Since the earliest days of folkore, people have been imagining hybrid forms of humans and beasts - and sometimes even humans and other things. From the mythological Minotaur to the many werewolves that have stalked movie screens, there are any number of half-human, half-something-else creatures that often offer us a reminder of what it means to be human.
Sometimes they're the result of an unfortunate mishap, the work of a mad scientist, or the culmination of a terrible curse. Whatever their origins, these beings often lead tormented existences, caught between two worlds and inspiring as much pity as terror. Whether they're mixtures of human and beast, alien, plant, or something else, vote up the most shocking hybrid critters of the movies.
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Who Is He? In David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of the 1958 film of the same name, Jeff Goldblum plays Seth Brundle, a brilliant yet eccentric researcher who believes he has harnessed the way to teleport objects instantaneously from one place to another. Of course, tragedy strikes when he ultimately tests his "telepods" on himself.
What Does He Combine? Unbeknownst to him, a common housefly is in the pod with him when he initiates the teleportation sequence. With the pod unaware that the two are distinct entities, it combines their DNA in the process of teleportation, and what emerges from the other end is a hybrid being that Brundle himself eventually dubs "Brundlefly." While the effects of the combo are not initially obvious (or detrimental), Brundle's state gradually deteriorates until he is left a monster more fly than man.
- Photo: Pathe
Who Are They? Clive and Elsa Kast are a husband-and-wife team of genetic researchers who hope to create a human-like hybrid using a cocktail of animal DNA. Dren is the result of their experiments, created using a mixture of animal DNA along with DNA taken from Elsa herself. The resulting creature grows fast and exhibits a variety of evolutionary changes - including the ability to spontaneously switch from female to male.
What Do They Combine? Prior to creating Dren, the Kasts had already generated genetically engineered vermiform creatures by combining the DNA of various animals. A similar blend is used in Dren, who has a venomous stinger in their tail, gills, and vestigial wings, among their various mutations.
- Photo: Embassy Pictures
Who Is He? Dr. Alec Holland was a scientist working on a top-secret bioengineering project combining plant and animal DNA. When his lab was ransacked and his sister slain by a paramilitary leader named Anton Arcane, Alec was doused in some of the formula they had been working on and, burning alive, plunged into the swamp.
What Does He Combine? The formula to which Alec Holland was exposed combined his DNA with that of the swamp's vegetation. The result is the hulking creature known as Swamp Thing, a person-shaped mass of vegetative matter that is seemingly immune to gunfire and capable of regrowing lost limbs. While Wes Craven's 1982 movie took some liberties from the DC Comics character, the elements that make up the Swamp Thing himself are mostly all here.
- Photo: Paramount Pictures
Who Are They? Charles Laughton plays Dr. Moreau, a brilliant yet cruel scientist in this classic 1932 adaptation of H.G. Wells's novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. On the eponymous island, Moreau has been performing experiments attempting to artificially accelerate the evolution of animals, creating human-like animal hybrids through vivisection, plastic surgery, blood transfusion, and more.
What Do They Combine? "Are we not men?" is the chilling refrain uttered by the beast-men of Moreau's island, but the question doesn't have an easy answer. Moreau's methods have "evolved" a wide range of animals into human-like shape, given some of them the power of speech, and so on. But the question of what makes someone human is one at the heart of the film, and one that the film never fully answers. Among the animals Moreau has experimented on are apes and pigs, and the film's advertising campaign makes great shakes of the character Lota, played by Kathleen Burke, the "panther woman" who looks almost completely like a human being.
- Photo: A24
Who Is She? Maria and Ingvar are a childless husband-and-wife pair of farmers who are shocked when one of their pregnant sheep gives birth to an odd human/lamb hybrid. They adopt the unusual child as their own and name her Ada, after Maria's own deceased daughter.
What Does She Combine? Seemingly a hybrid of human and lamb, Ada walks around like a child but has a lamb's features. When her other parent appears, it seems to be a similar hybrid of human and ram - though where it comes from, or where it takes Ada at the end of the movie, is anyone's guess.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
Who Is He? The richest guy in Wheelsy, SC, Grant Grant has always been "made of green," according to the locals. But when he gets infected by an alien parasite, he's soon made of something else altogether.
What Does He Combine? An alien parasite falls into the woods in a meteor and infects Grant when he runs into it. In short order, he gets all "squiddy" and turns into a slithering mutant that feeds on raw meat and looks like a toothy, flesh-colored alien worm monster with a semi-human face. He also impregnates a local woman in order to create hundreds of slug-like wormy things that in turn infect hosts to turn them into zombie-like shells that share the alien entity's hive mind.