Welcome creeps and cretins to a new Wicked Horror column called Revulsion Rewind. Here we will discuss all of our favorite forgotten horror gems. Those obscure treasures that made you cringe, laugh, scream, and shake your head because it was so bad it was good. For our first outing, we’ll be taking a look at the 1993 flick Man’s Best Friend.
Ally Sheedy of The Breakfast Club and Short Circuit fame stars as investigative reporter Lori Tanner. While investigating local genetics company EMAX for possible animal abuse, Lori stumbles on a giant Tibetan Mastiff named Max. While filming Max’s various injuries she is interrupted by the sinister and imposing head of EMAX, Dr. Jarrett (played wonderfully by Lance Henriksen).
Lori and Max escape and Lori takes Max home to the displeasure of her boyfriend Perry. Meanwhile Dr. Jarrett goes to the local police and tells them of his missing dog. During his interview with the police we find out that Max is not your average canine. Dr. Jarrett informs them that Max is a hybrid animal spliced genetically with the aggressiveness and survival skills of some of natures most efficient predators known to man. Dr. Jarrett tells detectives he has to continually give Max mood altering drugs to keep him calm and if he is not located soon, Max will snap.
While with Lori, Max seems obedient, protective and basically the perfect household pet. Little does she know that he has secretly killed a mailman, swallowed a cat, chewed through her boyfriend’s brake lines, and stalked the neighborhood. As time goes on, we slowly see Max’s mental state erode and he becomes more aggressive and unstable.
The rest of the film is a race to find Max before he can cause any more death, terror and destruction. And it ends with a set up for a sequel we never got. Man’s Best Friend is the kind of film that prompts you to ask yourself what you just watched when the credit roll.
Directed by John Lafia of Child’s Play 2 fame, Man’s Best Friend is a wonderfully crafted and sometimes hilarious send up of canine stereotypes played out against a horror backdrop. We see Max have a violent showdown with the local mail carrier and as we all know, mail carriers are the bane of a dog’s existence. We also find Max peeing on a fire hydrant, terrorizing dog catchers and chasing cats. You know, all the normal things dogs are supposed to do.
While not really conquering any new territory in the giant killer dog genre, what Man’s Best Friend has going for it is the talent involved. It features a talented cast of characters a, gifted team of special effects artists, and a writer/director hot off the heels of the fan favorite sequel, Child’s Play 2.
I unashamedly love this movie. When I randomly found it in a discount bin at my local F.Y.E. store many years ago, I rushed to the register with money in hand. As soon as I got home, I popped it in and relived my childhood all over again.
While Man’s Best Friend certainly wasn’t Oscar bait (although Ally Sheedy was nominated for a Saturn Award for her portrayal of Lori Tanner) films like this bring us together. This is the type of flick you throw on at a Halloween party and watch with a group of friends. Films like this help us forge better relationships and friendships with others through our love of over-the-top, outrageous, obscure horror cinema.
So the next time you are looking for something to turn your brain off to, Man’s Best Friend should be at the top of your list. The tagline of the film basically sums up what you can expect: Nature created him, Science perfected him, But no one can control him.
I hope you enjoyed the inaugural edition of Revulsion Rewind. Until next time, malicious wishes my friends.