Edgar Allen Poe made black cats a staple a horror, you still see them each year as Halloween decorations.
But as far as horror movies go, it’s dog territory.
Because people fear dogs. (And it’s much easier to direct a canine.)
Specifically, dogs have been harbingers of death in films of the 70’s and 80’s, ushering in the worst kinds of destruction. I don’t know if this goes back to earlier centuries, where dogs carried diseases, but you can see this theme play out in a number of films including: Cujo, The Pack, Play Dead — and don’t forget the dog who hosts the monster in The Thing.
In this two-part video-review, Rusty Ward and I look at two stand-out films from 1978. (I’m still not sure if one was ripping off the other — you be the judge.)
ZOLTAN, DRACULA’S DOG and DEVIL DOG: HOUND OF HELL
Full disclosure: the reason we did two episodes is that when Rusty suggested we watch ZOLTAN, I got excited because I thought it was DEVIL DOG. So we ended up watching both.
Like a lot of guys my age, my first crush was on Kim Richards (who you’ll recognize instantly from her stellar work on CHiPS, Little House on the Prarie, Diff’rent Strokes, The Love Boat, and dozens of kid-movies.) It might seem a little inappropriate, as a grown man talking about my crush, but I was a little boy.
But in doing research for this review, I learned that today Kim Richards looks…. LIKE THIS!
(For full effect, please read the previous sentence in your best “Large Marge” voice.)
There’s a scene in DEVIL DOG where Richard Crenna wants to see if his daughter is possessed by an evil spirit. So while she is asleep, he holds a mirror up to her face and sees her true demonic identity, a horrifying reflection of decay and evil.
That scene may have been foreshadowing The Real Housewives of Bevery Hills.
Maybe one of your photo-shop experts can re-cut that scene and add a recent photo in the mirror.
It was upsetting to see what’s become of my first crush. But now my wife never have to worry about me leaving her for Kim Richards.
Footnote about 1978’s vampire dogs:
Two years later, the vampire-dog concept would go mainstream with ABC’s Saturday morning cartoon DINGBAT AND THE CREEPS. The dog was paired with a Curly-like skeleton, and an ill-humored pumpkin. Including a comedic werewolf would’ve been moving in on FANGFACE’s territory.
Watch an episode here, if you dare.