Eco-terror films, also known as “nature-run-amok,” “natural horror” or “eco-horror” films, center on an animal or group of animals that are much larger and more aggressive than normal. Usually the animal will terrorizing humans in a certain location while a group of other humans attempt to kill it. These films started in the 1950s, when fears over atomic testing led to the popularity of movies about gigantic monsters. Many of the films were about something on the lines of a massive prehistoric creature awakened by an atomic blast, or an everyday animal mutated by radiation. This movie trend came back in the 1970s as awareness of pollution increased, with corporate greed and the military being blamed for the destruction of the environment. Here’s a look at some of the best known eco-terror films:
Godzilla (1954): A film about American nuclear weapons testing which results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like creature.
Night of the Lepus (1972): About an Arizona ranch that is plagued with “mongrel” rabbits. The ranch owner, Cole Hillman, wants to deal with the issue in an ecologically sound manner. As a favor to Hillman, college president Elgin Clark calls in zoologist Roy Bennett to help. Bennett instantly begins injecting rabbits with hormones and genetically mutated blood in an effort to disrupt the rabbit’s reproduction. But, one of the test subjects escapes, resulting in a race of massive bloodthirsty man-eating bunnies.
Alligator (1980): About a pet alligator that is flushed down the toilet as a baby and grows into a massive beast by eating the corpses of laboratory animals who have undergone shady hormone experiments. Eventually the monster begins to feed on the humans.