A movie called “Rogue” was dumped into theaters a few weeks ago on just a handful of screens with virtually no advertising. Predictably, nobody saw it. This is a shame, because the movie was about a GIANT CROCODILE THAT EATS PEOPLE! So was last year’s “Primeval,” which nobody saw either.
Movies about man-eating oversize animals have been a fixture since the days of “King Kong.” Some, like “Jaws,” have been great; others, like “Night of the Lepus” (giant rabbits!), not so much. In the 1950s it was popular to make cheap movies where basically all you did was enlarge an animal (usually through nuclear testing or radiation) and assume that audiences would be terrified of it. At various times we’ve seen giant ants, grasshoppers, rats, spiders, snakes, lizards, and even chickens.
The physical ramifications of enlarged animals are usually ignored in these films, which is just one of many reasons to be disillusioned by the Hollywood lie factory. University of Chicago science professor Michael C. LaBarbera wrote a fascinating (and reasonably understandable) paper on this a few years ago, called “The Biology of B-Movie Monsters.” He notes, for example, that an ape the size of King Kong would not be able to leap and gambol about the way he does, as his bones would snap. (Think about it: You don’t see elephants prancing around merrily.) In fact, most of these giant animals would barely be able to move because of their weight.
OK, so maybe that takes the fun out of it. Science is kind of a killjoy. I am strongly in favor of ignoring science, both in movies and in my personal life, and so I got to thinking about the giant-animal movies. Crocodiles and spiders are old standbys. We’ve seen our share of big sharks, too, both in the “Jaws” films and the numerous low-budget rip-offs. These are fine, but why not branch out?
Pay attention, Hollywood! There are many other animals still waiting for their chance in the spotlight!
I don’t think there have been any movies about killer bulls, and certainly not about GIANT killer bulls. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by/terrified of them. I thought they were like monsters. The movie could start with the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and expand from there. Suggested title: “Killermo del Toro.”
Don’t be fooled by their slowness! Sloths’ claws are very sharp, and their friendly-looking faces are just a mask for their unceasingly vengeful thoughts. Giant sloths in a movie would still move slowly, but with their really long arms and deadly claws they could do some serious damage. Suggested title: “Three-Toed Death.”
I’m already kind of afraid of squirrels, especially the ones that aren’t afraid of humans and will come right up to you wanting food. Small animals SHOULD be afraid of humans, and it bothers me when they aren’t. So imagine how scary it would be if fearless squirrels were suddenly larger than us! They’d have even less reason to be afraid, and they would eat us. Suggested title: “Squirrels Gone Wild.”
But this would just be a rip-off of the squirrel movie. Audiences would see right through it. Suggested title: “Chipmunks Gone Crazy.”
Goats the size of elephants! Rampaging through the city, eating everything they see, and terrifying people with their evil red satanic eyes and their otherworldly bleating! Suggested title: “Lady Goat Die-va” or “You Goat to Hell.”
Ducks are fairly harmless, but have you ever had one angry at you? They’ll peck the crap out of you! Imagine ducks the size of horses waddling around town, tearing everything apart, pooping on everything, speaking incoherently. If Warner Bros. makes the film, they could have the climax be where scientists use giant images of Daffy Duck to subdue the crazed birds before luring them into the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant, where a happy ending ensues. Suggested title: “Duck, Duck, Death” or “Murder Most Fowl” or “Run for Your Ducking Lives.”