Friday 30th September (Today) sees the release of Cane Toads 3D: The Conquest, a documentary film about one of Australia’s greatest environmental catastrophes, and the lengths that people are willing to go to try and stop, the troublesome cane toad. To celebrate its release we take a look at some of the stand out films that see humans take on the animal world and the species that have inspired these environmental thrillers.
Arachnophobia (1990) – Man vs Spider
One of those movies you used to moan about being on TV all the time until they stopped showing it on TV all the time, Arachnophobia tackles the source one of human natures most common fears – the spider. A killer spider hitches a ride in a coffin from a South American rainforest to a small US town in the coffin and begins mating with indigenous spiders to create a breed that’s venom causes instant death. Jeff Daniels stars as the doctor who takes on the killer species in a film that also features John Goodman as the pest exterminator. (imdb)
See also: Eight-Legged Freaks: David Arquette, Scarlet Johansson and a load of massive spiders.
Rise of The Planet of The Apes (2011) – Man vs Ape
There have been lots of films that pit man against the so called next most intelligent species, the this latest offering of man vs ape is widely seen one of the best. Directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist), this Planet of the Apes prequel centres on a genetically engineered chimp called Caesar, brought to life by Andy Serkis. Created by James Franco’s scientist to help tackle Alzheimer’s, Cesar uses his powerful intellect to lead an ape uprising against all of humankind.(imdb)
See also: King Kong: choose from the 2005, 1976 or 1933 classic in tale a giant gorilla that falls for a blonde Hollywood starlet.
Grizzly Man (2005) – Man vs Bear
Werner Herzog’s brilliant put together docudrama that uses films recorded by amateur grizzly bear expert Timothy Treadwell who periodically journeyed to Alaska to study and live with the bears. The film gives an insight into the complex lover of bears an ends in tragedy as Treadwell and girlfriend Amie are killed by the bears they mean to study and protect. (imdb)
See also: Grizzly: a 70s B-Movie about ranger who takes on a 15-foot grizzly bear that is terrorising the park.
Lake Placid (1999) – Man vs Crocodile
A crocodile with a taste for Americans on vacation wreaks havoc at a quaint Maine lake. Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda star as part of the group that aim to trap the 15 foot croc and end his all-you-can-eat buffet exploits.(imdb)
See also: Rogue: Sam Worthington plays a country bumpkin in this Australia set croc-horror.
The Birds (1963) – Man vs Birds
Often seen as Alfred Hitchcock’s final masterpiece, The Birds sees Tippi Hedren being menaced by a series of violent bird attacks. Where as many creature features simply use attacking animals for cheap thrills, The Birds attempts to question man’s place in nature, complete with a downbeat open ending. It was also Hitchcock’s final collaboration with composer Bernard Herrmann, even though Herrmann is credited as ‘Sound Consultant’ as he produced a soundtrack of electronic bird noises in lieu of an actual score.(imdb)
See also: Birdemic: A cult classic, hilariously bad knock-off of The Birds in the style of The Room, featuring the worst CGI effects known to man.
Jaws (1975) – Man vs Shark
The film that created the modern blockbuster, it’s hard to think that before Jaws came along the summer was seen as a dead period for the movies. Steven Spielberg’s first smash hit is simply iconic, with Roy Schinder, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw hunting a great white which has been terrorizing a beach resort, accompanied by John Williams’ stunning minimalist score. (imdb)
See also: Deep Blue Sea: Genetically enhanced, super intelligent sharks and Samuel L Jackson has the best death scene in movie history.
Piranha (1978) – Man vs Piranha
Gremlins director Joe Dante made his directorial debut with this classic piece of Roger Corman produced trash. Genetically-modified killer piranhas escape from a US Army testing site, and swim up through a river holiday resort, causing carnage as they go. As well as launching Dante’s career, the sequel (Piranha 2: The Spawning) was directed by a young James Cameron (imdb)
See also: Piranha 3D: The recent remake is brilliantly knowing trashy fun, and the most entertain use of 3D yet.
Anaconda (1998) – Man vs Snake
A film crew, including Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube and Owen Wilson, go up the Amazon to shoot documentary, when they come across snake hunter John Voight, who’s on the trail of the world’s biggest anaconda. Unsurprisingly, the big snake doesn’t take to being hunted very kindly, and soon starts picking them off, one by one…(imdb)
See also: Snakes On A Plane: Where Samuel L Jackson has to deal with an outbreak of snakes… well, it’s in the title really.
Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee Nightmare (1995) – Man vs Bee
This made-for-television movie has built up somewhat of a cult following, due to its deadly serious tone and sheer cheesiness. Harking back to the early 90s when killer bees were a minor cause célèbre, it centres on a family, including a young Ryan Phillipee, who are trapped in their home when the bees besiege their town.(imdb)
Can Toads 3D: The Invasion
See also: The Swarm: Michael Caine versus killer bees; what’s not to love?
Can Toads 3D: The Invasion (2011) – Man vs Toad
Mark Lewis (Cane Toads: An Unnatural History) explores one of Australia’s greatest environmental catastrophes as he follows the unstoppable march of the cane toad across the Australian continent. Despised by many, venerated by some, the toad has occupied a nation’s consciousness achieving both cult and criminal status. Featuring a host of engaging characters as well as thousands of toads, Cane Toads: 3D is a humorous yet thought-provoking journey into the issue of invasive species.
See also: Cane Toads: An Unnatural History: the prequel to the latest Cane Toads offering form Mark Lewis.
Cane Toads 3D: The conquest is released across UK cinemas from September 30