hunted. It’s hard to think of a movie that took the animal attack genre to the next level than the original JAWS.
Lewis Teague’s 1983 utterly terrifying horror film CUJO, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, centers on a family—Dee Wallace’s Donna Trenton, Daniel Hugh-Kelly’s Vic Trenton, and Danny Pintauro’s Tad Trenton—as they try to survive. an attack by a once friendly St. Bernard who has gone rabid after being bitten by a bat. The cruel and oversized Cujo will stop at nothing in his efforts to tear the family apart, even claiming the lives of several people. But like any good monster movie, there’s a lot more to the story than a huge dog going for death.
While CUJO is not in the same esteem as some of the other Stephen King adaptations, the film has become a cult classic in the nearly 40 years since its release. Oh, and there’s some impressive blood splattered in this scary and at times silly movie.
Hollywood legend Frank Marshall is best known for producing classics like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT and THE SIXTH SENSE, but the successful producer has also directed a number of films of his own over the years. Marshall first sat in the director’s chair for the 1990 horror film ARACHNOPHOBIA, which, as the name implies, revolves around a character – Dr. Jeff Daniels’ Ross Jennings – who is terrified of spiders. And the young doctor’s fears come true when he discovers his family’s new home in Northern California is infested by an army of deadly spiders.
And while ARACHNOPHOBIA is technically a horror comedy, don’t let this fool you into thinking it isn’t terrifying. Be prepared to overreact the first time you encounter a spider after seeing it. John Goodman’s portrayal of the arrogant and resourceful exterminator Delbert McClintock, however, adds some much-needed levity to the terrifying affair.
Alexandre Aja’s 2019 horror film CRAWL manages to take two very different genres – natural disasters and monster movies – and combines them to create one exciting and terrifying adventure. The film follows Kaya Scodelario’s Haley Keller, a college swimmer, who tries to save her father from a Category 5 hurricane. When Haley manages to reach her father, she finds him unconscious, but this soon becomes her least concern. While trying to save her father and his dog, the young woman is hunted by a group of alligators who use the flooded terrain as their new territory and kill anyone who stands in their way.
CRAWL isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but it does refine the animal attack premise to create a fun, exciting, and short-lived thriller about a woman who seizes the opportunity to beat the odds and make the person rescue that means the most to her.
These are just some of the great movies with terrifying animals, and there are also memorable movies like ANACONDA, LAKE PLACID, THE GRAY and so many others. And with BEAST storming into AMC Theaters nationwide this August, it doesn’t look like this incredibly terrifying and fun genre is going anywhere anytime soon.
Remember me BEAST hits theaters on August 19.