27th Aug2015

Ten Best: Beasts On Film

by Phil Wheat

Beasts have always provided fantastic source material for horror filmmakers across the ages, whether from the mythical world or the natural. To celebrate the release of Into the Grizzly Maze last week we take a look back at some the biggest, baddest beasts on film…

into-the-grizzly-maze

Into the Grizzly Maze (2015)

Starring James Marsden, Thomas Jane and Billy Bob Thornton, Into the Grizzly Maze tells the story of a sheriff (Jane), thrown into turmoil when a massive rogue grizzly wreaks havoc in a local Alaskan community. Enlisting the help of his estranged brother (Marsden) he enters the labyrinthine Grizzly Maze to track down his missing wife, before the bear does. As the body count mounts, things are only further complicated when an infamous bear hunter (Thornton) enters the fray, determined to take down the bear he’s been waiting for his whole life…

Jaws (1975)

Spielberg’s classic stars Rob Schneider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss, and takes place over the course of one hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody (Schneider) discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. As the victims mount, Amity is swamped with amateur hunters hoping to cash in on the bounty offered. A local fisherman with experience hunting sharks, Quint (Shaw), offers to hunt down the creature for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brody and Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. But they might need a bigger boat…

The Mist (2007)

In 2007, having previously adapted Stephen King’s novellas The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, director Frank Darabont returned with yet another adaptation of King’s work, The Mist. An ensemble cast of Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden and Laurie Holden feature in this spooky, claustrophobic horror. After a freak storm in the small town of Bridgton, Maine, a band of citizens become trapped in a supermarket, enveloped by a most unnatural mist. The trapped citizens are driven into action as it becomes evident that something vicious, savage and otherworldly lurks within the mist, unseen. The Mist explores what ordinary people will be driven to do under extraordinary circumstances.

Dune (1984)

This American science fiction film, written and directed by David Lynch, was based on the 1965 Frank Herbertnovel of the same name and stars Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen and Francesca Annis. Set in the year 10,191 in the midst of an intergalactic war, a duke’s son, Paul Atreides, leads an army of desert warriors against the galactic Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV to defend planet Arrakis (also known as Dune). Successfully defending the barren, desert planet seems all but hopeless, unless Paul can harness control of the monsters that linger beneath the sands of planet Dune…

Beowulf (2007)

In 2007 the Old English epic poem Beowulf exploded onto the screen in revolutionary computer-animation. The fantasy film was created through a brand new motion capture process, and starred a blockbuster cast including Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, John Malkovich, Crispin Glover and Angelina Jolie. Set against the coming of Christianity, the fearsome and boastful warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing towns and villages. Beowulf’s heroism cannot be celebrated for too long however, as a monster much more powerful still exists, and she has a vengeful desire for human blood… Grendel’s mother…

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Directed by Louis Leterrier, Clash of the Titans sees Sam Worthington star in his second major lead role, following the vast critical acclaim for his character Jake Sully in Avatar. This action-packed fantasy thriller is based on the Greek myth of Perseus and his battle with Hades. Once Perseus is prophesied as the only ‘human’ who can defeat the Olympian Gods, he faces all manner of fearsome beasts and monsters in his attempt to send Hades back to the Underworld. To fulfil this prophesy he must slay giant scorpions, the gorgon Medusa, and most terrifying of all, the Kraken.

Dog Soldiers (2002)

British director Neil Marshall’s directorial debut was a surprise hit on release, expertly combining comedy and horror on a shoestring budget. Sergeant Harry Wells (Sean Pertwee) leads a team of soldiers on an expedition to the Scottish Highlands, which takes a sinister turn when they discover the severely injured Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham) and the bloody remains of his team. On the run from giant werewolf beasts, they seek refuge in the cottage of zoologist Megan (Emma Cleasby), who offers some explanation… but the danger is far from over, as they begin a desperate attempt to keep the monsters out…

I Am Legend (2007)

This adaptation of Richard Matheson’s influential novelette of the same name, features a standout performance from Will Smith as Robert Neville, a brilliant scientist desperately trying to survive while fighting off the infected survivors of a devastating vampiric plague. Neville was inexplicably immune to the highly contagious infection and now the entire world has been transformed into murderous bloodsuckers that fear the light and live solely to spread the infection…

The Cabin In The Woods (2012)

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard wrote and directed this well-received satirical horror, turning a clichéd premise on its head and subverting the genre. When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams) stay in a remote cabin in the woods, they find they are completely isolated with no means of communicating with the outside world. Finding a collection of relics, they inadvertently awaken a family of deadly zombies. But just who is calling the shots… and why?

The Village (2004)

M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this thriller, which features his trademark twist ending. The rustic village of Covington is home to 60 citizens leading a quiet, seemingly idyllic life- with one bizarre caveat. Terrible creatures lurk just outside the borders of the village, and the people of Covington have reached an agreement with them, permitting them to go about their business as long as they never cross the village’s boundaries. However, this delicate agreement is upset when the wilful Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), decides to investigate what really lies past the boundaries, and unwittingly incurs the wrath of the creatures upon the village…
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Into the Grizzly Maze is out now on DVD and VOD courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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