DOI: 10.1386/jem_00096_1 ISSN:

Sharks, spiders, snakes, oh my: A review of creature feature films

Brianna Le Busque, Carla Litchfield
  • General Engineering

Media are conduits for people to obtain information about animal species and may therefore influence how people think about these species. This study advances our understanding of animals (and plants) in the media by analysing a final dataset of 638 films categorized in the genre ‘Creature Features’. Through analysing the biography, film poster and trailer on the IMDb database, it was found that sharks were the most depicted species in creature feature films, with insects and arachnids, dinosaurs and snakes also being frequently featured. There were changes in the types of animal species commonly portrayed in creature feature films across time, with dinosaurs and primates being more frequently depicted in the 1920s–30s and sharks being more frequently depicted in recent decades. This study is the first to investigate which animal/plant species are evident in creature feature films, which is a broader genre incorporating mythology, extant and general unrealistic portrayals of animals. This allows for new understandings regarding the influence the media can have on perceptions of animal and plant species.

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