by Melissa Uhrin
Last month I wrote about movies I had difficulties watching due to the death of a beloved critter, but I thought for ANIMALSPLOITATION day that the tables should turn. And turn they shall!
What better film to kick this off than with Day of the Animals (1977), a great little B movie that will have you second guessing your planned trip to the wilderness. It's a world where the ozone layer has depleted to the point that a form of solar radiation has affected all the animals in the "radiation zone" and turned them into bloodthirsty beasts. What kind of blood? Why, human blood of course! What other reason would you have to pit Leslie Nielsen against a grizzly? One of the first horror films to link the depleting ozone layer to carnage by beast, this had me glaring warily at the sun afterwards, and checking over my shoulder to ensure no mountain lions had crept into my backyard.
Can I use the same film in both my "The Poor Animal Dies" and this "Animal Kicks Ass" piece? I'm in charge of each word around here, so the answer is yes. Cujo. He is the perfect character to overlap in both themes, largely due to playing both the victim and predator roles. With his persistent and never-ending vigil of his perceived evil within the car, combined with the viciousness of his attack on the mother and her child, left me with no doubt that he deserves at least a mention. And while this site is primarily movies, sometimes the book gives a much more satisfying journey, particularly into the deranged mind of rabies. So watch the movie, and then follow up with the book as a companion. You know, if you have eight hours to spare.
Man's Best Friend (1993) Open with a macabre laboratory, cute caged animals, and a reporter on the hunt for an interesting story. Why not break into an animal testing facility and "free" a caged dog? The poor doggy is of course a genetic modified killing machine, who escapes from his well-intended saviour and proceeds on a killing rampage. Throw in Lance Henriksen as the scientist who created this prize pup (what this movie needs is more Henriksen) and all I need to do is cover my eyes for a brief moment when the cute kitty-bait arrives onscreen. Years of caging, testing, mutilations and this giant dog shall have his revenge on any and all that cross his path!
Additionally I have been working on a piece all about cats to run at a later date. So I have saved The Cat People, Sleepwalkers and Cat's Eye for then. CATS!
Finally, no Animalsploitation piece would be complete without the beast, the classic, the film that has unfailingly ruined happy summer beach time for generations of movie lovers. What else do I need to say? Jaws is the fucking shit.