I have whined incessantly written several posts about the trauma to the psyches of many of us caused by Walt Disney’s movie Old Yeller (Walt Disney was a sadist). And I am part of a network that warns of pet deaths in movies.
So I was happy to find the website Does the Dog Die—the most important movie question.
It doesn't mean we totally avoid the movie, just that we know what to expect and whether to take sensitive children when the movie features animals.
Someone has put a lot of work into the site with 647 movies listed alphabetically telling whether a pet or another animal dies or is injured in the course of the film.
The site lets the viewer click on a movie title to give a heads-up regarding the animals without giving away the movie. These are the classifications:
A happy dog icon does not indicate that they think it is a good movie and a sad dog icon does not indicate a bad movie. They leave that to the judgment of the reader.
One of the silliest sci-fi movies ever made was The Blob (1958). It has become a classic for its silliness. It’s about...well, a blob from outer space that eats everyone and thing in sight and grows to an enormous size.
For reasons not clear to me it was remade twenty years later.
In the 1958 film...
A dog appears throughout the movie. At one point the main character believes the dog has been eaten by the blob, but she is told by others that they saw it run away. The dog is not seen again.
I’m guessing the filmmakers didn’t mind having the life sucked out of humans, but even as bad as the movie was balked at the idea of killing off the dog.
In the 1988 remake they did away with the dog entirely...
Lots of people and a few sewer rats die, but no pets.
A Fish Called Wanda
One of my favorite comedies is the outrageous 1988 film A Fish Called Wanda. If you haven't seen it, it is hard to explain.
I had a friend who walked out of the theatre when a safe fell and flattened a Yorkie on the sidewalk. He told everyone not to see it and wrote a stern letter to the producers.
I tried to explain that it was just a movie and that certain situations not funny in real life can be performed in context in a comedy. The effect was more Roadrunner and Coyote than cruelty. This is different from contrived sentimentality where the viewer is emotionally vested in a dog who dies with a hundred violins playing.
When I told him that he should have stayed because two more Yorkies were flattened in later scenes, he was convinced that I was a hopeless barbarian who had sorely tested our friendship.
He did admit that if the safe had fallen where it was meant to fall, on the snotty old lady walking the dogs, he would not have minded. And he laughed out loud at the horse head in The Godfather.
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Three dogs are inadvertently killed when one of the main characters tries to kill the dogs' owner to prevent her from testifying in court. Additionally, several pet fish are eaten alive by another character including Wanda.
A woman's dog is killed by Nazis
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Tame wolf and horse are shot and killed by soldiers.
The Godfather (1972)
A horse is decapitated and its bloody head used as a gruesome surprise.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Harry's owl Hedwig is killed by a curse from a Death Eater.
I Am Legend (2007)
Dog is infected by a zombie-esque virus and is killed by her owner.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
A large snake is cut open to reveal a number of smaller snakes which are eaten alive. Monkey brains are eaten from the monkeys' decapitated heads. The elephants that carry the heroes in a few scenes do not come to any harm.
Jurassic Park (1993)
A cow and a goat are both eaten by dinosaurs. We see three dinosaurs die: one gallimimus and two veliociraptors...
Lassie Come Home (1943)
A dog (not Lassie) is killed while defending her owner from thieves.
Marley and Me (2008)
Dog is euthanized due to an incurable illness.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
An obviously fake cat is banged against a wall in several scenes as well as trod upon during a dance number. A cow and a sheep are comically catapulted over a wall. A rather unpleasant rabbit is blown to tiny bits.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
A rabid dog is shot and killed.
Wuthering Heights (2011)
Two dogs are hung by their collars and left to die. Also, a sheep's throat is cut and a rabbit's neck is broken.
A co-worker once thought my children and I would enjoy White Fang because, gee, it's a dog movie and you love dogs.
White Fang (1991)
A dead dog is seen in coffin. A sled dog is chased off by wolves and presumably killed. White Fang's mother, a wild wolf, is shot and dies. White Fang is attacked by and subdues a St. Bernard (it doesn't die). White Fang kills several dogs when he is forced into dog fighting and is almost killed himself in a fight with a pit bull.
That's pretty much all I need to know about White Fang.
Does the Dog Die is a fun website. I admire anyone who can watch this many bad movies.