Horror Dogs

Man’s Best Friend as Movie Monster


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SKU: 9781476685878 Categories: , , , , ,
Imprint or Series:Dogs in Our World

About the Book

How did beloved movie dogs become man-killers like Cujo and his cinematic pack-mates? For the first time, here is the fascinating history of canines in horror movies and why our best friends were (and are still) painted as malevolent. Stretching back into Classical mythology, treacherous hounds are found only sporadically in art and literature until the appearance of cinema’s first horror dog, Sherlock Holmes’ Hound of the Baskervilles. The story intensifies through World War II’s K-9 Corps to the 1970s animal horror films, which broke social taboos about the “good dog” on screen and deliberately vilified certain breeds—sometimes even fluffy lapdogs.
With behind-the-scenes insights from writers, directors, actors, and dog trainers, here are the flickering hounds of silent films through talkies and Technicolor, to the latest computer-generated brutes—the supernatural, rabid, laboratory-made, alien, feral, and trained killers. ”Cave Canem (Beware the Dog)”—or as one seminal film warned, “They’re not pets anymore.”

About the Author(s)

Brian Patrick Duggan is a canine historian and author of several books and numerous articles about dogs in history. He is a retired university technology educator and an American Kennel Club judge.

Bibliographic Details

Brian Patrick Duggan
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 274
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, glossary, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8587-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4948-1
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Dogs in Our World

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Jon Towlson 1
Introduction: Beware the Dog! 3
Note to the Reader 7
Part I: Genesis
1. Convergent Beginnings 9
2. The Silent Hounds 16
3. Horrible Antecedents: Myth, Art, and Literature 27
Tail Piece: The ­Three-Headed Dog at Hell’s Gate 41
4. Zaroff and Baskerville: The Hound Gets Sound 43
5. Good Dog Decades and Their Creeping Demise 62
6. The Door Swings Open Wide 82
7. The Dawn of Horror Dogs 97
Intermission: What We Fear 109
Part II: Taxonomy: A Field Guide to Horror Dogs
8. The Supernatural 111
Tail Piece: Comically Supernatural 131
9. Cujo 133
Tail Piece: Plague Hounds 147
10. Frankenstein Dogs 149
Tail Piece: Robot Dogs 169
11. Canine Aliens 171
12. Insurrection 181
13. Trained to Kill 194
Conclusion: Sniffing Ahead 208
Epilogue 218
Glossary 219
Appendix: Horror Dog Productions by Year, Country, and Breed 221
Chapter Notes 225
Bibliography 239
Index 243

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Brian Duggan’s Horror Dogs is, quite honestly, a marvel. Dense with detail, it is infused with humor and a light touch. Duggan has taken an unlikely subject, and, through a ferocious combination of scholarly obsession and deft writing, turned it into that rarest of breeds: a book which teaches you things you didn’t know you wanted to learn.”—Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know and The Year of the Puppy: How Dogs Become Themselves
  • “Brian Duggan knows that there are no bad dogs, but there are evil ones. With the loving paw of a dog fancier and popular culture maven, this meaty survey covers everything Black Dog, including the Gabriel Hounds of the Wild Hunt, the Japanese Okuri-inu (devouring those who stray off forest paths), bad-to-the-bone beasts in China, India, Mesopotamia, and beyond. Horror Dogs counts down a hundred and twenty-eight films starring sixteen not-so-sweet breeds of Man’s Best Fiend and concludes with a moving tribute to a good Saluki. My supremely evil Corgi and I devoured it.”–Nancy Holder, New York Times bestselling author, recipient of the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award
  • “A delightful example of the results of careful research… A splendid filmography, written by someone who obviously loves both dogs and movies… The book is entertaining and instructive, and recommended.”—Spermaceti Press