[Guest Post]

Pet Power: When Fluffy Stops Being Nice and Starts Getting Real

The love we have for our pets is one of the strongest bonds linking us to the natural world. We’ve laughed, cried, and even screamed at stories involving the animals we care for. Because, while there is a great number of beautiful tales of humans and animals loving and caring for each other, there are a number of tales that flip those emotions on their heads. In these instances, animals decide they’ve had enough with humans and the way they’ve exploited the natural world (“driving hundreds of species to extinction for example” in the last 500 years) so they rise up to teach humanity a lesson. Here are five of the scariest movies that show what happens when we ignore the power of the animal kingdom.

Directed by Irwin Allen (The Poseidon Adventure), 1978’s The Swarm starred Michael Caine as an entomologist hot on the trail of a swarm of deadly African bees. Before he has a chance to warn anyone of the bees’ intent, they manage to kill the entire personnel of a military base, cause the crashes of several helicopters, and move onto killing the citizens of a small town. Only by working with other scientists and the military is he able to come up with a final solution that destroys the bees and saves the world. While The Swarm was not a well-received disaster flick when it premiered, it was an interesting look at what could happen if bees or other insects decided to team up and fight against humanity.

Known more for the crazy behind-the-scenes stories than for the plot of the film itself (a man leaves home for the day and his family arrives only to find themselves surrounded by big cats), Road (1981) starred Noel Marshall, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith – and over 100 actual lions, and tigers. Around 70 members of the crew and the cast were injured while making the film, with one person even needing 220 stitches after being scalped by a lion. While the plot may be forgettable, the lessons learned by the filmmakers who chose to make this film are very apparent. Wild animals are not pets and shouldn’t be treated without the utmost care and respect.

Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward starred in 1990’s Tremors, a movie about two handymen that stumble upon underground monsters intent on devouring everyone in their small town. Interestingly, the “tremors” in the movie are awakened due to hydraulic fracturing for oil wells – aka “fracking” – a practice which Just Energy lists as occurring in 24 US states, and is responsible for the devastation of animal habitats, as well as interference with migration patterns and reproduction in real life. While the snake-like creatures in Tremors aren’t actually found in real nature and the background of where the creatures even came from is never really explained, it is still a solid example of a story where animals are fighting back against a real-life threat. For a good chunk of the film, the animals are winning, and it takes some last minute luck (and some handmade explosives) to save the human heroes at the end of this story.

Explosives come in handy toward the end of 1997’sAnaconda as well. Here nature decides to fight back against evil poachers by turning the tables on them with a giant snake that hungers for just about anything – including human flesh. While innocent nature documentarians also suffer the wrath of this mega anaconda, it is Jon Voight’s hunter that meets the worst end – but it’s hard to feel too badly for him when you think of all the snakes and animals that were captured or killed because of him.

Lake Placid (1999), starring Bridget Fonda and Bill Pullman, took a more humorous and humane approach to the idea of animals and nature fighting back. When a giant crocodile begins attacking people around a peaceful lake, local law enforcement join up with scientists to see if they can find and capture the creature before it hurts or kills anyone else. Though their plans go awry (as they often do in such movies), they do try to take the crocodile alive instead of just killing it first thing. It is a hard lesson to learn, but an important one for the future of all species.

Drilling for fossil fuels, deforestation, and poaching endangered species are just some of the ways humans are destroying the natural world. But as long as humans see themselves as greater than and above nature and able to do with it as they please, nature will find a way to prove them wrong – whether it be with swarms of killer bees, monsters underground, or giant crocodiles taking over local watering holes, we better be prepared for these mutated creatures if we continue on this destructive path we’re on.

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