We've made some criticisms of Syfy's choices recently — but it's important to be constructive as well. Which is why we want to encourage Syfy to give us more of the Roger Corman-powered monster movie goodness that we adore. We even have a suggestion for a monster that could be the next Sharktopus.
Our suggestion? Abandon the water, and head onto land, with the unstoppable half-bear, half-spider: BEARANTULA! No, really. Hear us out.
Our first thought after watching the rampage of the half-shark, half octopus menace was, "Western civilization has peaked." With the ukiyo-e majesty of sweeping tentacles and gnashing shark teeth, Sharktopus felt like the culmination of every cultural development since Aeschylus and Ray Harryhausen. Military hubris, scientific arrogance, Spring Break decadence, and so much more... Sharktopus sums up everything. If you pay attention, it even explains the mortgage lending crisis. How can you improve on the zenith of perfection?
The first step is to realize that Sharktopus is not the ultimate predator, and that we humans do not live in the water. The ultimate predator would have to be a land creature, with enough legs to move hella fast, some kind of poisonous sacs, and huge freaking bear claws and teeth. Hence, the unstoppable terror of Bearantula! From the waist up, he's a bear. From the waist down, he's a giant tarantula. Boom!
So how do we get Bearantula? What's his origin story? After all, Sharktopus has already seized the nearly perfect backstory of a military experiment that's gotten out of hand. It's political, but also sort of timeless. So where can you go with Bearantula?
The answer is so obvious, it's staring you in the face, like an angry bear. The answer is to combine two hot-button issues facing us today: evolution and the financial crisis.
So there's a team of researchers — played by Simon MacCorkindale (aka Manimal), Jewel Staite, and the lead singer of Wang Chung. And they've built a machine that can simulate evolution. Going, like, millions of years into the future. The machine, called the Darwinoscope, can actually sequence the DNA of creatures that won't exist for millions of years, by extrapolating their evolutionary pathways. (This part is barely science fiction. We can practically do this already today. Well, sort of. Okay, not really. But we could, if we really wanted to.)
These researchers are being really cautious, and only sequencing the DNA of fruitflies from the Year 500,000 — until their funding gets cut, because of the financial meltdown. Plus people who don't believe in evolution are protesting their research. Their lab will be shut down at the end of the month — unless they come up with something amazing. They decide to build... the ultimate financial genius. The Warren Buffett of the year one million. Surely, this whiz-kid investor will think of some brilliant scheme to raise money.
Unfortunately, they extrapolate a little too far into the future, plus they accidentally select for the Ron Burkle of the year one million instead of Warren Buffett. They fail to take into account the fact that meteor showers in the year 900,523 will render the world all but uninhabitable, except for creatures that can hibernate AND catch other creatures in their webs. So the ultimate investor of the year one billion will be both bear and spider. This is 100 percent scientifically accurate, by the way.
So when they switch on their rapid gestation chamber, watching eagerly to see the far-future DNA they've sequenced taking shape, they start to notice that it has a lot more legs than they'd expected. And more fur. The researchers decide to go for a pizza and some sodas, and check on it again later. But by the time they get back to the lab... the gestation chamber is empty. Their little science project matured early, and now it's on the loose!
Carnage carnage carnage. Attractive, well-toned people go camping in the woods and not much else. College kids go swimming in their skivvies at the local watering hole. Rich people sun-bathe on the deck in their exclusive mountain homes. Nice, well-scrubbed people in sports bras and shorts do a long hike in the woods for AIDS or breast cancer. One by one, or in groups, they fall prey to the jaws, claws, talons and super-strong legs of Bearantula. Who just keeps growing and growing.
It seems as though nothing can stop him! His fury knows no bounds. Occasionally, as he rends people limb from limb, he barks out investment advice in an ursine yawp. ("Consolidated Global! Euro-Pacific 30-year No-Load! Rrrrrawwr!")
Soon Bearantula is trashing the countryside and tearing buildings and sidewalks and oil trucks and beer trucks apart. Our team of researchers tries to take Bearantula down themselves, but they have no luck — and the guy from Wang Chung gets killed!
So they are forced to call in an expert: monster hunter Drake Raleigh (played by the guy from Forever Knight) who has hunted the biggest, nastiest chimeras all over the globe — including the half cat, half dinosaur that terrorized Memphis a few years ago. (It turned out to be a fast food mascot gone out of control.) Drake Raleigh has a rough-hewn macho attitude, and at first he clashes with Jewel Staite, who only cares about one thing: science.
This, of course, leads to Drake and Jewel forming an unstoppable romantic chemistry. They steal a few moments together to talk about their issues, and why meddling with science may have turned out to be a bad idea, and what dreams they cherish for the future. But mostly, they work together to try and trap the creature, with Simon MacCorkindale advising them from the sidelines. They set several traps for Bearantula, but the creature can climb and jump, and its hairy spider legs are built to withstand the firebursts that routinely come out of the ground in the year one million.
Worst of all, it turns out that Bearantula is getting ready to lay his eggs — and just like a tarantula, he can lay up to 2000 eggs at one time. "If we don't manage to stop him before he finishes his nest," says Jewel Staite, "we'll be up to our armpits in Bearantulas by next week!"
Eventually, they have no choice but to use the Darwinoscope again —- this time to breed Bearantula's only natural predator, the financial services regulator of the year one million. A kind of half-squirrel, half-duck, half-eagle, it has the power of flight and is amphibious, Squirruckle has the power to trap Bearantula in its beak while thwapping Bearantula with its huge fluffy tail. Bearantula and Squirruckle grapple while debating deregulation and the role of the government in bailing out large financial institution. "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrramm-Leach-Bliley!" snarls Bearantula. "Dodd-Frank!" chitters Squirruckle.
Finally, once everybody is dead except for Jewel Staite and the guy from Forever Knight, Squirruckle and Bearantula both perish in a huge fireball of destruction, in front of which Jewel and the guy from Forever Knight kiss, their passion consummated at last. But in the movie's final haunting shot, we see that one Bearantula egg survived the destruction... and it's beginning to vibrate with an unearthly motion, as if something were fighting to get out...
Will this cinematic masterpiece ever come to your screens? It's up to Syfy! Start writing your letters now!
This io9 flashback originally appeared in September 2010.