Occasionally, a film is changed completely by the presence of something really astounding. Sometimes, it can be a tour de force acting performance (see, Daniel Day Lewis in There Will be Blood). Sometimes it’s a deft directorial touch (see P.T. Anderson’s work in There Will be Blood). Other times, it’s the cinematography (see the work of Robert Elswit in There Will be Blood). And still other times, it’s someone wearing an animal costume. Here are ten great performances by people dressed in animal costumes in movies.
1. The penguin in Billy Madison
2. The rabbit in Donnie Darko
Wanna make anything creepy and weird? Create a Halloween costume out of an evil bunny rabbit and make him talk about the end of days.
3. Ralphie in A Christmas Story
Speaking of bunny costumes...
4. The Philadelphia Eagle in Ace Ventura
5. The Durham Bull in Bull Durham
It’s a similar concept to the bit in Ace Ventura, only better. Unfortunately, I can’t find it anywhere. So close your eyes and imagine a guy in a bull suit getting drilled with a 100 MPH fastball.
6. A polar bear in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
It’s not just the bear. Everything about this clip is all kinds of awesome.
7. A whole bunch of people in The Wicker Man
First of all, just to clarify here, I’m not referring to that miserable Nic Cage remake of the amazing astounding awesome 1973 classic. Second, I’m not including a clip here because I don’t want to ruin the ending for you if you haven’t seen it. Instead, enjoy these really jacked-up images from it.
8. (tie) Zebraman and Crabman, Zebraman
If you don’t know what this movie is, do yourself a favor and figure it out. It’s made by Takashi Miike, who is best known for ultra violent films like Audition and Ichii the Killer. Here, he takes a (mild) break from the violence to make a really funny and fun (and nuttier than squirrel poop) movie about a superhero who possesses the amazing abilities of… a zebra. And he fights “Crab Man”, as well as a four story tall booger.
9. Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in Stir Crazy
When I was a kid, I’d walk through the video store and see the rental box for Stir Crazy. I’d see Pryor and Wilder in woodpecker suits and I’d think to myself, “That must be the funniest movie ever made”. Then I forgot about it for a long time, and finally actually watched this movie last year. It wasn’t the funniest movie ever made. But the woodpecker outfit sketch is fantastic.
10. The bear in Girls Nite Out
I’m cheating a little bit here. I haven’t actually seen this but I found out about it recently. It’s an 80’s slasher film in which the murderer is a guy in a bear costume. Jump to about 3:30 to see the bear.
Honorable Mention: The Easter bunny in Confessions of a Porn Addict
There’s a segment in this movie where the protagonist, a porn addict, is detailing that he’s seen so much pornography that it takes stranger and stranger porn to get off. And then it does a jump cut to a guy in an Easter bunny costume with a girl bent over in front of him. It’s only in there for half a second or so but, boy howdy, is it memorable.
Also, I’d give honorable mention to Club Dread but those people are dressed as fruit, not animals. So when I do my “Great Movie Performances by People in Fruit Costumes” list, that’ll be #1.