For the purposes of this list, I’m using Creature Features to refer to ‘natural horror’ (not aliens or supernatural beasties) and I am focusing solely on fun cheesy offerings (not classic natural horrors like Jaws or The Birds). I’m looking at B-movie-style animal flicks which – for all their issues with plot, acting and/or special effects – you can’t help but love!
5 – Anaconda (1997)
- Director: Luis Llosa
- Writer: Hans Bauer, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr.
- Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz
‘Please people, don’t make me out a monster. I didn’t eat the captain Mateo!’
A documentary crew travelling in the Amazon jungle, searching for a lost tribe, are taken hostage by a crazed hunter on a quest to capture a giant Anaconda. It doesn’t go very well!
(An honorary mention to the movie Rogue, which is a great killer croc flick, but didn’t quite make the list because I’m so fond of the absurdity of Anaconda!)
4 – Black Sheep (2006)
- Director: Jonathan King
- Writer: Jonathan King
- Cast: Nathan Meister, Danielle Mason, Peter Feeney
‘Ovinophobia, my therapist calls it.’
A farm boy with a fear of sheep returns home and discovers that his brother has been genetically messing with their herd. The sheep get murderous, and any humans who are attacked find themselves becoming …erm… were-sheep.
3 – Lake Placid (1999)
- Director: Steve Miner
- Writer: David E. Kelly
- Cast: Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt
‘I’m rooting for the crocodile. I hope he swallows your friends whole.’
A giant man-eating crocodile takes up residence in Black Lake, so the local Sheriff teams up with an uptight palaeontologist and rich crocodile nut/mythology professor to try to stop the croc.
2 – Piranha (2010)
- Director: Alexandre Aja
- Writer: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
- Cast: Steven R. McQueen, Elisabeth Shue, Kelly Brook
‘There are thousands of them and they are pissed!’
Thousands of flesh-eating prehistoric piranhas are released into Lake Victoria when a chasm is opened by an underwater tremor, just in time for spring break on the lake. The local Sheriff, her son, and the crew of softcore porno Girls Gone Wild are amongst the people who end up fighting for their lives against the toothy bastards.
1 – Deep Blue Sea (1999)
- Director: Renny Harlin
- Writer: Duncan Kennedy, Donna Powers, Wayne Powers
- Cast: Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, LL Cool J
‘What you’ve done is taken God’s oldest killing machine and given it will and desire. What you’ve done is knocked us all the way to the bottom of the goddamn food chain.’
The staff of a research facility in the ocean have been experimenting on sharks in a quest for a cure to Alzheimer’s. The genetic engineering results in super smart sharks, which figure out how to make a break for freedom by flooding the facility…and hunting down the research team one by one.