I love our two dogs. But they’re a horror show. If one isn’t licking something and puking, the other one is throwing up or pissing all over the floor. Oh no — one of them just chased a cat and smashed up the entire dining room! Yet we love them. We also love dog-themed movies, so of the numerous times that man’s best friend has been the feature of a horror movie, here are just ten that we decided to feature. Have one we missed? Tell us in the comments! PS: Werewolves don’t count.
1. Monster Dog: Filming started on this immediately after its star, Alice Cooper, left rehab for chronic alcoholism in 1984. Alice wanted to see if he could work sober and was told that the film would only be released in The Philippines. He has said, “I didn’t want to do a heavy budget movie. I said if I do one of these I want to make sure it’s sleazy. I want it to be really cheap.” Good news, Alice. You work with Claudio Fragrasso and you get all of those things! Here, he plays a rock star who can transform into a devil dog. That’s really all I need to read to watch this movie.
2. Day of the Animals: Not only are dogs out to kill humans, but every animal and Leslie Neilsen is too. I can’t express in human words how much I love this stupid movie and if I had seen it on the same bill as The Car, I may have just cried until I ran out of all the water in my body out of pure happiness. Dogs kill at least five people in this movie and are only stopped by raging rapids. I kinda wish the dogs had won.
3. Dracula’s Dog: Also known as Zoltan…Hound of Dracula, this is a movie all about a dog being turned into a vampire after he saves a woman from the undead Count Igor Dracula who is played by Michael Pataki. If that doesn’t make you instantly try to find this movie, I’m not sure we can be best friends. What if I tell you Jose Ferrer is in it?
4. The Pack: Here’s my elevator speech: Bufford Pusser, nay, Mitchell teams up with Riff Raff and battles Cujo. Y’all in? I’m in. This 1977 movie beat Cujo to theaters and was all about a literal army of dogs biting everyone on Seal Island (which has nothing on Dog Island from Humongous).
5. Dogs: Have you not had your fill of evil dogs teaming up and biting every single human to death? Good. Me neither. Here, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. plays a cool and hip teacher who really gets what the kids are all about. Then, dogs kill everyone. I mean it. Every single person.
6. Man’s Best Friend: Ally Sheedy plays a reporter who saves Max the dog from a genetics lab, but it’s too late. Max isn’t a kind pup any longer and is ready to take out everyone in his path, including Lance Henriksen. Frank Welker, king of animal voices, is the barking sound of Max’s voice here.
7. Cujo: This list would get so many shitty comments if I didn’t include this one. But after all, isn’t Cujo the be all, end all of evil dog movies? Poor Dee Wallace, having to endure the family dog gone wrong. Actually, I was cheering for the dog the whole time. I’m like that.
8. White Dog: In this Sam Fuller movie, this film depicts the struggle of a black dog trainer to rehabilitate a stray dog so that it doesn’t attack and kill any black person that it sees. In the original story, it’s the opposite, as the trainer had raised the dog to kill white people to make up for all the racism the trainer saw. This film really only saw release when it became part of the Criterion Collection, as Paramount worried about protests. It was only shown in the U.S. at five Detroit theatres for just one week, with no trailer, no poster and no promotion. Of course, the film was then branded uncommercial. Confused and hurt by this, Fuller moved to France and never directed another American film
9. Devil Dog: In this made for TV movie, Richard Crenna adopts Lucky, a satanic pooch, as the family pet. Soon, they discover that this dog can do mind control and tries to get Rambo’s commanding officer to stick his hand inside a running lawnmower. The more people that Lucky kills, happier Satan is. The ’70s!
10. The Killer Shrews: Those aren’t shrews. Nope, they’re coonhounds with sewn on costumes and fake teeth. Kind of like the rats in Killer Eyes were really dachshunds in fursuits. Yes, really.
I can hear people after reading this, thinking that I was going to share my favorite dog characters in movies. Fine. You talked me into it. A bonus ten list of my favorite dog characters in movies. This could have been a whole other list, you know!
1. Precious from Silence of the Lambs: This Bichon Frise was played by Darla, a star dog that started her career as the pink dog in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. She’d go on to play Queenie in The ‘Burbs and Ratty Poodle in Batman Returns.
2. Unnamed dog in The Thing: This poor dude got assimilated pretty early, but his reappearance is one of the grossest dog scene in movies. He was played by Jed the wolf malamute, who also acted in White Fang, White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf and The Journey of Natty Gann.
3. Bark Lee from John Dies at the End: Bark Lee (named Molly in the books) is the smartest and most heroic character in this entire movie, saving all of our reality at the end. His real name is Bark Lee. According to IMDB, “He was considered a natural and very easy to direct in his role. He is not a full time acting dog and is now back with his real owner.”
4. Nanook from The Lost Boys: Just look at that face! Nanook knew what was up in this film well before any of the humans, but still stuck around and protected everyone. The second Alaskan malamute on the list, his real name was Cody.
5. Blood in A Boy and His Dog: The smarter of the two survivors in the team of Vic and Blood, this dog was played by Tiger, who also acted in the movie Van Nuys Blvd. He was voiced by Tim McIntire, who was in the TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man, Oh yeah — Blood is able to speak with his brain!
6. Dickie from The Beyond: Dickie may fight off several of the zombies in this movie, but he eventually turns on his owner Emily after being turned into one. “Attack, Dickie, attack!” You’ll yell it long after you watch this movie. Sadly, I can find no records of who played this German Shepherd, but I can tell you that the head that bites Emily was a puppet.
7. Beauty and Beast in The Hills Have Eyes: When humans fail to protect themselves against mutant desert killers, always trust a dog. In both the original 1977 film and its 2006 remake, Beast deals with the loss of his friend Beauty in the only way he knows how: by killing every single person that fucked with him. Seriously, this dog gets more done than any human in either movie! Beauty and Beast was played by Flora and Striker in the original and that’s the only film they ever did. I have no info on the remake, but Beast did return for the 1983 sequel. So there’s that.
8. Prince in The People Under the Stairs: Yes, Mom and Dad Robeson are horrible people in this often neglected Wes Craven film. But man, Prince was just trying to be a good boy. He didn’t deserve what happened to him.
9. Pete the Dog from The Monster Squad: Pete is the only non-humanoid member of the team and he more than holds his own. He was played by a dog named Jake.
10. Sundae from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers: As much as we love the Halloween series, The Shape has killed so many dogs. From Olivia and Lester in the original to poor Sundae in 4 (left all alone to deal with a manic, I mean, come on Jamie Lloyd!), Max in 5, a dog and a coyote in Rob Zombie’s first movie and Ivan the dog in the second, if you’re a dog in one of these movies, watch out!
Now, a special public service announcement from my dogs.
Dogs are often used in movies as cannon fodder. Both of my dogs — Angelo and Cubby — would like to call bullshit on this. Kill humans, not dogs! If you’d like to know if a dog is in danger before you watch a movie with your canine best friend, we recommend Does the Dog Die?