There are plenty of movies out there where wild animals are portrayed as fluffy adorable little beings. Hell, almost the entire world of animation is based around that principle. We all love the idea that every creature on Earth would be totally fine with you snuggling with it. Welcome to reality: there are animals out there that would take your invitation to snuggle as a hostile maneuver and claw your face until all that’s left is a pile of red ribbon. And now we’re going to celebrate those kinds of moments!
With Joe Carnahan’s The Grey due out this week – a film about a group of oil drillers who crash land in the Alaskan wilderness and must survive a series of wolf attacks – the Cinema Blend team has worked together to collectively remember some of our favorite cinematic Man vs. Beast moments. If you have one that we left off, be sure to tell us in the comments section below.
JawsYou all know Quint. You all know what he did for a living. When the rest of Amity was fretting over the loss of summer business following two gruesome shark attacks, this man's man laid it down: "$10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing." Jaws reminds us that mankind is not the top of the food chain, a primal truth Quint knows all too well. As a veteran of the USS Indianapolis, Quint saw the blood-thirsty brutality of these underwater monsters first hand. So it's almost fitting that his demise mirrors his recounting of that horrific event.
When the behemoth shark bounds upon the Orca, decimating its aft, Quint is thrown into the jaws of the beast he'd come to destroy. But he won't go down—literally into the inky depths below—without a fight. Like his old shipmates he pounds and hollers and even manages to stab the Great White in the face with a machete before the creature's doll-like eyes go white for the kill. Like a true Captain, Quint went down with his ship. And like a true movie hero, he did it like a total badass.
The Great OutdoorsThe film doesn’t disappoint on its title as the characters run into more than their fair share of the various wilds of nature. Pesky (subtitled) raccoons, sleep fishing with leeches, fighting a bat and John Candy’s Chet going toe to toe with a Cow. Well, fork to mouth with ‘the old 96er.’ However, the real battle with the beast is a tale of revenge. Chet tells about the time he came face to face with a ferocious bear, took out his shotgun and BAM! The the bald headed killer bear of Claire County was born. Just an urban (rural) legend to spook the kids?
Nope. At the end of the film, Chet, thinking he’s rescuing the Craig children, pulls the follically challenged ursus (played by the great Bart the Bear) from a muddy pit and the “big bear chase me” chase begins. Chet makes it back to the cabin, successfully endangering two families, only to have the door collapse on him, the bear take a few seesaws and then chase everyone around the cabin. Luckily, Robert Prosky shows up with a lamp gun and Chet is able to shoot the hair of the bear’s rear end. The bear, now bare on both ends, is forced to retreat.
Monty Python and the Holy GrailThe bones of devoured prey littering the mouth of the cave suggest the presence of a savage beast. But it’s not lurking behind the behind the rabbit … it IS the rabbit! In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his Knights of the Round Table arrive at a cave that reportedly contains the coveted Grail. The only thing standing in their way? The puny Rabbit of Caerbannog. Never mind his sharp teeth, his leaping ability, or the aforementioned bones. Arthur and his men do what most cocky humans do when faced with a perceived inferior animal foe: They underestimate him, and pay for their ignorance with a pound of flesh and a gallon of blood.
Easily one of the funniest scenes in the uproarious Holy Grail, this low-budget battle basically asks the Python pals to wrestle with a stuffed animal as they pretend to be devoured by a ferocious beast. Like the finest movie magic, the sequence relies more on wit than visual wizardry. And the best part? The rabbit prevails, as the knights – clearly outmatched – realize their only option is to run away.
Piranha 3DThere are so many moments where man encounters beast in Piranha, but so few featured actual attempts to fight back. While hordes of spring breakers disregarded the advice of the local law to get out of the water, allowing themselves to be chum for the feeding of swarms of hungry pre-historic fish, and others were merely innocent bystanders (or byswimmers), Ving Rhames’ Deputy Fallon went down too, but not without a fight.
Following his attempts to protect those young people too foolish to heed sound advice to vacate the lake that was soon to be a feeding ground for giant man-eating piranhas, Deputy Fallon took to the water, wading knee deep into the fish infested lake and, after a shotgun proved an insufficient weapon, wielded the roaring engine of a motorboat as his only weapon against the ravenous gilled beasts. And while they inevitably overcame him, many were shredded into torn up bits of fish before he fell to his knees, seemingly to his death (though he’s set to return for the sequel). Chew on this, motherfuckers!
There’s Something About MaryA pint-sized dog, with its yap and its underfooted-ness, is more likely to be seen as an annoyance than a threat. However, give that same dog a little more bite and several more uppers than average, and you have an angry ball of fluff, ready and willing to go for the throat, the balls, and any other appendage that will earn a laugh. This is the lesson Ben Stiller’s character, Ted, must learn in There’s Something About Mary, a lesson that is in equal parts vicious, uproarious, and disturbing.
Ted first encounters the unrelenting Puffy as she waits behind a bathroom door. He’s a little concerned, as Puffy is causing a ruckus on the other side of the wall. Assured he is “like Benji,” Ted releases the beast. It is tough to say what his best call really would have been in that situation. You can’t kill the little mite. After all, Puffy is the object of his affections’ affection. Plus, I’m pretty sure PETA would not dig it. So, Ted is forced to grapple violently and protect his appendages, eventually reaching a conclusion that Stiller’s character in 2004’s Dodgeball would also be forced to master. Sometimes the only way to defeat an enemy is to duck.
ArachnophobiaThere’s a very good reason why arachnophobia is one of the most common fears: spiders are fucking terrifying. They’re small enough that you might not notice them right away, some of them are poisonous, eight legs and eight eyes are an awful combination, and the feeling of them walking on your skin is one of the worst sensations available on the planet. It’s for those reason that Frank Marshall’s Arachnophobia is one hell of a horrifying film and the final scene belongs on this list.
In the scene, Dr. Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels) has finally located the nest of the super spiders, and it happens to be in his own basement. Though he’s able to handedly dispose of the queen, he has one more problem left: The General, the Amazonian spider that caused the arachnid plague in the first place. It’s the kind of horror scene that makes you squirm and jump without any cheap tricks, quick cuts, or jump scares. Every little move of the spider is pure terror, and part of you actually fears for Dr. Jennings’ life. While the scene may seem silly to anyone not afraid of the web making devils, it’s a harrowing experience for anyone that is.