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SWIM LIKE HELL: Take CRAWL Home on Blu-ray, DVD + Digital NOW – Man vs Predator – Must-see Creature Features


19 December 2019

Even in the early days of cinema, viewers paid to see otherworldly beings from their favourite gothic novels take shape on the big screen. With their ability to thrill, exhilarate and freak us out in any shape or form, larger-than-life characters like Dracula and Frankenstein have deservedly created their own film genre: the ‘monster movie’ or ‘creature feature’, centred on a group of people attempting to escape the clutches of these fearsome beasts.

To celebrate the release of Crawl available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download Now, join us for a countdown of must-see creature features that paved the way for this latest addition to a very special canon.....

 

 

Jaws (1975) 
Where better to start than the film that pretty much defined the modern blockbuster? Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece has it all: a killer score from John Williams, superb animatronics that put a lot of modern CGI to shame, and a downright frightful plot that framed the great white shark as public enemy number one. For cinephiles, Spielberg’s use of the dolly zoom or ‘zolly’ shot is iconic, perfectly capturing Chief Brody’s (Roy Scheider) shock and distorted perspective upon witnessing his first shark attack from the comfort of a beach deckchair. Simply put, this is a marvel of suspense filmmaking. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…

 

 

King Kong (2005)
Peter Jackson’s epic remake of the 1933 classic pairs mind-blowing CGI with a stellar cast to stunning effect. Naomi Watts is sensitive and alluring as Ann Darrow, Adrien Brody likeable as the brave Jack Driscoll and Jack Black suitably mischievous as the scheming filmmaker Carl Denham, but it is Andy Serkis who steals the show as the mythical gorilla. Filmed using motion capture, much like his work as Gollum in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the battle scenes are particularly impressive, complete with jaw-breaking tussles between Kong and some vicious dinosaurs. Once Denham and his crew bring the giant back to the Big Apple, sparks continue to fly as this creature feature transforms into a fully-fledged disaster movie. Another blockbuster of apish proportions.

 

 

Godzilla (1954)
A seminal feature in the Japanese kaiju (‘strange beast’) film genre, Godzilla (or Gojira in Japan) builds on the foundations laid by the original King Kong. Its use of ‘suitmation’ – where a stunt performer in a costume acts on a miniature set – was pioneering in its alteration of proportions and viewers’ perspectives for the scenes depicting Godzilla’s destruction of Tokyo. Like Kong, Godzilla has since become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, also credited for the emergence of the tokusatsu (‘special filming’) subgenre in Japanese cinema and TV, which makes heavy use of special effects. Whilst a couple of American remakes have been released to box-office success, neither comes close to Ishirō Honda’s original – be sure to check out the master monster-maker at work.

 

 

Alien (1979)
This influential sci-fi horror shot both director Ridley Scott and star Sigourney Weaver to Hollywood fame and spawned a hugely popular multimedia franchise. The excessively dark mise-en-scène and eerie spaceship sirens render this a masterclass in slow-building tension, with the eventual reveal of the eponymous alien’s appearance both startling and gruesome in equal measure. Much like in Jaws, the less we see of the predator, the more frightening it becomes as the film progresses; there’s nothing quite like the spine-chilling dread we experience when a point-of-view shot has the killer creeping up on its next victim. This is unsettling, heart-in-the-mouth cinema at its finest.

 

 

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