• Dogs

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: Mar. 11, 2014
    Director: Burt Brinckerhoff
    Cast: David McCallum, Linda Gray, Sandra McCabe, George Wyner
    Year: 1976
    Purchase at Amazon

    The Movie:

    Southwestern University in San Something, California is the host to some governmental experimentation, top secret mind you, thanks to the dean of the college being up the ass of the governor. Hippie-looking professor Harlan Thompson (David McCallum, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and NCIS) takes an interest in some cattle mutilations, and realizes it isn’t wolves, coyotes, or space aliens killing and mutilating the cows. It seems the dogs in the town have all banded together into a pack, but have grown bored with burgers and want some human flesh. Thompson enlists the aid of fellow a professor at the college named Mike Fitzgerald, played by George Wyner, he of Hill Street Blues and Space Balls (and about a thousand other things). Fitzgerald isn’t as passionate as Thompson but once he’s convinced that the hippie is right, he fights the fight against the canine beasts.

    This less-than-stellar entry into the genre of “nature gone wild” or “killer animals” (or whatever you want to label it) has all the same plot devices and formulaic story structure of many far superior movies of its kind, but it just fails completely at even coming close to being a contender. First of all it is tediously boring, and feels very much like a TV movie, probably due to the director being a successful TV director. Acting is ok, with McCallum pulling most of the movie, but it lacks at being convincing in many instances and may bring out some unintentional laughter.

    Another area of unintentional laughter is the filmmaker’s choice in types of dogs to use. It is understandable that the intent of the movie is to show what family pet Fido can do when properly motivated (as in, altered by top-secret government gas). Instead of using the known intimidating breeds, like Rottweilers, Dobermans, or German sheppards, they opted to use friendlier looking dogs, mostly long haired ones, and the ones they have about as much capability of being threatening as do kittens. Fluffy dogs are not scary.

    And yet again, another place of unintentional laughter concerns some of the music cues used in the “tense” moments. Many don’t fit at all, and totally take away any smidgeon of creating a decent mood for building up the scares.

    Dogs is far from the upper crust of animals-gone-wild genre. And while it is entertaining to a point it remains a ho-hum movie throughout, never packing any sort of wallop and definitely void of anything to make the movie memorable. It’s good for some giggles, and it’s got some moments that should please those who enjoy the 70s movie vibe. Beyond that, Dogs is nothing to get excited over.


    The video presentation is a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen one, and looks quite nice, with plenty of grain to go around. Scorpion cleaned it up but didn’t make it look unnatural, and it has its imperfections by way of some minor dirt here and there. That’s to be expected and is in no way a distraction. The dark scenes have pretty deep blacks without signs of pixelatation. No aliasing was noticed. Sound chores are handled by a 2.0 Dolby track that sounds clear and free of anything out of the ordinary for issues. It does its job just fine.

    Also on the disc is a featurette at just under 20 minutes about the making of the movie using interviews and clips from the feature. George Wyner is one of the contributors on the piece, which was nice to see. Some good info is passed along, and it gives you enough to satisfy without overstaying its welcome. “Fun Facts and Trivia” is a 6-minute spot featuring Katarina Leigh Waters’ Nightmare Theater shtick and movie facts. The movie is not part of her series, but for those of us who like her intros and outros here’s a new one. Also on the disc is a trailer for the feature.

    The Final Word:

    Dogs looks dandy, and the extras are decent, but the movie itself a bit of a dud with a serious made-for-television vibe. Don’t hurt yourself over this one.

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      "You like dags?"
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I like Doigs. Did I type "dags" in there?
    1. Barry M's Avatar
      Barry M -
      Now I've got that lady from EATING RAOUL in my head. "Moose, honey, they're into doggies!"