From man-eating crocs in Lake Placid to slimy slugs, we pick the ten best and craziest B-movie creature features ever made
To celebrate the release of Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, out on DVD now, we've compiled a list of our ‘best’ top 10 favourite ‘creature movies’, which isn’t easy, given that there are literally thousands of flicks featuring killer mutant crocs, rabid rabbits, slippery invertebrates and cute, sweary terrors from outer space. Of course, we’re not judging these flicks on account of crisp scripting and Oscar-winning performances, nor for their jaw-dropping special FX.
Nope, more than any other genre in the world, what makes a ‘creature feature’ truly great are their outlandish premises, their deliberately hilarious B-movie schlock, their gory and inventive deaths and – of course – having the most bonkers yet brutally nastie baddies ever to threaten human existence.
So without further ado, (and with the help of you lovely Bizarre readers who pitched in with a ton of great suggestions), we run down what we feel are the most enjoyable and strange B-movies currently out there.
LAKE PLACID (1999 - 2012)
The threat: Overstuffed ‘sprinter’ crocs
As a series, they don’t come much more fun than Lake Placid. Boasting hilariously sarcastic scripts, and humungous spoonings of horror and comedy, the series’ B-movie frolicking centres on 30-foot-long ‘sprinter’ crocs (depending on which film you watch) terrorising the residents of a small town in Maine. The fourth (and presumably final) film in the instalment Lake Placid: The Final Chapter has just been released on DVD/Blu-ray, and sees a coach-load of students pop down to the wrong beach for a BBQ and a dip in the water. Head-snappy-off merriment ensures. SNAP it up here…
MEGASHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS (2009)
The threat: A thawed-out prehistoric shark and octopus
US studio The Asylum has churned out a ton of crazily brilliant, low-budget creature flicks, including Mega Piranha and Mega Python Vs Gatoroid. What set Megashark Vs Giant Octopus apart, other than it being about two giant prehistoric creatures throwing a wobbly around the coast of California (these ‘prehistoric’ creatures being strangely identical to present-day ones, only a shit-lot bigger), is the incredible scene where the shark leaps up into the sky in order to devour a passenger-carrying aeroplane in the sky. Cinema gold.
The threat: Genetically-engineered Snakehead fish
When we asked Bizarre readers to name their favourite ever creature flicks, surprisingly nothing popped up quite as much as this ‘so bad it’s brilliant’ telly movie. Basically a bunch of folk get trapped by mutant fish-beasts in the bayou and lose body-bits to their ravenous appetites. Inspired by a real-life incident in 2002 when the highly aggressive snakehead species was found in a Maryland pond, this film has it all, from biologists and lesbians, to big explosions and joyous unrelenting splatter.
The threat: Slugs with nibbly teeth
Boasting the killer tagline ‘They slime, they ooze, they kill’, this unintentionally funny (but rather sick) horror flick is an adaptation of a novel by Brit gorehound Shaun Hutson. A rural town gets overrun by – you guessed it – killer slugs. Look out for the brilliant death scene where a chap unknowingly devours a lettuce containing the slippery critters, and ends up being gnawed to death from the insides in a restaurant. And yeah, worms pop out of his eyeballs, too. You can see that from 1:10 in the video below.
BLACK SHEEP (2006)
The threat: Some very pissed-off sheep
“There’s something wrong with the sheep!” No shit, Sherlock. Bizarre was well into this New Zealand horror-comedy when it released almost seven years ago (in fact, we even had it on our cover) and we’re sticking to that. Quite frankly, seeing those woolly cuties turn into aggressive, man-eating monsters due to some ill-though-out genetic engineering experiment is terrific fun. It’s like a werewolf film, but with, er, sheep.
The threat: Small, furry, man-eating aliens
Gremlins is obviously the far more accomplished film, but when it comes to intergalactic silliness and pure schlocky thrills, Stephen Hereck’s (Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure) horror-comedy was really only rivalled by Killer Klowns. When a ship-load of cute, furry aliens land in a small farming community (it’s always farms and lakes isn’t it?), the local folk find themselves becoming their visitors’ number delicacy. Pity the fools.
The threat: A shark/octopus mutant created by the military. Awesome…
We’ve already had a Mega Shark take on a giant octopus. Now we have a single creature that blends the brutal best of both worlds! As ridiculous as it sounds, this sees a horrible sea-mutant make a nuisance of himself around the coast of Mexico, particularly when it comes to bikini babes. Terrible acting, terrible dialogue, terrible effects. Brilliant premise, brilliant fun and brilliant deaths – like the wailing bungee jumper who, well, we’re sure you can work it out...
TROLL HUNTER (2010)
The threat: Large, lumbering Norwegian trolls
In a way this film is a tad out of place in this list (it's more art flick than B-movie), but through its sheer inventiveness and ‘hilarious’ monsters (when they eventually turn up, you’re in for a treat), we thought it bad darts to leave it out. Often touted as a Norwegian Blair Witch Project but with, yeah, trolls, Troll Hunter is beautifully shot, incredibly atmospheric and, courtesy of its strange, thicko aggressors, both terrifying and funny at the same time. This was easily one of Bizarre’s favourite films of 2010 and it seems a massive hit with our readers too.
The threat: Giant, radioactive Cold War ants
“We may be witness to a biblical prophecy come true!” It would be criminal not to include at least one original 1950s B-movie – the decade when B-movies got made more than hot dinners – and this black and white classic is revered as one of the finest fantasy fright-flicks to emerge from that period of Cold War uncertainty. In this fantastical romp, atomic bomb tests cause teeny ants to grow and mutate into man-eating monsters. Fair play to the set designers, those ants do look pretty gnarly – if you manage to suspend disbelief!
ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (1978)
The threat: Big, juicy tomatoes rebelling against vegetarianism.
So what did we plump for to complete our top 10 list? The sandworm genre classic that is Tremors (1990)? The genuinely horrifying wild boar thriller of Razorback (1984)? How about that old great The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)? Or even the fantastic Stephen King adaptation that was The Mist (2008) - perhaps too bleak for this list? Nope, we’ve gone for the deliberately absurd and spectacularly trashy Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes just because, well, it’s about killer tomatoes! Even Shark In Venice (2008) looks like serious entertainment by way of comparison.
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