Morbidly Beautiful

Your Home for Horror


Though the genre is full of scary human and supernatural terrors, the biggest threats are often the most natural… when horror goes wild.

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Nature doesn’t make mistakes; that’s what makes its creations so perfectly deadly and terrifying.

We might be at the top of the food chain because of our smarts, but in brutal nature, I don’t think we stand much of a chance against the forces of land and sea. While we’ve done a good job of inventing monsters (the wolf becomes the werewolf, a giant becomes Sasquatch), the world has provided us plenty of nightmare fuel in the form of elegant and lethal creatures that stalk all the corners of our world.

I did a little digging — from the classic shark tale that makes you nervous to dip a toe into frenzied wild boar killing in the Australian outback to the hungry wolf packs stalking the wooded snow.

I’m sure there is a movie for just about every animal. Still, I’ve found places for the ones we see every day or live near, or sometimes go out of our way to see on a safari, and compiled a list of wild scares provided by the world’s most frightening, efficient, and deadly animals, fish and insects that horror has to offer, from the tiny spider to the proud lion.

Do you have a special film you turn to when you want to get wild? Leave your contribution in the comments and help build this list of horrific animals!

1. Bears (Cocaine Bear/Back Country/Annihilation)

You can find them on this continent, and you may easily find them rummaging through your trash in some parts of the country. Hulking, growling, and plodding, bears are unpredictable, deadly animals that have conquered mountains and forests.

Horror seemed to recognize the danger and the possibility of using stories involving the ferocious beast to give us a new fear of the trees and caves. Cocaine Bear (2023) was a true story retold about a black bear in TN who consumes cocaine, but instead of dying like the news story, the bear becomes an addict. Running and tearing, the cocaine bear is a hyped-up version of the predator but was true to the “mother bear” saying, demonstrating how defensive animals are of their young.

Frightening but funny, I don’t think I’d stand a chance against a cocaine bear, let alone a normal one.

In the same vein of recreating this animal and its capabilities is Annihilation (2018). In the scene in which this mutant variant bear can mimic the screams of its previous victims, we are faced with a familiar shape and teeth, but the biome has made this bear all the more horrifying as it sniffs, paws, and ponders the attack.

Away from fantasy are films like Back Country (2014). A couple camping is hunted ruthlessly by a black bear, which inevitably leads to a sacrificial choice, leaving time for a tragic escape. A closer-to-home, more realistic version of the consequences of trespassing in nature, Back Country is a slow burn to a terrifying conclusion where the trees never end, and what’s chasing you is hot on your scent.

2. Piranha (Piranha 3D)

Mean little fish that run in a school and have more teeth than patience, piranha are deadly in the wild, and we have the videos to prove it.

Going to smaller fish than sharks, the remake Piranha 3D is based on the 1978 horror comedy Piranha. Following a young man taking care of his siblings over a crowded spring break, we get all the girls gone wild action of a spring breaker movie with all the gore of any creature feature.

The fish are a deadly, comical plague, eating up spring break one floatie at a time and turning the waters of the town bright red.

3. Dogs (Cujo, Gerald’s Game)

Based on Stephen King’s 1981 novel of the same name, Cujo (1983) was barking, snarling chaos at the hands of man’s best friend. Bitten by a rabid bat, Cujo was once a family pet, a loving St. Bernard slobbering on the hands of his owners. When Cujo attacks while only mother and son are present, leaving them to take refuge in a car, it’s up to the two former pet owners to find a way out of Cujo’s path.

King seems to enjoy dogs being frightening, as he brings another dog into the story of Gerald’s Game (2017). On a weekend to rekindle romance in a remote cabin, Gerald’s Game is another King tale adapted from his 1992 novel of the same name, once thought impossible to present in movie format.

Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, one of the many factors that torment Jessie Burlingame (Gugino) is a dog that enters the house and begins feeding on her husband’s remains. Night after night, the dog grows bolder, and Jessie needs to find a way to free herself or end up dead at the hands of time or one of the many foes that pay her a visit.

Making a simple dog frightening, King was up to the challenge of taking house pets and making them feral and formidable.

4. Chimps (Nope, The Fall of the House of Usher)

In a film about extraterrestrials, we find a horror story buried within it about the destruction our distant relatives can cause when left unchecked.

Intelligent and awfully strong, chimps are usually viewed as docile and communicative instead of violent and frightening. In Peele’s smash hit Nope (2022), Steven Yeun plays a particularly scarred character. The owner of his own theme park, Ricky “Jupe” Park, was on a sitcom featuring a chimp when he was younger. One day, the animal gets violent, and we get bits and pieces of the attack as Jupe hides from the ape.

Bloody yet somehow playful, Gordy the chimp only got one outburst before he was killed by police.

On the smaller screen, we look at Mike Flanagan’s work again in The Fall of the House of Usher. The death of Camille is at the hands of chimpanzees that maul her face clean off, the act and aftermath we are mostly spared of but the message is delivered in the lab howling with caged chimps: these animals are not experimental, they are nearly human, and sometimes lethal.

5. Boars (Boar)

One of those singular films that takes you off guard, Boar (2017) is the tale of a wild boar in the outback that goes off the rails.

The Australian film follows a family in the countryside that attracts the attention of a wild boar that begins a snarling rampage. A deadly and unpredictable animal in real life that we don’t often encounter, Boar dug deep into those squealing pits of pigs we think of when we imagine someone disposing of remains and took an intelligent, out-of-the-norm animal selection and made it rabid enough to deliver some scares.

Deadlier than a pig den, Boar is a hunting, snarli