2018 was a banner year for horror, including some standout creature features. We wouldn’t to face off with any of these monsters. Which were the scariest?
SPOILERS if you haven’t seen A QUIET PLACE, THE RITUAL, ANNIHILATION, or RAMPAGE.
6. Corellian Hounds in “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
These vicious dogs certainly look scary, with prominent teeth that regenerate. But since we never see them tear anyone to shreds (unlike the dogs that inspired them, from “Willow”), they’re almost cute. Especially in Lego form!
And how did they move so much like real dogs? StarWars.com reveals that there were real dogs inside rubber suits!
Puppeteer Brian Herring told the official Star Wars site:
“The Corellian hounds were played by two Dobermans named Blackie and Boyce and two Northern Inuits called Saxon and Elsa. They wore specially-fabricated net suits with muscle structures under foam latex…. Great care and attention was taken to develop a suit that would be comfortable for the animals to wear and give them the freedom of movement needed to perform in. They had a wide field of vision and ample breathing room. You can tell how much they enjoyed their role by how fast they take off when Moloch sends them after Han and Qi’ra! They were quite a sight at full speed. ILM did digital work on their faces. These dogs are no strangers to the spotlight. Blackie has appeared in “Hugo” and Saxon and Elsa have played Dire Wolves in “Game of Thrones.”
5. Supersized Croc from “Rampage”
It’s not just George the gorilla and a wolf that grow unnaturally, frightfully large in “Rampage.” A random crocodile also gets a dose of mutagen chemicals and starts destroying Chicago.
In the games, the giant croc is known as “Lizzie,” although she is never referred to by name in the film. Lizzie was designed by Aaron Sims Creative. Per the “Rampage” wikipedia, her roars are reused from the Carnotaurus from Disney’s 2000 movie “Dinosaur.”
She’s mighty scary, but happily the humans in the film never have to fight her off.
4. Monster in “The Ritual”
Four British friends who hike into the Swedish woods have strange visions and find themselves stalked by an unseen prey. We don’t see the monster until nearly the end of the film, when we find there are people who worship the ancient being so they can avoid being sacrifices themselves.
Director David Bruckner spoke to Collider about the monster’s bizarre look, that it was something out of “an old Norse Viking nightmare” and that it has the ability to shape-shift and choose its appearance. “So, what you’re seeing is how it desires to be interpreted, and it’s part of the way it intimidates and controls,” he said.
It’s horrific, but you’ll only run into it if you go into that particular forest. So don’t do that.
3. Megalodon in “The Meg”
The Meg’s sheer size is awe-inspiring: This prehistoric shark is 75 feet long. And its bite? According to Discovery Channel (via Refinery29) the real meg (which went extinct more than 2.6 million years ago), likely had about 250 teeth spread over 5 rows and an estimated bite force of 182,200 Newtons, or 40,960 pound-force.
Not something to be messed with as we see it chow down on people, boats and well, pretty much everything. Good thing they’re extinct! Just stay on land for good measure.
2. Aliens in “A Quiet Place”
“A Quiet Place” begins after aliens with supersonic have nearly wiped out all of humanity. One family survives by living as quietly as possible, from walking barefoot to avoiding absolutely anything that makes noise since the slightest sound could mean certain death.
As writer-director and star John Krasinski told Collider:
“They’re definitely aliens and they’re an evolutionarily perfect machine. So the idea is if they grew up on a planet that had no humans and no light then they don’t need eyes, they can only hunt by sound. They also develop a way to protect themselves from everything else so that’s why they’re bulletproof and all these things. I had to make it make sense. I needed the rules of the monster to adhere as tightly to the rules of the family. The family, we had set up all these incredible rules, and I needed the monster to not just be convenient.”
Of course, their ultra-sensitive hearing is also their ultimate downfall. Krasinski is working on a sequel, which sounds like it might be about other people (who presumably haven’t figured out the creatures’ weakness) battling the dreaded aliens.
1. Mutant bear in “Annihilation”
The fact there’s a killer bear in “Annihilation” isn’t the really horrifying part: It’s that — in the constantly mutating world of The Shimmer — its last victim (Sheppard, played by Tuva Novotny) becomes a chilling part of the creature that killed her. Instead of a roar, the bear now repeats her dying screams.
Easily the most disturbing creature moment of the year.
Talking to The Verge, visual effects supervisor Andrew Whitehurst explained:
“We knew we were going to try to suggest the idea of the mutation causing sickness, but also causing pronounced physical change and transformation, which was true for most of the creatures. We wanted to suggest the idea that some of Sheppard’s DNA is somehow added into the bear, and maybe other humans it has encountered previously are part of it also. So we were struggling to come up with a clear visual way of describing that. One of the concept artists, in a piece of 3D software, got a scan of a bear skull and a scan of a human skull, and literally just mashed the two together. We looked at that and went, ‘Yeah, okay, that’s horrible. That’s gonna work.’”
They also incorporated the idea of what a sick, dying animal would look like, deciding that the flesh would be “totally atrophied.” And got rid of any cute characteristics, including “the wet juicy nose, and all the fluff.”
What’s left is pure nightmare.