To keep the horror movie machine running, writers and producers must come up with new incarnations of evil to throw at us. It’s innovate or perish on Horror Island, and every year we get the cream of the crop and the cream of the crap (cream of the crap, by the way, is the worst-selling Campbell’s soup of all time). Which is why, when ideas are slow, we get killer animal movies.
?And if it’s a naturally scary beast, it can lead to some good nightmares. Jaws, The Birds, and anything with Crocosaurus is going to be a decent rental. But then there are some that we just have to hold up our hands and say, “My disbelief can’t be suspended for that long.” Here are some of the least terrifying critters to ever grace the silver screen.
10) Deep Sea Worms
Any monster becomes a horror movie monster when given a dose of radiation, so I’m going to give the caveat that the movies themselves may be scary while the animals they depict are, in themselves, not. Take for instance the deep sea worms in Deep Rising. In the movie, they’re more or less nasty sea serpents. In real life? They’re mindless sea creatures about 3-inches long that look like dicks. They’re also extinct. So they’re dead micro-weenises that burrow into the sand and stay there all the time. I’m… I’m not inclined to have recurring nightmares about that, no matter how you dress it up.
Humans regularly do experiments on cows. We dose them with all sorts of antibiotics and drugs and hormones and whatnot and in the end, we still have the basic model of cow as we started with. They eat grass and wander about to find more grass. Which is why Isolation doesn’t get my adrenaline flowing. Mutant armored cow, sure, but a mutant cow is still a cow. When drunk teenagers have no fear of your monster, you’re already starting from a position of weakness.
8) Goblin Sharks
Shark movies, yes, I get it. Sharks gonna eat ya, they exist only to eat things and gobble them up. However, the goblin shark, like the one in Malibu Shark Attack, won’t. Because humans rarely ever see them. They live on the bottom of the ocean and have a dynamite time eating crabs. The only times we come in contact with them are when they get caught in nets by accident. I can understand why they’d be a villain in a movie, as they’re ugly as sin, but they’re harmless and couldn’t give a fuck about you. Creepy-looking, but dull. Slow loris are creepy-looking too, but not horror film material.
Whatever, Killer Shrews, no one thought you were scary. A giant shrew is more or less a dog, right? (And they were! In the film! Dogs! Friendly dogs! Dogs with carpet fragments on them!) And we regularly catch dogs, both big and small, when they’ve been bad and either spank them with a newspaper or send them to the pound like in Lady and the Tramp where they sing songs and get killed if no one picks them up.
Beetles have been the antagonists in Caved In: Prehistoric Terror and Bug, and you just can’t shake the feeling that beetles, while annoying, would probably still only be annoying if they got bigger. No one particularly likes them, but we don’t evacuate the beach when we see a few of them hanging out. They can be crushed under things, poisoned pretty easily, and probably burn pretty well. Sorry, beetles.
5) Gila Monsters
You might think that gila monsters are kinda scary, because they’re poisonous. And a movie, like The Giant Gila Monster, about things that can inject you with poison, of any size, are worrisome. Except the gila monster’s poison glands are in its back teeth and it needs to really give you a few good chomps to actually do any damage, which is generally minimal. Gila monsters? Not scary. Giant gila monsters? Also not scary, but they are annoying, as they knock things over. A runaway elephant would have had about as much damage as a runaway big dumb lizard, who I’d imagine would just want to sun himself on a rock for a while.
You know, I’m not going to buy it, Black Sheep. Your premise is solid, and as a joke it works, but sheep ain’t scary and won’t ever be scary. People have a natural fear of sharks and spiders, but sheep are just there for lonely men to have relations with. It’s like making a horror movie about a killer cantaloupe with a hole cut in it and microwaved for 20 seconds.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 made the most of giant bug movies. Beginning of the End goes by it’s more common name, “the one where the big grasshoppers climb on postcards of buildings in Chicago.” And yes, giant anything is going to be annoying, but if America can create a neutron bomb, we can find a way to kill big insects. Grasshoppers are not particularly aggressive, they just go where the food and the sex is. It’s not like they’re waiting for you at home with some chloroform and some baling wire.
I saw Squirm on MST3K, and let me tell you, I had never been as not afraid of worms as I was after watching that. A bunch of “mutant” (aka “annoyed by electricity”) worms swarm and take over a small town full of hillbillies. Worms. Blind, aimless worms. These worms could supposedly bite, but the only way they could get high enough to do damage was if they all piled on top of each other behind a door, and fell on the person who opened the door. I believe that if you took that same door and lay it on the worms and then jumped on it a few times, your worm problems might be over.
Have you ever owned a frog? Were you one of those kids who got the moist terrarium and set up a few tree frogs for fun? I was. The frog was boring. It stuck to the glass its entire life, until it decided to drown itself in the water bowl. The movie Frogs puts forth the idea that multiple frogs (as well as their friends, turtles) are dangerous to man. When frogs get pissed, they get pissed, and only Sam Elliot can save us. But they’re frogs, one of the most run-over-by-cars animals in history. If you have a good jeep, you’ve beaten the invasion.