Dogs. What are they? Where did they come from? How did they become our best friend? We may never know the answers. Why are there so many dog movies, and could they alleviate our concerns? Against our best instincts, we must make another dog movie…
Continued from last time, can an all dog cast horror work? Is the care-free Casey going to be able to overcome the killer? Is there more backstory to be discovered? How quickly can we get a sequel out the door? Am I just using the repetitive rhetorical questions because I leave editing these to the last minute and haven’t wrote an intro for this one?
But isn’t that literally how Nutty Professor 2 ends?
Devon: I think our first act ends with Casey pulling off a major prank and about to be real told off for it, just as the first murder victim is found. Now there’s bigger problems than her, she comes to realise.
Alexander: I think that’s actually a really solid first act! It gives it some momentum and makes the build to her arriving at summer camp fairly exciting.
Devon: Maybe her goal and character flaw then, for the second act, is her trying to get the attention back on her. That old wise sidekick dog can help her learn that her courageous acts, like at the start, are a little inherently selfish.
Alexander: For sure, it’s an attention thing because she had the younger brother; he was the new puppy that everyone cared about. Some of the other dogs, “you’re not fooling anyone with that bad dog act”.
Devon: I wondered how to involve the little bro and that’s great! I just thought her door poster/collar… could have ‘Bad Bitch’ on it.
Alexander: YES. That’s great, I love that.
Devon: We’ve already pretty much discussed the second act, the whole murder and typical horror. Discovering the history of the pound that ties back to the prologue. We learn it’s a killer dog. The low point being her parents were put down here.
Alexander: The second act is pretty firmly established and filled with information and developments.
Devon: She’s at her worst, coming to grips that if she really tries too hard being a bad dog then there’s actual consequences, as well as the more immediate threat of all the dogs around her being currently put down. We’re at the third act! How can she possibly work her way back up and save the day against this monster dog!?
Alexander: When she faces a real bad dog, she realises that being bad isn’t good. When her brother says that he wanted to play fetch, she finds the bone he gave her to play with, and perhaps she uses it against the killer? Using something good against something bad, something integral to how the story plays out.
Devon: That’s good. We need some kind of call back; some expertise established earlier on that she can use differently now, you’ve got it. Oh god, I was trying to figure out a climactic scenario involving fetch, but isn’t that literally how Nutty Professor 2¹ ends?
[¹Remember the utter insanity of that film? Buddy Love was part dog, he turned into a little baby and melted into goo, then Sherman tried to suck that up with a straw to restore his intelligence. And Ebert described it as “never less than amazing”, so don’t doubt our dog ideas.
Alexander: I imagine a scene where she uses dog psychology to get in his head, “you’re a good boy and you’ve been told that you’re bad! But you’re not! You’re just hurting like all of us!” It could work though! She ends it by snarling “go fetch” and throwing something explosive at him.
Devon: I was just thinking explosives! Like a stick of dynamite because this is already Looney Tunes enough.
Alexander: Yeah! She uses a dog toy, like a bone, and attaches explosives to it.
Devon: Maybe, her flaw with her brother was that, because of her compulsive runaway nature, she never played fetch right with him. As soon as she got the stick she’d just run off, but now she’s in the ruins of the pound. For some reason, there’s gasoline pouring out from a generator, or something. She makes the selfless act to actually fetch, so she grabs a flare, and lights it, as she runs towards the killer! Somehow she survives, she throws it at the last second, in slow motion, as that Creed song kicks back in.
Alexander: That is legitimately brilliant. I really love it. She survives by diving into the adjacent lake and hiding under the surface.
Devon: There can be the stinger, all that’s left of the killer is his burnt collar, floating on the lakeside. Ensuring our bigger budget hit sequel a year later.
Alexander: That’s great. There could be a Halloween style montage of all the empty places around the camp with the sound of panting over it.
Devon: HALLOWEEN 2 STYLE: THE SEQUEL IS SET IN A VETERINARIAN STRAIGHT AFTER.
Alexander: Oh my God, perfect! I definitely think of this as the beginning of a series of films. An open ending like that is perfect.
Devon: We’ve pretty much dealt with everything on that checklist, and I’m so damn tempted to screw the blog and get straight to writing this.
Alexander: It is so tempting right? I am super smitten with this concept and it could be so fun to get going.
Devon: I came into this thinking we’d have a dumb silly idea, like Elm St. Bernard, but this could work as an actual film². For marketability, if it had a synth score like It Follows, it’s definitely becoming an indie success.
[²This isn’t to say Elm St. Bernard is off the table, much like Puppet Master VS Demonic Toys, we definitely need that direct-to-DVD crossover sequel.]
Alexander: I think so too. Aside from the puns and jokes, I’m actually picturing this as a real, quite engrossing film. Get a hot DoP on it, it can have a bit of that art-house appeal.
Devon: We’ve got to get those real clean, long steadicam shots around the lakeside camp. What are dogs best at but walking around?
Alexander: Peppering it with self awareness could also work too. One jock dog, “oh come on, guys, what, you think we’re in some sort of horror movie?”, “oh please, you’re so scared you can barely watch Beethoven”.
Devon: The fact that example starts with “one jock dog” is going to send reviewers into seizures trying to summarise this film.
Alexander: That one character, “you’re a bunch of pussies! I’m never going to die!”, then he dies.
Devon: *Somehow does that cocky walk backwards into traffic and immediately gets smashed by a bus*
Alexander: That’s such an instantly funny image³. So Final Destination.
³Once again, would love to state, neither of us find the image of vehicular dog-slaughter inherently entertaining. Imagine, though, if they got hit by that car from Dumb & Dumber, ha ha ha, that’d be great fun.
Devon: The exact go-to-example I thought for naive death scenes.
Alexander: The one I always picture is the guy in the gym yelling and crushing his head in the broken bench-press thing.
Devon: This is the movie that’d be so funny if all the dogs are voiced by heavily American teen actors.
Alexander: They’ve got to be valley-accented teens too.
Devon: Hell, it’s voice acting, we can go references galore. Cast Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich as the dog owners at the start. Matthew Lillard, of course, voices the little bro pup.
Alexander: I’d also like that there would be references to dog media, it’s an insult to call someone a “Scooby”.
Devon: I was going to mention that before, you opened my eyes when I realized the meta fiction we have available here, Scream style. Dogs referencing dog movies??????
Alexander: Since Scream, you’ve got to have some self awareness. Maybe even Jamie Kennedy voicing a dog who points out the cliches of dog cinema, “you’ve always got a dog named Spot or some shit, when was the last time you met a goddamn dog named Skip?”
Devon: We’ve already fan cast half of that cast, that’s like Seinfeld level of dog humour.
Alexander: This film will have audience members turning to each other in delight when they spot a reference.
Devon: I just thought, if we’ve got all these Scream actors, the film just has to be called Bark, right?
Alexander: Titles are the hardest thing in the world, but that cannot be beaten. Bark is perfect. It could even turn out to be the name of the killer.
Devon: The tagline is simply ‘THIS HALLOWEEN … HIS BITE IS WORSE’.
Alexander: I love it so, so much. That really has just put a cap on how much I love this concept.
Devon: What if the killer’s name is Skip? When the people in the prologue are running through the list of dogs to put down, one says Skip, and the other thinks he means skip that dog. Everyone this dog knows dies, which is what drives him insane.
Alexander: That is legitimately really clever. Then when Jamie Kenne-dog says, “who the hell is named Skip?”, a voice barks, “I AM”, and he bursts in.
Devon: The Jamie Kenne-dog has to survive to the second act then, for them to find the pound ruins and learn of Skip, big pan in on his face, “you gotta be f***ing kidding me”. This is pretty much where Jamie gets shot in Scream, anyway, when they learn who the killers are. This is such an unintentional parallel.