Generally speaking, there are two kinds of horror movies out there: the man-based horror and the nature-based horror. Man horror is your Saw, your Halloween, your Sex And The City. Nature horror is Lake Placid, The Day Of The Triffids and the incomparable Night Of The Lepus. Man horror can get pretty predictable after a while -- how many ways can a dude gut a marching band, anyway? But, nature horror is like a never-ending surprise bag full of bloody giblets and shredded face meat. Why? Because real, actual nature is a nonstop parade of horrific terror that mimics horror movies at every turn. Behold!
#8. Ant-Killing Assassin Bug: Jeepers Creepers
All things being equal, the name you get as an animal is often a good gauge of how intimidating a beast you are. Guinea pig sounds utterly hilarious. Beaver sounds mildly intimidating and musky. Ant-killing assassin bug sounds like some kind of role Dolph Lundgren should play in a movie you find late one night on Netflix. But, the reality is somehow even more awesome, if you can believe it.
Like the Creeper from the film Jeepers Creepers, the ant-killing assassin bug doesn't just kill his prey -- he also uses their carcasses to make himself better. After injecting an enzyme into ants that liquefies their insides, the assassin bug sucks them dry and piles the exoskeletons onto its back to make a massive Ed Gein backpack of horror. Why do such a crazy thing? Scientists speculate it may be a method of macabre camouflage: Imagine your name is Pete, and you go to a party, and everyone is like, "Hey, Pete!" You leave and then return -- after piling the bodies of 20 of your neighbors on your back. Most people probably won't even notice you under all that.
#7. Butcher-Bird: Vlad The Impaler
It would be awesome if butcher-birds got their name because they assaulted smaller birds with meat cleavers, but we don't live in a world that precious or vile, so we have to make due with birds that murder their prey in less obvious -- but equally morbid -- ways. The butcher-bird chose to model itself after the inspiration for Dracula himself, Vlad The Impaler.
Guess where this murder bird lives. Go on, guess.
When a butcher-bird runs across a tasty tidbit in the wild, be it an errant french fry or some manner of dipshit cricket, the bird will take the prey and stab its ass down on a thorn or busted twig to both teach it a lesson about the arrogance of trying to live in the butcher-bird's neighborhood and also to save it for later. Having your lunch pinned to a tree also helps securing it for eating purposes since, as you may have noticed, birds don't have hands.
#6. Pink Dragon Millipede: Alien
Throughout the Alien franchise, one of the coolest aspects of the entire species has been its tendency to dribble molecular acid around like Adam Tod Brown dribbling his DNA in the Cracked offices. Whether it's solely the species' blood or sometimes its spit isn't always easy to suss out, but I'm pretty confident I've seen at least one Alien movie in which the little bastard spit acid at someone -- and that's why the pink dragon millipede is terrifying. Not only does it look like the latest Disney Kids accessory for demon children, it actually spits cyanide. Like real, deadly, old-timey murder cyanide.
Chulabush Khatancharoen/Wiki Commons
'80s style meets '30s homicide.
When confronted with prey or someone like you wandering through the woods, the millipede shoots a spray of cyanide right in your general direction. If this doesn't subdue you (or whatever else it feels like sending to a fabulously hot-pink demise), it will shoot off another blast and flee. So, your options are being coated in cyanide and then eaten or being coated in cyanide and then coated in cyanide again. I checked with a doctor, and he assured me, those are shitty options.
#5. Bombardier Beetle: Reign Of Fire
Imagine the stark, dreary landscape of a post-apocalyptic future in which mankind has been reduced to splotchy patches of grubby survivors hiding in the rubble of a once-great nation and relying on the skills and prowess of Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey to keep you safe from the scourge of assholes shooting hot, chemical devastation across your face. Did you just imagine the movie Reign Of Fire? FOOL! I was describing this thing I just made up that is the same as that movie, only with bombardier beetles instead of dragons. Your face is so red.
Like dragons of olde (and of central Michigan), the bombardier beetle is fully capable of mixing noxious chemicals somewhere deep in its crap factory and then spewing them forth with ferocity and burning awfulness. The beetle's abdomen squirts hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide together, which makes a scorching hot mixture that'll burn your ass like a champ.