For every birthday-suit shapeshifter to appear on True Blood or denim-short teen wolf to pop up in the Twilight books, there are dozens of science fiction and horror narratives informing us that polymorphing into a marmoset, wombat, or whatever would legitimately suck. Here are ten squirm-inducing transformations that tattooed themselves onto our collective psyche.
This was an extremely short-lived television series about a shapeshifting doctor who uses his powers to fight crime. These practical effects transformations (by special effects legends Rick Baker and Stan Winston) were the highlights of each episode, so they were drawn out for the audience's maximum manimalistic pleasure. The Manimal notably turned into a panther and a serpent, and be sure to check out Manimal's Sam The Eagle face at 0:38.
In this 1973 film, a mad scientist turns some poor sap into a king cobra. While not terrifying by today's standards, this film does score points for adding lasers to the de-evolutionary process. Also, if 1990s public service announcements have taught me anything, most drug dealers are giant anthropomorphic snakes. This advice has yet to steer me wrong.
Ah, the disgusting scene where Queen Bavmorda turns Val Kilmer into some pig. My favorite aspect of this scene is how the magic is depicted. It's so intuitive and effortless! She justs windmills her arms for a few minutes yelling, "Pigs! Pigs! Yeah, that guy's a pig! Him too! Oh, and that dude! He has to be a pig." Magic as a touchdown dance, I can dig it.
7. The Howling
Rob Bottin's work on Joe Dante's 1981 werewolf flick was plenty creepy — and not to be reproduced in such sequels as Howling 3: The Marsupials. Let's watch that, just for giggles.
A welcome palate cleanser, as it's all downhill from here!
6. The Curse 2: The Bite
The first Curse was an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Color Out of Space" (that incidentally starred Wil Wheaton). On the other hand, The Curse 2: The Bite had absolutely nothing to do with the first film but was about a fellow who was bitten by a radioactive snake and slowly transformed into several snakes. This is everything James Earl Jones turning into a snake in Conan The Barbarian should've been.
5. An American Werewolf in London
Rick Baker strikes again! It's way less gooey than The Howling, but the bone-crunching sound effects up the nausea factor here.
4. Nightmare on Elm Street IV
As the Nightmare franchise wended on, Freddy Krueger had to get more creative with his ways to kill slow-on-the-uptake teenagers. Here, he drops some Metamorphosis on a girl, which makes me wish the filmmakers had solely devoted this film to literature-based fatalities. (Someone could exit their mortal coil, being pursued by a bear.)
3. The Fly
Happy Monday! Here is Jeff Goldblum falling to pieces, courtesy of David Cronenberg and make-up artist Chris Walas, who won an Academy Award for his stomach-churning contributions to this film.
Also, let's not forget the deleted scene in which Jeff Goldblum attempted to build a baboon-cat!
And here's the best of The Fly 2. That mutated dog was like Old Yeller, if Old Yeller made me want to skip lunch.
2. The Witches
Oh, fuck this so much. That's it, I'm out. Seriously, Anjelica Houston farting and turning into rat tumor is tantamount to being trapped in a panopticon of fondue Nazi faces from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Someone email the io9 tips line and tell them I'm taking a personal day, as my keyboard's covered in fear-induced biliousness. Still, there's something way, way, way worse than this.
Thank you Walt Disney, for teaching unsuspecting kids throughout the decades that mutating into brain-damaged livestock and being sold to the magical mafia are rites of passage.
REALITY BONUS: Lizardman, these guys, and the Humanimal, who insists that he is not a furry:
I didn't know what furries were until recently, but from the comments on my YouTube channels I gather I have a big following among them. So obviously there's a parallel, as much as we both try to portray some kind of animal. The main difference is being a furry is a fetish or a lifestyle. I, on the other hand, am a performance artist, who does it as a job, motivated by the creative and artistic aspects of the process. Also I don't wear furry costumes—all my designs are based around the human anatomy, hence the name Humanimal.