Prowling about nature, calculating the perfect element of surprise before pouncing on their prey and shredding them to pieces, big cats are a force to be reckoned with. And in the case of Netflix’s Tiger King so is the evasive Carole Baskin.
Felines have been giving us some of the craziest moments in entertainment history this past year.
Whether it’s a big cat feud between a meth-addicted tiger zookeeper and a coy, alleged perfect murderess or a bizarre CGI adaptation of Cats, there’s no doubt that kitties are not canceled in 2020.
On the cinematic horror front, cats have been the source of human bloodshed for the past 50 years.
Below are some notable movies about big cats doing what they do best whether it’s on an African savannah or in the streets of Amsterdam, cats rule in these choice cuts.
Although not all of these movies are readily available on demand (I have given info on where to find them when I can), they are something to look for while social distancing.
In no particular order:
Burning Bright (Dir. Carlos Brooks)
One of the most underrated horror films of the 2000s, Burning Bright is not only a suspenseful action thriller but a terrifying home invasion movie, the invader being a starving tiger.
Whereas Tiger King kept you on the edge of your seat because of its plot twists, Burning Bright is a straight-forward cat-and-mouse game between feline and final girl.
Available on Shudder.
Roar (Dir. Noel Marshall)
Deemed the “Most Dangerous Movie Ever Made,” Roar is, on one hand, a humourous film about big cat conservation and on another a terrifying lesson about working with wild animals on film.
Aside from the peril written in the official script, actors and crew working on the movie were mauled and put in harm’s way every time the director called action.
A young Melanie Griffith (see clip below) had to have stitches after a lion attacked her face, and cinematographer Jan Du Bont was scalped after he got in the way of one of the giant beasts.
The Ghost and the Darkness (Dir. Stephen Hopkins)
When this film came out people compared it to Jaws. But instead of a Great White shark, the apex killers were two Tsavo lions in Africa named “the Ghost” and “the Darkness.”
A thrilling adventure and a few truly terrifying moments The Ghost and the Darkness earned an Academy Award and made The Lion King look like Hello Kitty.
Available on Starz.
Uncaged aka Prey (Dir. Dick Maas 2016)
Bringing starving big cats to the streets of Amsterdam, director Dick Maas serves up some truly thrilling moments in Uncaged. And get this, there is even a lion on a public light rail system–bet you didn’t see that coming.
Filmed in the picturesque streets of the Dutch capital, this killer kitty on the loose horror movie uses some pretty terrific practical special effects. Uncaged is a little gem that you may not know even existed.
Available on Prime.
Prey (Dir. Darrell Roodt 2007)
A family on an African safari gets more than they bargained for when they accidentally get stranded within a big cat infested game reserve and are stalked by hungry lions in this “based on a true story” event.
DVD available for purchase on Amazon.
Maneater (Dir. Gary Yates)
Gary Busey gets to play the hero in this 2007 made-for-TV movie about a tiger terrorizing a small rural community. This film is based on the novel Shikar by Jack Warner.
Sheriff Barnes (Busey) must go Die Hard in an Appalachian town against a Bengal Tiger who dines on the population as if they are a flavor of Purina Fancy Feast.
Available on Prime.
Zoombies (Dir. Glenn Miller)
This list probably wouldn’t be complete without an Asylum Pictures release.
Bad CGI, questionable choices in over dramatics by the actors and a derivative plot are what you expect from the house of Asylum. That is definitely what you get here with Zoombies, a movie as fun as its title.
Available to stream free for Amazon Prime members.
Sleepwalkers (Dir. Mick Garris)
Sleepwalkers is technically not a big cat movie. However, their smaller cousins do play a huge part in the plot, especially—spoiler alert—the main character: Shapeshifter and werecat Charles who along with his mother are on the prowl for virgins.
Unfortunately, Charles is caught by the domestic short hairs and is mortal enemies with housecats who are sick of his destructive behavior and end up using him as a scratching post.
Like Tiger King, this film is full of WTF moments. You can’t look away from the screen even during Sleepwalkers’ most uncomfortable and incestuous moments.
Rent on Prime.
Day of the Animals (William Girdler)
Thanks to Jaws, cinema in the 70s was filled with mother nature being a real bitch. Several horror movies were made where she ran amuck including this cautionary tale of fauna taking back the land due to a depleted ozone layer.
A group of hikers set off to scale a trail through the California wooded mountainside. Led by Steve Buckner, played by the late rugged leading man Christopher George, the group soon encounters an assortment of rogue wild animals who pick them off one by one including a mountain lion.
Leslie Neilsen, before his crossover into comedy, serves up some serious over dramatics as a hiker affected by the increased amounts of radiation caused by the sun’s rays.