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Case Number 27045: Small Claims Court

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Dogs (1976)

Scorpion Releasing // 1976 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // March 6th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum commands you to sit, stay, and play dead if you want to survive!

The Charge

Don't pet them! FEAR THEM!!!!

The Case

Dogs is a 1976 z-grade cult classic of the "nature gone wrong" genre that reached its peak with Jaws. This is one of those annoying imitators that simply capitalized on the fascination of people getting eaten by animals. As if the title didn't give it away, this one is all about a group of canines turning wild that terrorize a college town that has an experimental energy plant. Professors and students make up most of the body count, and we get thirty-eight different dog breeds making a mess out of their masters. In the lead role as a heroic stoic biology professor is David McCallum who was widely known as a sex symbol thanks to his appearance in '60s television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Interestingly enough it also marks an early appearance from Dallas star and '80s sex symbol Linda Gray who gets a great death scene involving a shower and an angry Doberman. Comic bit player George Wyner (Spaceballs) shows up as well as part of the academic team trying to battle man's best friend turned worst enemy. They are all upstaged by a cast apparently assembled from the local SPCA who merely have to yap and run in a pack to steal the entire show.

The charm of this one is it is absolutely a movie the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang could make fun of too easily, but it manages to entertain on its own by being so bad it almost becomes great. It is long before CGI, but even the practical effects are silly in execution and ludicrous to look at. A pack of dogs can be scary or even a dog on its own can strike fear pretty well without much effort. You need only think of Cujo or the Rottweilers from The Omen, maybe even the stars of The Pack or White Dog to picture frightening teeth-baring hounds. But this gang of mutts include a motley assortment of different breeds all running together in not-so-threatening slow motion. They attack poor townspeople, but it never feels all that dangerous or visceral. It's more a gigglefest than anything seriously spooky.

For this new Scorpion DVD release Dogs has been remastered from an original print. It looks great with vibrant colors and not a scratch or nick to ruin the fun. The sound treatment is the original tinny mono in a two channel presentation. Extras mainly revolve around two featurettes which are actually very well done. First up is the cast and crew being interviewed today and talking about what they remember of the shoot in Chula Vista and Del Mar, California. The second segment features Katarina Leigh Waters going through a whole session of trivia about Dogs. There is also a trailer to go create some more nostalgia for the '70s. Course the darn thing spoils the entire flick so avoid it if you are new to Dogs.

It's too bad a planned sequel Cats was never made, because Dogs is some silly fun worth watching for lovers of bad cinema. When it was released in 1976 it actually did mildly brisk box office, and people took this one seriously. Hard to imagine that now, but the whole "nature gone wrong" genre was valid thanks to the likes of Jaws which proved there was money to be made with vicious animals attacking people. But domestic dogs going feral in a pack and turning on a group of college kids? Yeah, that wasn't all that scary. A couple of TV stars saved us all too easily with some experimental use of pheremones. This DVD restores Dogs to widescreen and cleans up the visual and audio presentation. It brings the silly slaughter by man's best friend home at last! Go fetch it if you dare!

The Verdict

Guilty of not playing fetch, and instead playing KILL EVERYBODY!!!!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 67

Perp Profile

Studio: Scorpion Releasing
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Cult
• Horror
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurettes
• Trailer


• IMDb

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