Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Deadly Dogs vol. 2

by Goat Scrote

Your killer dogs for today are an adorably evil bunch...

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

Mainly a ripoff of: Bloodsucking Freaks meets Leave it to Beaver, set in H.H. Holmes' Murder Castle.

The Dog(s): Prince the Rottweiler enjoys a steady diet of human flesh. He never actually kills anyone during the running time of the movie but he sure does try. He's also a thousand times more fun than the "Devil Dog" or all the pooches in "Dogs" put together, thanks to the writing/directing of Wes Craven and the work of head animal trainer Roger Schumacher (who also worked on "The Pack" and "Atomic Dog”).

Summary: Craven's weird tale revolves around a good-hearted young teen who gets pulled into a plan to burglarize a wealthy home. He and co-burglar Ving Rhames discover that they have entered an inescapable house of horrors where kidnapped children are held prisoner and mutilated. Wendy Robie and Everett McGill are awesomely unhinged as sister-brother psychopaths Mommy and Daddy.

Best Scene: Daddy's gimp-suit-and-shotgun rampage. FUCK YES.

Dishonorable Mention: When the dead dog flops through the wall you can tell it's an animatronic pooch mixed with shots of the real thing. It's not a very large flaw, in the grand scheme of things.

One of my favorite B-movies,  drop what you’re doing and watch it immediately.

And When She Was Bad (1981)
(aka “Madhouse”, aka “There Was a Little Girl”)

Mainly a ripoff of: Pretty much any giallo you’d care to name.

The Dog(s): A throat-ripping Rottweiler trained by a homicidal lunatic to kill on command.

Summary: A woman is stalked by her insane twin sister and sister's canine murder weapon. The bizarre twists and turns of the story make very little sense, and the special effects are a little bit Muppet Show in places, but there are some gruesomely good moments too. This was a UK “Video Nasty” because of the bloody violence and twisted themes.

Best Scene: A warped birthday party for the twins full of posed corpses in party hats. This occurs near the end of the film, and is memorably disturbing.

Dishonorable Mention: The dog busts headfirst through a door, only to get a power drill into the brain-pan. This is a satisfying scene story-wise but the dog puppet faintly resembles Fozzie Bear! The use of low-quality puppets is a comical distraction in many serious scenes, this one in particular. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be pointing and giggling.

Recommendation: It’s not great but it is not nearly as terrible as it could have been.  It's bloody and weird, so if you like killer dog movies or obscure 80’s slasher flicks then you’ll probably find this enjoyable too.

Day of the Animals (1977)
(aka "Something is Out There")

Mainly a ripoff of: Every pre-1977 killer animal movie.

The Dog(s): Domestic dogs who develop a thirst for human blood.

Summary: Animals turn homicidal as a result of the recently discovered (it was the 70s) depletion of the ozone layer. The strange effect starts at higher altitudes, and the story follows a group of hikers caught in the mountains when the critters start to become unnaturally vicious. Lots of different animals get a chance to take a chunk out of humankind in this one. Just when the surviving hikers think they have reached safety, they must face off against a giant pack of crazed domestic dogs. There's a heap of cool animal footage, but the special effects are quite bad. Hammy acting and crappy special effects multiply the camp factor. Director William Girdler also made the animal-attack thriller Grizzly, a low-budget Jaws knockoff, so he had some previous experience in the genre.

Best Scene: Leslie Nielsen's "god" speech, attempted rape, and bear-wrasslin’ match, which occur one after another about two-thirds of the way through. It’s melodramatic, sleazy, and ludicrous entertainment.

Dishonorable Mention: Bashing this movie would be too much like beating up the good-natured village idiot. The jumping attack-rats are too funny for me to hate, but it could be the most ridiculous scene in an extremely ridiculous movie.

Recommendation: Good trashy man-vs.-nature fun, one of the most enjoyable of the 70s era B-grade eco-horror films. I just don’t think they quite realized that they were making a comedy.


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