The film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” opened Aug. 5 in the U.S. The film, directed by Rupert Wyatt, is a prequel to “Planet of the Apes” set in the present day, when man’s experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of superintelligent apes. This week, the List looks at some of the scariest movies involving animals.
- Rogue, 2008 (saltwater crocodile) — Unsuspecting tourists on a riverboat become the meal of choice for a monster saltwater crocodile in this entertaining suspense thriller set in Australia’s Northern Territory.
- Anaconda, 1997 (large anaconda) — Call this one, set in Brazil at the mouth of the Amazon, “Jaws in the Jungle.” Jennifer Lopez and a boat full of dispensable characters battle with a 40-foot-long reptile that crushes its victims and swallows them whole.
- Piranha, 1978 (piranhas) — Teenagers exploring an abandoned military installation take a dip in what appears to be a swimming pool and suddenly are attacked by an unseen force and disappear under the water. These are not goldfish.
- Them! 1954 (ants) — Man encounters a nest of gigantic irradiated ants in this American black-and-white science-fiction film. Since its original release, “Them!” has become regarded generally as one of the very best science-fiction films of the 1950s.
- Congo, 1995 (gorillas) — Laura Linney and Tim Curry star in “Congo,” based on the 1980 Michael Crichton best-seller about a booby-trapped expedition into the jungle that has to fight off a species of killer apes called “gray gorillas.”
- Lake Placid, 1999 (giant crocodiles) — In a bit of a slapdash spoof of “Jaws,” a gigantic crocodile savages a moose, a bear and several head of cattle before underestimating a human hunting party and ending up caged in the cockpit of a helicopter.
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1954 (giant squid) — Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus battle a giant squid in this Jules Verne classic. The giant-squid battle sequence is amazing.
- King Kong, 1933 (giant ape) — The film contains one of the indelible scenes in film history, when Kong stands atop the Empire State Building and battles a swarm of fighter planes.
- Cujo, 1983 (Saint Bernard dog) — One of the best films from a Stephen King book, “Cujo” is about a killer Saint Bernard dog that has rabies and becomes demonic. This is one nasty dog.
- Jurassic Park, 1993 (velociraptors) — Steven Spielberg’s big-screen treatment of Michael Crichton’s novel about a dinosaur theme park gone mad is brilliantly done. Nothing is safe in this futuristic theme park on a private island devoted to resurrecting dinosaurs that suddenly turn on the humans. It stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum.
- Arachnophobia, 1990 (spiders) — Spiders are not animals, but you get the point. Just when you thought it was safe to go play in the barn, along comes a spider who makes killer bees look like Bambi. A deadly spider, transported in the coffin of photographer bitten in a Venezuelan rain forest, suddenly runs havoc in a sleepy American hamlet.
- The Birds, 1963 (birds) — The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, turned this short story by Daphne du Maurier into a horror classic. Birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people in a Northern California town.
- Jaws, 1975 (great white shark) — Steven Spielberg’s film about a killer shark terrorizing beach-goers is the benchmark for all scary films involving animals. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” says Roy Scheider in one of cinematic history’s most memorable lines. The film frightened some moviegoers out of the water for years.
Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: Associated Press, Wikipedia and The Washington Times.
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