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Call Of The Wild

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Mark Kermode | 14:21 UK time, Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Grey is out this week, a film about a group of men being hunted by wolves after a plane crash strands them in the wilderness. It's being billed as 'Jaws with claws' and set me thinking about all the other creatures that have preyed on us humans in the movies.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Sheep, in Black Sheep. Perhaps not the scariest, but certainly the strangest animal to be terrorised by

  • Comment number 2.

    I won't go the obvious ones but those giant insects in 'The Mist' were really horrible nasty things. Staying with giant insects 'Earth vs the spider' was an uncomfortable viewing experience when i was a kid and althought the giant ants from 'Them!' weren't scary the film was still really good.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think the best creature is the one you don't see. I will give uyhyou an example the scarest thing about Jaws is not the metal sharkl but thae John Williams score. I mean you want to do a scary scene form that movie. You dont do twhen the shark appears though soime of those scenesa re terifying. You do the score especially the scarest scene in the kmovie when roy schieder is looking out at the beach and the music plays and the shark eats a boyu, you dont see anything yet you are gripped by fear. THe pronblem is that in when you do see the animals like Tremors, razorback or any other animal killing film you can see trhey are not really. The reason Jaws will always top the best aniumal killing human srotoiry is because when we do see the animal it is scary because we had not seen it until then and makes line "We are going to need a bigger boat" all the more real and scary. So what is the scaryest anmal film I have seen Jaws because I didnt see the animal until it was the perfect time to see and by that time I was so scared of it, tio didnt matter whow fake it looked or how unrealistic it looked. John Williams is the scarest animal evwer, I dont know how he would take that.

  • Comment number 4.

    Black Sheep 2nd'ed, if only for cross-shot-flying jump-scare sheep :)

  • Comment number 5.

    I'd vote for Jonesy the cat in Alien. Although the ants in Phase IV come a close second.

  • Comment number 6.

    Do fictional creatures count? If they do, then Shelob the Giant from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is at the top of my list. Frodo's brawl with the spider had me wincing the entire time.

  • Comment number 7.

    Shere Khan in Disney's 1967 version of Jungle Book, George Sanders is an actor I have since gone on to watch and love. However I can never forgive him for making a four year old boy sacred witless due to his haunting voice.

  • Comment number 8.

    Glad Black Sheep has a mention, brilliantly tongue-in-cheek film!

    But I'd say Jurassic Park - the T-Rex was completely terrifying to my seven-year-old self (curiously, two years later I watched Alien and wasn't scared a bit. Clearly I was a hardened youngster!).

    Also, the catfish in Uncle Boonmee was a bit scary, though I'm not sure it was intentional.

    PS Dinosaurs are/were animals. Wikipedia backs me up.

  • Comment number 9.

    I feel like I'm cheating with my answer but for me all the animals in Jumanji had the strongest effect on me. I think the best thing a kids movie can do is scare its intended audience. You can make any kid laugh or cry but to scare them and keep them watching I think takes some skill.

    I was about 10 years old when I first saw Jumanji and it terrified me (in the good way). A wonderful movie that uses its fantasy elements to create monsters from real animals, by characterising them completely in emphasising their hostility and ferociousness. A really great thing about Jumanji is that one of the animals included is perhaps the most dangerous animal of all, a man. Jonathan Hyde plays Van Pelt who is not only a mad hunter, but also a horrible and beaslty reflection of Robin Williams' father in the film, who not only hunts you with a gun but verbally belittles you as he does it.

    But if I had to pick the scariest animal in Jumanji I'd have to say it's the monkeys. Perhaps the impressive but dated cgi in the film is what added to their creepiness but then again there's something terrifying about a monkey that derives nothing but pleasure from throwing knives at you.

  • Comment number 10.

    I haven't seen it so i can't say whether or not it is scary. "Night of the Lepus" the killer rabbit movie.

  • Comment number 11.

    One film animal that scared the bejesus out of me as a child was Ramon, the giant alligator from the aptly named !980 film 'Alligator'. By all accounts its a little bit of a rubbish film, but that scene where the kid's are playing and making the littlest one walk the plank over the swimming pool where Ramon secretly lies waiting was more tension than my little heart could take.

    Also on the wolf theme, the terror from 'Brotherhood of the wolf' was pretty scary, although there was certainly a hint of the supernatural at play there so i don't know if it counts.

  • Comment number 12.

    What about the rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Might seem a bit comical, but also scary I guess for the knights who ran into it...

    On a serious note, Jaws (my fourth favourite film of all time) scared me so much I have a respect for sharks and shark movies, even the ones that don't deserve it - Jaws 2 terrified me, as did Deep Blue Sea (not the Rachel Weisz remake). In the latter's case, the concept of a creature wielding as much power as a non-sentient shark in Jaws does being super-intelligent and searching for human blood... Not even LL Cool J could falter this fear.

    As someone who gave Contagion its dues, and thinking about my guilty pleasure of Virus, what about... viruses? I remember a corking sequence in the underrated Outbreak of a group of people coughing and this virus spreading all around - a sobering image that haunted me during the 'swine flu' pandemic.

    Oh, and that reminds me of the killer pigs in Hannibal, though it was more the twisted mind of Mason Verger (a tip-top Gary Oldman) than the pigs themselves

  • Comment number 13.

    What's the scariest animal in film? Well Mark, I have but one answer, from films such as Bambi, Avatar and Pocahantas, the most evil and deranged of all animals has to be...MAN!!!

    Just joking, but in all seriousness when I was young, I used to find Zuul and Vinz Clortho (the evil dogs from Ghostbusters) quite scary, although I was about 10 when I first saw that film so their scariness has faded away over the years.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think the most terrifying creature to prey on mankind is the strange, unholy animal of the genus Michaelus Bayus. This odious thing emerged from the primeval soup that is the rock promo several years ago. For a while he did manage to make a couple of good films (such as The Rock) but he now churns out a depressing pile of tripe. The Bayus does go into hibernation once in a while (during which all right thinking cinema goers can breathe a sigh of relief for a while) but it then comes back more powerful and deadly than ever before. The bite of Bayus has numerous symptoms including over edited movies, deafneing sound tracks, absurd running times and actors with all the carisma of dead squirrel!

    If the Bayus is ever seen in a cinema, please do not go inside but allow the film to die quietly.

    As for other terrifying animals, the shark in Jaws is scary simply because you don't see it for much of the film.

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the spiders in Arachnophobia (a much under rated movie with a genuine sense of humour).

  • Comment number 15.

    Although it's fictional, I count The Thing (1982) as a creature that preys on humans.

  • Comment number 16.

    As a child I saw a film called 'Grizzly' on television; I can't remember much about the film but I do recall it giving me nightmares like no other film I've seen; clearly I was too young for such things... I looked it up on the IMDb and it appears to something churned out to cash in on the killer animal craze after Jaws.

  • Comment number 17.

    Actually Mark did mention Arachnophobia so please part of me earlier comment.

  • Comment number 18.

    The penguin from Wallace and Gromit:The Wrong Trousers. Cold, heartless, dead-eyed evilness incarnated in plasticine.

  • Comment number 19.

    For me growing up it was 'The Jungle Book'. Shere Khan frightened the heck out of me with that evil, sly voice. Also Ralph Fiennes lovable pet snake Nagini in HP7a terrified me when it jumped out of that old lady's mouth! The glasses of reduced colour saturation couldn't even make that snake look less scary.

  • Comment number 20.

    those cockroaches coming out of E G Marshalls mouth and chest in 'Creepshow' were pretty frightening.. and btw, cats ARE scary- my girlfriends cat likes a nice rubbing and then he just turns on you (me) and lashes out with those claws.

  • Comment number 21.

    Monty Python and The Holy Grail's rabbit from the Cave of Kyre Banorg! The red-eyed monster had a vicious streak a mile-wide.

    "RUN AWAY"
    "RUN AWAY"
    "RUN AWAY"

  • Comment number 22.

    Easy. Jar Jar Binks, though not a real animal, it still scares the living daylights out of me.


    Either that or Steve Buscemi. He's a great actor, but his weasel like performances really give me the creeps.

  • Comment number 23.

    Spiders are scariest in Kingdom of the Spiders - a film that helps William Shatner display all his charismatic acting talent.
    I agree that I don't find cats inherently scary - but I always believed I was in a minority!?

  • Comment number 24.

    For me, the scariest movie featuring killer animals was Peter Jackson's remake of "King Kong".

    In particular, I'm talking about the scene where the characters fall to the bottom of a pit full of giant insects. I'm a bit phobic about invertebrates anyway, and watching Andy Serkis' character being slowly consumed by giant worm-like creatures didn't exactly alleviate my fears.

  • Comment number 25.

    You're all wrong, it's obviously the most pant-fillingly evil and murderous creature of all celluloid: The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog! Monty Python had to return the wee bunny to its owner stained with film-blood.
    Perhaps it doesn't count but the flayed and chattering hellhound in Hellraiser IV? The cretinous savagery of the Cave Troll of LotR makes me afraid because there's no reasoning with it, only dumb fury.
    As for Jurassic Park, you can outwit a T-Rex, the always hungry Velociraptors could think and could not be bought. Clever girl...

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi Mark

    It's only a small part of the Film but what about the swimming dog in the Cohen's masterpiece "No Country For Old Men", when it is set upon an unsuspecting Josh Brolin, aggressively tracking him across a body of water. When I first saw that scene I was terrified having developed somewhat of a phobia of vicious dogs after some bad childhood experiences.

  • Comment number 27.

    Are there any films in which Jellyfish play a major role? The scene in Finding Nemo when they suddenly rise in the sea to surround Marlin and Dory is probably the scariest part of a movie which has its fair share of perils. Jellyfish are ghostly, emotionless and deadly. They look like they’re from a different world to this one, and are surely an under-utilised natural peril that filmmakers could exploit.

    Also the giant earwig-like creepy crawlies in Star Trek, Wrath of Khan, that actually crawl into your ears to control your mind, are worth a mention. Makes me shiver every time.

  • Comment number 28.

    The first time I was ever scared in a film was as a child watching a cheapo sasquatch documentary The Legend of Boggy Creek, this was from the producers of In Search of Noah's Ark, they made bucks in the early 70's by saturating kiddie shows with ads for their "wholesome" kiddie matinee schlocko fare. The bit that scared me wasn't even the laughable footage of the Sasquatch, it was the sorry boo tactic of the narrator explaining that a cat had gone missing and when found it looked like.... THIS (shot of dead, presumably scared to death by its encounter with the sasquatch, cat). While cinematically a low jump out of your seat moment, the idea that an animal could be SCARED TO DEATH, stuck with me.

    Cats are otherwise not scary, one of the worst X Files episodes has Mulder and Scully chased by a herd of cats. That said I'm not sure I can distinguish between David Duchovny and a ball of string. (Actually in fiction there's a cracking early Stephen King short The Cat from Hell, but it really defied translation to screen).

    Night of the Lepus (1972) is a giant mutant rabbit film that I've only heard of but not seen. I've not seen Slugs (1988), but I have seen the other slug based horror Slither (2006) which is the kind of good comedy horror you might enjoy if you liked Tremors.

    Of course, Bruce the Shark in Jaws: I distinctly remember during the beach attack and the famous dolly/zoom shot of Roy Scheider, I bit into a chocolate bar, I was so tense, I had forgotten to unwrap it first.

    Now if some of you can wait, I'm trying to find one of my holy handgrenades of antioch, I had at least 3, or was that 5? ....

  • Comment number 29.

    Terrible film, but the flesh-eating pigs from 'Hannibal' made me positively nauseated as a kid. Also, the ceti-eel scene from 'Star Trek II' inflated my panic over creepy crawlies ever since I saw one crawl into Paul Winfield's ear. Also I love (and fear) Kaa the snake from The Jungle Book. His hypnotic eyes and his effeminate voice, as well as his slithering about and swirling around Mowgli while singing 'Trust In Me'. Sssstill ssssends ssshivers down my ssssspine hahaha.

  • Comment number 30.

    Jaws terrified me as a youngster and now it would be in my all time top ten. But a less obvious shark film that really puts you on edge would be Andrew Traucki's 'The Reef' (2010) about a group forced to swim to shore and persued by a rogue great white. Relativly low budget, the film goes for the real thing (no rubber shark in this one), and its a stressful watch. Terrible shark films are a dime a dozen, this one's seriously under-rated.

  • Comment number 31.

    What about the 'predecessor' to Cujo, the rabid dog in Old Yeller?

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm not sure if most real-life animals are all that terrifying - after all, the only thing a wolf will do is kill you, and that's nothing compared to the horrors inflicted by the creatures in Alien, The Thing and so on. Having said which, that flippin' dog in Cujo always did the trick; I think it was Stephen King giving the dog a personality that made it somehow much more threatening.

    And in answer to a couple of posts on here: I HAVE seen Night of the Lepus. I'm sure you'll be amazed to learn that it is terrible.

  • Comment number 33.

    The enormous black bear in THE FOX & THE HOUND terrified me as a child. Still does.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'd say the Rodents of Unusual Size in Princess Bride were petrifying when I was 10. Granted they're clearly just guys in suits now I'm 28 but at the time they were horrible.

    Oh and I was just watching Happy Feet with my 2 year old. Those Penguins are petrifying. Especially while singing. It sends shivers down the spine.

  • Comment number 35.

    Glad there are already a number of mentions for Black Sheep, for my money one of the best horror-comedies of the past ten years. That image of the mass of livestock coming over the hills towards Angus Oldfield's presentation of his prize sheep, is one that has stayed with me since.

    Jaws is an obvious one to mention, but for me, despite having a scientific spin, the scariest natural horror film is David Cronenberg's The Fly. It is not the attack of any given creature, but Jeff Goldblum's Seth Brundle, and the tragic degradation of his human form into a grotesque insectoid of his own making that frightens me to my core.

  • Comment number 36.

    By far an away Arachnophobia for people like me who are Arachnophobic it ones the scariest films ever made despite being a PG.

  • Comment number 37.

    The spider that eats the fly/scientist in "The Fly". Jeff Goldblum's scream is blood-curdling.

  • Comment number 38.

    Only one title is worthy of this, and that is...

    Night of the Lepus.

  • Comment number 39.

    So it may not be a real animal but the monkey in Toy Story 3 with its big eyes and shrieking voice definitely freaked me out! Anyone else? No?!

  • Comment number 40.

    Cats are indeed not scary. Cute yes, but naturally scary - no. However they do have one up on dogs in that they are unpredictable. A dog will let you know if it's the mood for attacking you with a growl or a bark. Cats will just claw your hand off without a moment's notice.

    If someone made a film that worked off this annoying trait then it could be very scary. Maybe in the vein of Cronenberg's Rabid, some contagious affliction is turning normally placid, fluffy cats into vengeful psychos. Like with the birds, if cats suddenly turned against as we'd be in a lot of bother.

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with comment 18, that penguin was terrifying, so dead eyed and cold.
    Monstro the whale in Pinocchio used to scare me too, and of course the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz are scary.

  • Comment number 42.

    Insects on film have always freaked me out but especially the ants in Phase IV. I watched this film at a young age whilst babysitting and the image of the ant crawling out of a human hand gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

  • Comment number 43.

    The gorillas in "Congo." They're terrifying not just for their brutality but because they killed Bruce Campbell. Shame on them.

  • Comment number 44.

    someone beat me to the earwig thing from Wrath of Khan which has terrified me my whole life.

    I have never watched phase IV cos of an intense fear of ants developed reading horror stories as a young child

    recently though I was surprisingly impressed by the wolves in Frozen or at least by how scared the humans were.

  • Comment number 45.

    Ghostbusters 2. A womans fur coat comes alive and stars attacking her. Nice!

    Lewis Teague's Alligator is a great monster movie.

    The Red Bull from the 1982 animated film The Last Unicorn probably does'nt count as it only seems attack Unicorn's but one turns into a girl so mabye it does.

    How about the poisonous Octopuss from Octopussy? Yeah everyone remembers him.

  • Comment number 46.

    The dinosaurs in Fantasia

  • Comment number 47.

    I would like to recommend the Rottweilers in The Omen (1976). The scene where they stalk Peck and Warner in the graveyard is brilliantly shot and still shreds my nerves to this day.

    Dr K says cats aren't scary but he might be forgetting Church the cat from Pet Semetery. Granted he had to be brought back from the dead but once he did he gave the second best performance in the film.

  • Comment number 48.

    Has to be the T Rex from Jurassic Park for me. If you don't move, it can't see you. BUT YOU WILL.

  • Comment number 49.

    Night of the Lepus terrified me as a child!

  • Comment number 50.

    The citizens of Gotham City almost had a very bad day at the flippers of domesticated missile-packing penguins (!) in quality-sequel Batman Returns.

  • Comment number 51.

    There are several I can think of like the animals from Jumanji and the Dinosaurs from Jurassic Park as well as the sharks in Jaws, Deep Blue Sea and all 21st century Shark films which do not work in CGI.

    However there are several monsters in films I can think of like the Monster in Cloverfield, the Giant Tad-Pole thing in the South Korean film THE HOST and the Giant Turtle Gamera.

    But the best of them all is GODZILLA (not the rubbish 1998 not technically a Godzilla Film film). What is scarier than a Giant Monster that is just Unstoppable.

  • Comment number 52.

    The pirahna scene in You Only Live Twice, one of my favourite Bond films, scared me a lot when I was a child. I can watch it and laugh now but I was quite affected by it when I was younger.

  • Comment number 53.

    the zombie cat in Pet Sematary is pretty scary

  • Comment number 54.

    Gmork, The wolf from The Neverending Story scared me stiff as a child. The peg-legged bat from Basil the Mouse Detective had a similar effect on me when I was small.

  • Comment number 55.

    The T Rexes from the Land Before Time movie series also deserve a mention. (Do we count dinosaurs as animals).

  • Comment number 56.

    #51 - Whatever your thoughts on the '98 film itself, there's no denying that Patrick Tatopoulos' re-design of Gojira is top-drawer, and sports Shere Khan's chin, believe it or not...

  • Comment number 57.

    How about the monstrous budgie Michael Fassbender is evidently smuggling down his underpants in the criminally over-looked "Shame"? Or at least that what I think it was, wasn't it? Enough to leave any male audience member feeling somewhat intimidated... It deserves a best acting member in a supporting role, in any case.

  • Comment number 58.

    Jaws is an obvious choice. Part of the terror is that the victim is out of their element and the shark is unseen untill it's too late.

    The rats in 1984, imagine them knawing through your face.

  • Comment number 59.

    Any of the stuffed but animated animals from Jan Svankmajer's Alice, particularly the white rabbit who keeps eating the sawdust that's leaking from his own body!

  • Comment number 60.

    Zoltan - Hound of Dracula!!! I never looked at my childhood labrador the same way again.

    Also the giant ants in "Them"

  • Comment number 61.

    Also in terms of animals frightening other animals, I thought Hopper the Grasshopper from pixar's 'A bug's life' was pretty threatening...

  • Comment number 62.

    I'd have to go with the dog in the opening of The Thing (1982). Far scarier, in my opinion, than "the thing" itself, which is too visually amazing whever it's actually on screen to be that frightening. The extreemely tentative, knowing way it stalks around the camp, give it the impression of being not just intellegent, but too intellegent. Humans take for granted the idea of being the most intellegent of creatures, so if an animal acts in a way which suggests it's smarter than us, it becomes very threatening, we lose the one advantage we were most sure we had.

  • Comment number 63.

    That Fluke Worm guy from the X Files, also had a great line at the end. "You know, they say three species disappear off the planet every day. You wonder how many new ones are being created."

  • Comment number 64.

    Surely the raptors from Jurassic Park are much scarier than the T-Rex. Eating "the blood-sucking lawyer" and saving the day ultimately makes the Rex the anti-hero. But watching two 6ft raptors stalk the kids around a deserted kitchen and hunt Bob Peck is still enough to make me shiver nearly 19 years later

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    Human Centipede's...

  • Comment number 67.

    General Woundwort from Watership Down was first to mind.

  • Comment number 68.

    Isn't the answer Mark wants from this obvious? Of course humans are the scariest screen animals. Every Dr. Jekyll has a Mr. Hyde, and from Dennis Hopper's Frank Booth in Blue Velvet, to Hannibal Lecter (MANHUNT et al.), the oft-camouflaged atavistic core of human kind is the most frightening monster of all, as all viewers can see it within themselves.

    "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Do you know that one Mark?

  • Comment number 69.

    Scariest screen animal.... Hmmmmmmmm... Known by it's Latin moniker, the Keanus Reavus, this American hybrid is especially scary when impersonating an English animal of the same genus in Coppola's Dracula. If you see this Rattus Americanus, call pest control.... please!!!!

  • Comment number 70.

    It's the least scary screen animals that stick in the mind. How about the eponymous ape in 1954's Gorilla at Large? Hardly Anne Bancroft's best work, but it's the only one of her pictures that you can legally view in its entirety on YouTube.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ray Harryhausen's dinosaurs. Never scary, but always the best parts of the film.

    Do warewolves count? ''American Warewolf in London', and (sort of) 'Wolfen'. Twilight is scarier than either, but, different reasons.

    The Comic Strip Presents did a spoof of 'The Fly' called 'The Yob' - a yuppie gets merged with a builder. But at the end they both get merged with...a tabby cat. When I was 8, the half-man half-tiddles was freaky as hell.

    The Green Death from Doc Savage. When I was 5, I didn't realise it was a parody(!)

    The dog with a man's face in the 70s remake of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'. Heart-stopping moment on first viewing.

    The swarm of ants pouring out of the child's halloween mask in the otherwise unremarkable 'Halloween 3'.

    There's a scene in 'Shivers' with a man talking on a phone in the background...and in the foreground a squiggly eel in a water tank, set on the desk. For me, that image was the creepiest thing in the movie.

  • Comment number 72.

    The eel from The Deep

  • Comment number 73.

    I'll always remember the indelible image of the pig's head from 'Lord of the Flies'. Not technically still an animal, but its psychological power cannot be dismissed.

  • Comment number 74.

    Mark, while I think that the effective screen representation of scary house cats is, admittedly, quite slim, I think your question of "scariest screen animals" leads a little too far in the direction of horror and science fiction movies. Animated movies have been rife with the horrific depictions of animals, and no producer had this concept down to a greater art than Walt Disney himself, with the whale from "Pinocchio" being a perfect example.

    But I maintain that the scariest animals to ever grace a Disney motion picture let alone the silver screen in general are the Siamese cats in "Lady and the Tramp". More than just racist caricatures, the twins are introduced perfectly, they slither across the screen causing mischief, and their fangs bead just below their bulbous blue eyes. I dare ANYBODY, young or old, to watch that scene and not cringe even just a little. For myself, it genuinely traumatized me as a kid so that I NEVER wanted to watch that particular Disney film again.

    Also, while a short cameo, I think the cat in "Babe" makes another great case for the effectiveness of felines as symbols of not just mischief but calculating psychopathy.

  • Comment number 75.

    Don't forget the big rat that waged war against Peter Weller in the Canadian flick OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN.

    But the scariest ever? No contest - JAWS.

  • Comment number 76.

    The Boneyard, because of this:

    I was put off my kibble for a week.

  • Comment number 77.

    Okay so the scariest animal I think I would have ever seen in any film is definitely the Alien from the original Alien film. Third Greatest film ever made. The rest of the alien films apart from Aliens are rubbish.

    I also watched Irwin Allen's "The Swarm" last night. It was by all accounts, one of the worst pieces of filmmaking in the history of filmmaking although not as bad as "Freddy Got Fingered" and "Battlefield Earth.

  • Comment number 78.

    With Smokey & the Bandit being one of my guilty pleasures, you can imagine how devastated I was when the sequel was ruined by an elephant.

    Otherwise its that 1988 classic MONKEY SHINES for nasty critter.

    Best animal movie?

    THE DOBERMAN GANG, (it has everything including Alan Silvestri's first OST).

  • Comment number 79.

    So...for me "The Birds" is the scariest animal film, worse than "Jaws"; I still can't walk down a street if pigeons are likely to whirr into the air. Birds really aren't supposed to peck your eyes out...unless you're dead in a desert maybe.

  • Comment number 80.

    Without doubt,Gmork in The neverending story.Apart from the really cheesey soundtrack and dialogue, that character truely made it a very dark and fearful film for a 8 year old to watch.gooesbumps just thinking about it now as a 25 year old.

  • Comment number 81.

    The giant tusked hog in Russell Mulcahy's RAZORBACK: a genuinely freakish creature in a film that may not be great overall but is visually stunning.

  • Comment number 82.

    As a kid I was terrified of the giant chicken in Food of the Gods. I'm trying to remember the plot. Something about a scientist inventing an agent (called "food of the gods") that makes things grow. I think he then leaves it in a jar in his garden shed. Then again maybe not as I remember this white stuff infecting the local stream. A pretty shoddy movie over all (although IMDB suggests there was a sequel).

    As an aside, I think scientists in films come in for a bad rep most of the time. As a scientist myself I find it annoying that they are often portrayed as evil, stupid (e.g. in Splice and Rose Byrne's character in 28 Weeks Later) or both.

  • Comment number 83.

    Eeeeen, what's up, Doc?
    I'm gonna have to go with the Male Spider in Arachnophobia's combat scene between a man and a spider, @ the end of the film. It is my favourite man versus beast confrontation of all times, due to the size differance and due to the fact that the beast, whilst very small, is faster, sneakier and scarier than the giant human trying to kill it. Normally the beasts are all huge next to the human counterpart: lions, tigers, bears, crocodiles, anacondas, giant apes and gorilas, sometimes even the blasted spiders are huge! But not in that movie, and it still was creepy and scary. For a while, after having seen the movie for the first time, I actually started stepping on my slippers before putting them on!
    And if you are in Australia, which I'm not... it's very advisable to do so!

  • Comment number 84.

    I think the most scary animal in any film is man, so for that I would say Brain Cox as Hannibal makes my flesh crawl. Also the strange human like cave people in "The Descent" a very scary and claustrophobic film.

    As for a creature that you wouldn't expect to be nasty or aggressive, try Cows in "Isolation" an Irish horror film, that makes you fear for animals in genetic experiments.

    As for scary made up creatures, I would say that "The Thing" (1982) and the H.R. Geiger Alien scare me, along with his other creation "Sil" in "Species"...for obvious reasons, being a man!

  • Comment number 85.

    Basically Mark any animal seen in the Never Ending Story. From massive snails, to huge mouse/bat hybrids. From FURRY dragons to gigantic swamp tortoises which sneeze and finally a wolf hellhound who was on the hunt for a child to eat! Saw it at the cinema when I was 4 and it damaged me so much havent seen it since but remember EVERYTHING! ( But bought my 6 year old daughter it for Christmas! A universal rating! Please!)

  • Comment number 86.

    Probably wolf creatures such as The Gmork from The Neverending Story and also Maugrim from The BBC version of Narnia They were so terrified so much as a kid. What also scared me stiff was Fidget even though he was a cartoon bat there was just something malevolent about the character.

  • Comment number 87.

    The insects in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. They scared the hell out of me as a child and still creep me out today. That scene used to have me literally hiding behind the sofa!!

    Nothing has ever made my skin crawl that much in a movie before or since, except maybe the creatures in The Mist (which appear to be some strange insect/alien hybrid), they had the same effect on me, but I don't know if they qualify here?

  • Comment number 88.

    For me the metamorphosing huskey in John Carpenter's The Thing was pretty awesome.
    Like other The Birds too freaked me as a 10 year old.
    On a more serious point, I am a wee bit sad at wolves being protrayed in this light as they are already endangered and suffer dreadfully at the hands of humans. I (saddo that I am) have trawled through all the English language literature on wolf attacks and, apart from very rare cases of a rabid animal, there are not verifiable recorded cases of wolves attacking people.
    Sorry to go all PC for a bit...

  • Comment number 89.

    Amores Perros

    I have a natural fear of dogs so when ever they show up they have a 'contraceptive' effect on me, none more so than in this film.

    Apart from the brutal dog fights early on in the film the later scene gets me.


    When the Hitman returns to discover his beloved dogs have been killed by Octavio's remorseless animal. He loses everything but 'Amores Perros'. Terrifying and heartbreaking

  • Comment number 90.

    Ok, not strictly a movie but the wolves in the BBC's 1984 adaptation of The Box of Delights scared me senseless.

    The title sequence alone was enough to give my 4 year old self nightmares for weeks:

  • Comment number 91.

    I welcome myself to this....

  • Comment number 92.

    I've watched a lot of movies over the particular horror movies and without doubt the most scared I have ever been is by the whale in the 1940 Disney cartoon version of "Pinocchio." That absolutely terrified me as a kid.....I couldn't look at the screen.

    For some reason I appear to be a bit scared of movie spiders so there are 3 on my list.... the giant "Shelob" in Peter Jackson's 3rd LOR movie, the title character's nemesis in the 1957 sci fi classic, "The Incredible Shrinking Man" and perhaps the most terrifying spider of them all is the one about to eat the half man half fly version of Vincent Price in the final scene of Kurt Neumann's 1958 version of "The Fly."

    Others worthy of a mention must incude the man-eating crocodile in Greg Mcleans very much underrated 2007 movie, "Rogue," the giant ants in Gordon Douglas' 1954 movie, "Them" and finally there can't of been a more chilling scene in any of the above movies than the one with the recording of Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend's final words in Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man." This serves to highight how reality is much more terrifying than any fantasy.

  • Comment number 93.

    I think I'm gonna go with "Prophecy", John Frankenheimer's 1979 "don't-screw-with-the-environment" monster flick. I don't care what anyone says. Those giant mutant bears are scary as hell. I didn't want to be in the woods at night after I saw the film...

    David Cronenberg's The Fly also made me very nervous whenever I would hear a fly buzzing near me.

  • Comment number 94.

    I second stevie7771's reference to the cockroach vignette, "They're Creeping Up on You!", in George Romero's and Stephen King's Creepshow.

    So much conventional horror is set in rural or remote places, but this one is spine-chilling precisely because its monster/animal is a common house pest, and something that already creeps us out - especially if you live in the North-Eastern US. Although it relies heavily - if gratuitously - on revulsion and shock, it taps into some very intense visceral fears we have about the scores of creepy insects lurking in the cracks and dark corners of our rooms.

  • Comment number 95.

    Hi Mark me again,

    Just thought of another usually placed for effect more than terro but what about Maggots? I am thinking of films like Suspiria, the KFC bit in Poltergeist and most notably the dream birth sequence in The Fly.

  • Comment number 96.

    The tiger in Octopussy...until Rorge told it to sit.

    As for cats; I'm a postie and had one that would wait for me coming, then stick it's paw through the box to claw me. So yes, cats are scary!

  • Comment number 97.

    Returning to the topic of scary house cats. I'm putting a word in for the monsterously huge (in comparason to the protagonist at least), scarred, roaring farm cat "Dragon" from Don Bluth's "The Secret of NIMH". I grew up with cats and have never had any fear of them, but the scene in which Mrs Brisby has to sneak past the sleeping Dragon in order to drug it's food would always terrify me as a child, and still puts me on edge to this day.

  • Comment number 98.

    Worst insects ever have to be EVERYTHING in Peter Jackson's KING KONG (2005) which was him definitely harking back to his video nasties classic, BRAINDEAD/ DEAD ALIVE. Andy Serkis' death is the one of the most horrific in all of movie history. Who wants their body sucked up, head first by fang-filled GIANT WORMS?!

  • Comment number 99.

    Lets see:

    The family of spiders that freak out the kids in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre - very unsettling and prefiguring the canabalistic family of Leatherface.

    That disgusting rodent creature in the zoo at the start of Braindead - great shorthand using something sickening and feral to get the virus into his mum asap!

    All the witches turning into rats in The Witches - Rold Dahl's scariest story and quite a successful adaptation in many ways.

    Jaws - nuff said really - although I repeat Jaws is scary not because we think he's a shark - he's scary because he's a Movie Monster like Frankenstein and Dracula that just happens to look like a shark and YES the stock footage of a real great white shark attacking Hooper in the cage SHOULD have been left out.

    The Penguin in Wallace and Gromit's The Wrong Trousers - a perfectly deadpan, cold-blooded serial killer made out of plastercine and put straight into a kids movie - genius!

    Cowslip - the haunting rabbit in Rosen's Watership Down with his chilling recital of a poem about death just before Big Wig gets caught and almost chokes in a bloody snare... again a film for kids

  • Comment number 100.

    It would seem aliens do not count as 'animals' in this case - so - those nasty baboons from 'In the Shadow of Kilimajaro' AAARRGGGHHHHHH!


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