Elizabeth Banks’ Cocaine Bear is set to stomp all over the box office this weekend. As such, we thought it’d be fun to compile a list of animal attack movies like Cocaine Bear for you to watch in case you wanted more mayhem.
Granted, not all of these fun animal movies like Cocaine Bear enjoy the distinction of being based on a true story, but they’re still bonkers enough to splatter your senses for a few hours.
Naturally, any list talking about wild rampaging animals has to include Steven Spielberg’s classic about a killer shark eating its way through Amity Island tourists. By this point, many of you know that author Peter Benchley based his novel Jaws on a true event in which a shark swam upriver and killed a few local swimmers. Obviously, the book and film take the tale to the extreme, but it is interesting comparing fact with fiction.
Now, if you wanna get really nuts, do yourself a favor and check out Jaws: The Revenge, which follows a deranged Great White’s quest to murder the Brody family in the Bahamas. Yeah, it’s as nuts as it sounds, but also features one of the freakiest openings in movie history. Seriously, this scene has stuck with me since the day I saw it in theaters way back in 1987.
This early 80s adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel isn’t exactly as fun as Cocaine Bear but horror aficionados will get a kick out of seeing Beethoven attack a mother and her child for 90 minutes. Gruesome, bloody, and intense, Cujo is freaky enough to make one consider his relationship with man’s best friend.
Tellingly, I shipped away my husky after a recent watch of this flick. I didn’t like the way he was staring at me while I slept.
Black Water, Rogue, and Primeval (2007)
Crocodile flicks were all the rage in the mid-2000s, and audiences turned out for the likes of Black Water, Rogue, and Primeval, all of which are loosely inspired by a true story of some sort. Of the three, Black Water probably works the best, even if it largely takes place in a tree. Rogue (starring Sam Worthington, no less) has the creepy bit where a massive crocodile tosses a man into the water before slowly dragging him away while his friends watch in horror. Primeval has Orlando Jones. Enjoy.
Night of the Lepus (1972)
There has never been a killer rabbit movie like Night of the Lepus. This weird-as-f*** horror flick is the type of flick that could only be made in the early 1970s, a time when people were willing to freak out over the sight of massive mutated murderous bunnies. No one has the balls to make a movie like this in the modern age, which is a shame because this movie kicks so much ass. The producers had to be on cocaine when they dreamt this one up, which fits with our Cocaine Bear theme. You’re welcome.
Piranha 3D (2010)
Joe Dante’s original Piranha still delivers the goods, but kids these days will likely steer clear of an old B-movie with questionable production values. So, I offer the 2010 remake, Piranha 3D which ups the violence, language, and sex to such a degree it’s a wonder the film made it to theaters at all — and inspired a sequel to boot. Really, the shock here is how great the cast is — Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, Kelly Brook, and Richard Dreyfuss (kinda sorta reprising his role as Hooper from Jaws)? How the hell did they get these guys to sign up for this schlock?
As long as we’re talking bears, I urge you to stop what you’re doing immediately so you can check out this violent classic about a drug-free grizzly bear stalking a group of campers in a National Forest. The first half plays like a half-baked Jaws (with a much smaller budget) as a variety of hapless victims get mauled to death by a cheap-looking bear claw. Eventually, the beast is revealed and more calamity ensues. Eventually, one of our heroes manages to blow the monster away with a grenade launcher in one of the all-time great movie endings. Hell, you can watch it on YouTube for free right now!
Many of you likely skipped this Sam Raimi production when it hit theaters in 2019, so now is your chance to make amends. I’ll cut right to the chase: Crawl is a blast, a slickly produced, lavishly directed survival horror pic that actually delivers the goods. It’s basically just Kaya Scodelario vs. alligators for 90 minutes, but who cares when the results are this much fun? Think Cujo, albeit with giant, ferocious, impossibly intelligent reptiles. Also, there’s this amazing sequence:
Tammy & The T-Rex (1994)
Sometimes, it’s fun to sit back and watch a big dumb movie. Enter Tammy & The T-Rex, a schlocky B-movie starring Paul Walker and Denise Richards about a teenager (Walker) whose brain is inserted into a T-Rex. Expect plenty of eye-popping gore, terrible acting, and awful dialogue, but it’s all by design. I mean, there’s a bit where Walker and a bully fight and end up in what is dubbed a “testicular standoff.” No one is taking this seriously, but that’s part of the charm. Enjoy, folks.
Arachnophobia is part of my youth. I’ve seen this movie countless times. We watched it at school (when teachers could pop in whatever they wanted without pushback from overly concerned parents), on Friday night family gathers, and made a point of showing it to anyone who visited. This modestly budgeted Steven Spielberg production looks every bit like a $22 million film made in the early 90s.
We got Jeff Daniels and John Goodman, a terrific score by Trevor Jones, taut direction from Frank Marshall, and enough eight-legged freaks to make you think twice about A) sitting on the toilet B) taking a shower C) putting on a football helmet D) eating chips E) drinking wine F) putting on your f—ing shoe. This is the stuff of nightmares, folks, but it’s also a lot of fun in the vein of Jurassic Park.
The Birds (1963)
Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t afraid to take chances. After terrifying audiences away from showers, the maestro tried his hand at nature and delivered The Birds. Now, I’ve seen this film a handful of times and while I admire its craft I’m not sure it’s a genuinely good film, or merely a series of expertly designed set pieces. The Birds is certainly daring, at times terrifying, and impeccably made, but I also think the characters could ease their troubles considerably with if they got their hands on some tennis racquets.
If you’re in dire need of more bear mayhem, check out Backcountry, the story of a dude who drags his poor girlfriend out to the middle of nowhere to propose and pits them in the path of an angry bruin. Eventually, the guy is killed off in a brutal fashion, which leaves his would-be fiancé running for her life. Adam MacDonald directs this modestly budgeted flick and lands a few punches using clever editing and a pair of likable stars. The real story is even wilder, which makes me wonder why they just didn’t stick with the facts.
Finally, just because I’m feeling generous, I’ll leave you with the following scene from The Revenant, which sees Leonardo DiCaprio get mauled by a bear. It felt appropriate.