When Animals Attack
Inspired by Belgian author Vanessa Morgan’s book, When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Horror Movies With Killer Animals, this summer we delve into movies in which small and big creatures from the animal kingdom take on human beings. The 1970s era of the silver screen especially experienced and invasion by Mother Nature’s scaled, winged or multi-legged creatures. Whilst Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” from 1963 would become the prototype for all future films of the genre, it would be the unexpected success of rat film “Willard” (1971) and the box-office tidal wave of “Jaws “(1975) that would blow the doors wide open for all animal dangers.
In “Of Unknown Origin”, director George P. Cosmatos (known for Stallone’s memorable films “Rambo II” and “Cobra”) disguises an animal amok movie as a home invasion movie, in which a business man endeavors to remove an unwanted intruder from his picture perfect home. It is not one, but a legion of animals who suddenly take over a community in “Day of the Animals”. However, it’s Leslie Nielsen (in pre-Airplane mode) who behaves like a wild boor (or should we say, boar) in what is a hilarious and over-the-top climax. Director William Girdler’s second animal attack film after “Grizzly” includes an ecological, and at the time very modern, explanation for the ozone hole.