Natural horror films have been a popular subgenre in horror, dating all the way back to the 1920s with the first movie adaptation of Herman Melville’s MobyDick. Since that time, we have seen the likes of killer plants, insects, fish, reptiles, and just about everything else that exists in nature. Apparently, we love to see nature kick some serious ass. Starting with the 1970s, which happens to be one of the best decades for these types of films, let’s take a look at ten crazy natural horror films!
A wealthy family living in a large plantation surrounded by a swamp disregards the local wildlife by using harsh pesticides on the land. This causes Mother Nature to fight back. Although the title only mentions frogs, there are many different species that get in on the killer action. The family and plantation workers get attacked by lizards, snakes, leeches, frogs, alligator, birds, and even a butterfly. With so many fun and creative kills and a young, dashing Sam Elliott, Frogs is one of the most perfect natural horror films!
Following the release of Jaws in 1975, there were several rip-offs made in an attempt to cash in on its success. Written as satire, Piranha features bloody-thirsty mutant fish that wreak havoc in a lake. A group has to find a way to stop them before they reach a delta that leads to the ocean. Directed by Joe Dante, the film was a surprise box office and critical success. It has been followed by a sequel and two remakes, including Piranha 3D (2010), which was bloody fantastic.
Blood Beach (1981)
Falling into the “so bad it’s good” category, Blood Beach has no lack of 1980s cheese as it features a giant sandworm killing beach-goers. The film has become a cult classic despite its glaring mistakes, such as boom mics in view and a poor production value. Unfortunately for fans, the only DVD release to date has been in Germany. Fingers crossed that the film gets a US release in the future.
Although they’re a bit on the gross side, the thought of death by slug just doesn’t cross one’s mind. They’re slow (duh) and pretty harmless… until toxic waste gets involved. Giant black slugs with teeth bring hell to a town as they fill into houses. Surprisingly, the film is filled with gore, explosions, and decent effects. Slugs is definitely one of the goriest film on this list.
Just as Jaws heightened everyone’s fear of sharks, the film Arachnophobia reminded everyone that spiders only want to murder your entire family. Well, that may not be true, but the movie still gave us chills as deadly spiders invaded a small town. The film was very well received by fan and critics alike, especially for its use of comedy.
Lake Placid (1999)
When a monster saltwater crocodile is found living, and hunting, in a lake, a group makes attempts to capture or kill the creature. The croc was created by the famous Stan Winston Studios and looks quite impressive. The film has a lot of humor, especially from Betty White’s role as a seemingly sweet old lady who lives on the lake… and happens to feed blindfolded cows to the crocodile, even after it ate her husband. It is a highly entertaining flick that spawned several sequels, although none matched the first film.
The brilliant Crispin Glover plays Willard, a socially awkward man who turns to rats as friends. To get revenge on the horrible people in his life, he trains the rodents to attack on command. Even if you are not afraid of rats, which I am, the film can give some serious heebie–jeebies. The film is a remake of a 1971 movie by the same name but took the suspense up a few notches. The film maintains a dark, moody atmosphere and is truly a beautiful movie.
Black Sheep (2007)
When a man visits his brother on the family’s New Zealand sheep farm, he discovers that experiments are being done on the sheep. The twisted brother is attempting to change the passive creatures into carnivorous beasts that go after humans. Their bites can transform people into a crazed half-sheep blood-thirsty monster. The black humor, absurd story and beautiful New Zealand background mix well together to make this a way better film than expected.
Big Ass Spider! (2013)
Just as the title suggests, the film features a big ass mutant spider. After getting exposed to alien DNA, the creature begins killing anything in its path and has babies on the way. Given the extent of the crisis, an exterminator and security guard help assist a military team in trying to destroy the arachnid. The effects are cheesy, there’s a lot of fun humor and a giant mutant cockroach makes a cameo at the end. What’s not to enjoy?
Nothing interrupts a fancy schmancy dinner party quite like 7 foot killer wasps. Thanks to an incident involving toxic fertilizer, the monster insects swarm the house guests and brutally attack. The film takes itself more seriously at times than expected and I was pleasantly surprised to see practical effects instead of all CGI. The ending was a bit cheesy, but it is definitely one of the better natural horror films to get released in recent years.
Although the list doesn’t cover films prior to the 1970s, every decade since films were introduced have been represented by the natural subgenre. Some of the films on this list may be a bit hard to track down, but they are worth the hunt for fans of the subgenre and cheesy horror. Just remember, whether its toxic chemicals, alien DNA, or really pissed off species, there is no doubt that Mother Nature just wants to kill us all.