It must be the adventurer in me that enjoys surprises and little frights but I love a good, scary movie. Of course, just like a road trip, no twists and turns are as exciting without pets along for the ride. During the annual scary film fest Jason and enjoy surrounding Halloween, it struck that some of my annual Halloween film favorites have dogs or cats as costars. Apparently even when seeking some frightening fun in front of the TV with my tired, fit dogs and cat by my side, I get
The Nightmare Before Christmas
A ghost dog that fetches jaw bones and has a glowing nose? Yeah. Zero is the perfect haunted best friend. I can never decide if The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie but since I love both holidays and this film, I just watch it a lot.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Elliot's furry and from Earth beat friend, Harvey, isn't just the typical scary movie barking dog. There are so many reasons that I have always wanted to live in the E.T neighborhood but one is that Harvey and other dogs enjoy trick or treating on Halloween. Bonus dog love: a pug was used as an inspiration for E.T.'s adorable face.
Jasper may be the original scary movie dog. And even if he isn't, he is awesome. The spunky black cocker spaniel adds a little extra suspense to an already on the edge of my seat Hitchcock classic. Jasper also adds some much needed warm cuddling to Rebecca as well.
The Lutz's loyal dog is another family member lured into the supposed perfection of the most haunted house ever filmed. What a lucky water loving dog to have a new home by the river. Wait. Scratch that. No! Not literally. Spoiler alert: What is most horrific in The Amnityville Horror to this dog lover is poor Harry's paws. And just when my throat is sore from shouting "stop letting the dog in the basement!" the dog saves the day.
Cat's Eye is a spooky film of three disturbing Stephen King stories intertwined by a psychic tabby cat eventually named General. Spoiler alert: While there are some scenes where the viewer fears for General's safety and life, the film is a rags to riches story for the brave, clairvoyant kitty. The movie doesn't end as well for Polly the budgie, though. While not a graphic demise, don't add this one to your Halloween movie list if one pet down is too many.
As the biggest Tim Burton fan on the planet, I love both the bull terrier Sparky in the live action short film and the reanimated puppet pup in the full length feature. Both Frankenweenie movies are Halloween favorites. Live action short film bonus: A fiesty dachshund named Raymond. Full length feature bonus: Cuddly, purring Mr. Whiskers, the premonition dreaming cat who "knows" the alphabet.
Poltergeist & Poltergeist II: The Other Side
The Freeling family dog, E Buzz, adds warmth, humor as well as dog smarts and instinct to both classic scary movies. There are points in Poltergeist that I would probably forget to breathe were it not for the adorable golden retriever's presence. The canine love continues in Poltergeist II with great canine comfort with lines like "E Buzz agrees. It's okay for now."
Coraline not only visually delights and physically frights, but The Black Cat as well as "yapping" and angelic scottie dogs add the extra animal something I love in a film. How can a freaky fun movie that has a scene with woofs as applause not be a Halloween favorite?
Who wouldn't fall for a guy who introduces his dog right after he introduces himself? Thorn is such a sweet video store shop dog. (Yes. Video store. This movie is really, really old.) Then there is the gorgeous family malamute Nanook, who it is safe to say I had a bigger crush on than any of the boys in this movie when I was younger. That is still true today. I often wonder if it's scary movies from my childhood with hero dogs like Nanook in The Lost Boys that have made me the dog-always-by-my-side person I am today.
Poor Zipper just does the usual horror movie dog job of warning his best friend that something is wrong and ends up cursed too. This films golden retriever made me smile from his first scene and was one of the only reasons I kept watching this mediocre fright flick. Aren't movie dogs great that way?
I don't understand how anyone can be afraid of black cats when there are Halloween movie characters like Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus. This feisty feline may *not technically be a cat but he is a main character of the film and often steals the show for this pet loving movie viewer.
I may be cheating by adding this one since it arguable The Gatekeeper and The Keymaster aren't really dogs. Yet this movie is a Halloween must see with lines like "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!" and "Our client - the nice lady, who paid us in advance, before she became a dog." Ah-ha! Ghostbusters character Dr. Peter Venkman says those creatures are dogs! No one is more believable than an actor playing a doctor in a super fun ghost movie.
The most scary part of this straight to DVD movie is how bad it is. With talking dogs, cats and even a tarantula it is the kind of Disney Halloween fun a family could enjoy together. Anyone with a dog afraid of thunder, might appreciate seeing the title canine, Zeus, face his one and only fear.
Birds don't fair well in a couple of the other movies on this list so Leo wanted his favorite scary movie added. However, Leo knows this chilling Hitchcock classic, by reputation only. If I ever allowed Leo to watch The Birds it would likely be his favorite movie. Though such a viewing makes me truly afraid as Leo doesn't need any more world domination ideas. Bonus bonus: Director Alfred Hitchcock is seen in the film walking his own two pet dogs.
Halloween isn't everyone's favorite holiday and not everybody enjoys being frightened by a movie. Likewise, not all humans like or has pets. Wait. Who are these people? They sound incredibly scary! I need dogs and cats, quick; a good scare is always better with pets.
What are your favorite Halloween movies or movies with dogs, cats and even birds?