I’ve always been fascinated with books that have nature turning against humans with deadly consequences. This can be in the form of plants as in Day of The Triffids or more often animals or insects. We’ve had killer bees, dogs, cats, sheep and the list goes on. There is something especially unnerving about innocuous every day creatures that surround us, suddenly wanting to kill us. It’s been an ample source for movies such as Arachnophobia or the worm fest classic Squirm.
Two British authors of the Seventies and Eighties really captured the imagination with their takes on creatures gone wild. James Herbert has a tremendous trilogy focused on rats, with The Rats (1974), Lair (1979), and Domain (1984). These were extremely violent, and delved into the government letting the people it is supposed to protect down. I highly recommend this series of books. Publishers Macmillan have recently released a 40th anniversary hardback edition of Rats, which looks really good and highly collectible. I want it! This novel was also (loosely) turned into a B movie called Deadly Eyes, and even a Commodore 64 video game.
The other heavy hitter of the time was Shaun Hutson with his Slugs (1982), and Breeding Ground (1985). As you can imagine with covering slugs, that most agree are gross anyway, this took the creep factor and gore to another level. Definitely not for the squeamish, but that’s what makes them so fun. Here’s an early review I did of Slugs. Here are some of the covers:
Thanks to the magic of YouTube, the movie Slugs (1988) is available in its entirety. It’s entertaining, fun and gory, so give it a watch. I guarantee that afterwards you’ll be checking lettuce more closely before eating it.