The central focus of the series is upon a group of malevolent carnivorous
alien creatures called "Crites" that have the ability to roll into balls and combine into a
pernicious sphere that can roll across the landscape and cause untold
In the first Critters film, the largest Crite took leadership over the
others. This is typical of
animals that live or hunt in groups, such as lions, where the alpha male or female take charge of the rest of the
group. This is carried over into the second film where, though later turning out
to be Ug in disguise, the largest Crite was seen as the leader once more, being
able to persuade the immense pack of smaller Crites to continue on to Polar Ice
Burger instead of attacking the humans that were following behind them. Although the concept
of the biggest Crite being the leader was dropped in Critters 3, "Scarface", the Crite whose face was
burned due to the bleach that Rosalie dropped in the basement, is generally
accepted as being the leader, as he is the one seen leading the group throughout
most of the movie and is the last Crite to be killed. Because the fourth film only has two main Crites, it is often hard to
distinguish if there is a "Lead Crite" at all.
Crites have been described as porcupines, rats, badgers, possums, hedgehogs,
rabid cats, Tasmanian devils, and a slew of other similar creatures.
The appearances of the Crites varies from film to film. In the first film,
they appear to be much smaller than in the sequels (save for the Lead Crite) and
not as furry. Their stomachs are fully revealed whereas in the sequels they are
covered completely by fur. Their fur seems to
be more slicked back instead of wild or spiky like in the sequels. Even their
teeth seem more needle-like than in future installments. In one scene a Crite's
eyes appear to be orange instead of the bleeding red they normally are, but this
is never seen again, including in the sequels.
The second film introduces the look of the Crites that is more familiar to
viewers. The Crites appear larger than in the first film, have larger
teeth, fur covering their entire bodies except for their arms and legs, not to
mention their fur is thicker and more haphazard than their predecessors.
The third film unveils an even larger, more rounded incarnation of the
Crite. Their eyes are now
a florescent, glowing red instead of the dull bleeding red from earlier films.
Their fur has gotten thicker and spikier than before, and appears to be blacker
than the brownish tint seen in the second film. The fourth film does very little to deviate from the appearance of the Crites
from the third. The Crites look about the same in every aspect, although their
eyes seem duller than in the previous film.
Nothing much is known about the reproduction habits of the Crites, as no
information is ever given in interviews by the creators or shown in the films
regarding this aspect of their species. They appear to need to eat before laying
eggs, but this is only a theory amongst many. How they produce eggs in the first
place is another mystery.
In Critters 4, Charlie tells Fran that it takes six months for Crite
eggs to incubate. This is
contradicted in the previous installment, however, when the eggs from the
beginning of the film hatch in what appears to be a span of just a few
This could be explained away as the Crite that initially laid the eggs had
stored them in its body until it laid them under the RV.
It is also unknown how many eggs a Crite can produce in one sitting.
It's commonly accepted that Crites eat only meat, as is shown in each film
over and over. Later dropped after the first film, eating more and more
increases the Crites' size, eventually leading to a Crite becoming the alpha or
dominant in its group.
Crites are normally seen to hunt and attack in groups in the movies.
Rarely has a Crite been shown to attack on its own outside of the few occasions
in the first and fourth films. Charlie explains in the fourth film that Crites
generally go for a victim's face and neck, although the films show them
attacking the chest and gut area of a victim more often than not. Once a victim
is caught, usually one Crite initiates the attack and the others quickly follow
in one swift barrage.
Since Crites are not armed with man-made weapons such as guns or knives, they
have natural weapons built into their bodies. One such mechanism is the poison
barb they're able to shoot like a projectile at a victim. The barb injects a type of poison into the victim's bloodstream, causing the
victim to fall asleep or unconscious for an unspecified amount of time.
It's shown that removing the barb awakens the victim. It's unknown whether these
barbs affect other Crites. The fourth film is the only film in which the Crites
do not utilize their poison barbs. Some fans speculate that it is because they
somehow cannot, but there is nothing shown or hinted at in the film that
supports this. The size and thickness of the barbs varies from film to film.
Another mechanism is their rather large mouth filled with rows of sharp
teeth. A Crite's bite is
shown to be extremely effective and hard to get out of. In most cases, a victim
is forced to beat on the Crite's snout like that of a great white shark
or crocodile, or stab the Crite
with sharp objects enough that it willingly lets go. In the third film, "Blackie" (as designated by another Crite), encounters
Annie near the entrance on her way to find help.
It opens its mouth and lets out a shrill and deafening scream that has enough
power to shatter a jar. Although it serves
the purpose of temporarily disarming or stunning the victim, it also serves as a
beacon to alert the other Crites. This mechanism is never used or heard of in
any other installment.
The second film introduces viewers to the "Giant Critter
Ball" - an enormous ball of Crites all latched onto each other to move as one
single unit. Not much is known
about this mechanism, but it was able to survive an exploding factory and being
rammed by a pickup truck. It was only defeated once Charlie crashed the bounty hunter spaceship directly
into it, resulting in a massive explosion. It is only used in
the second film. The Crites in the third film also showed to be able to launch themselves
straight up into the air, as seen when one of the Crites launches itself up a
laundry shoot in an attempt to attack Rosalie. Scarface shows a variation of this at the end of the film, tucking into a ball
and "revving up" like Sonic the Hedgehog in order to
attack Johnny. These two methods,
though, are never seen again.
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