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'Dogs' (1976) - Burt Brinkerhoff.

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  • 'Dogs' (1976) - Burt Brinkerhoff.

    The frequently hirsute 1970s proved to be an equally fecund year for finely feathered, murderously mutated, killer critter features, not the least of them being William Girdler’s frequently grisly ‘Grizzly’, and arguably one of the finest examples of the bugged-out creature feature being John ‘Bud’ Cardo’s seriously Shatnered ‘Kingdom the Spiders’ (1977) but as the years roll inexorably onward I keep on rabidly returning to director Burt Brinkerhoff’s barkingly bonkers, far from dog-eared, possibly a little ‘ruff’ killer canine creepshow ‘Dogs’ (1976).

    The bucolic inertia of a small Californian town is violently disturbed by apparently random, unprecedentedly vicious attacks upon local herd animals, these anomalous events coming to the attention of dispirited, beer-swilling college professor Harlan Thompson (David McCallum) whose initial investigation proved inconclusive until the aggrieved rancher is gruesomely mutilated which ultimately leads him to posit the initially unpopular hypothesis of the elusive perpetrators being organised pack animals, arriving inexorably to the unsavoury conclusion that previously amicable domestic dogs are now quite suddenly and inexplicably turning on their terrified owners with an uncommon brutality.

    What could have translated into nothing more vital than another quickly digested TV movie-of-the-week is given extra bite with the enigmatic presence of film and TV icon McCallum and the more than capable director Brinkerhoff engenders a palpitatingly genuine sense of oppressive feral threat as the dog’s maniacal attacks become increasingly more gruesome, with the relentlessly expanding pack of distempered animals running chaotically amok, laying murderous siege to the entire town; finally circling the university, where stalwart defenders Michael Fitzgerald (George Wyner) and the permanently boozy Thompson desperately try to fend off these ambulatory, uncommonly toothsome horrors!

    While ‘Dogs’ isn’t going to win any rosettes for being the most visually groomed of its bellicose B-Horror breed, perhaps lacking the stylish, self-deprecating wit of John Sayles-scripted cult classic ‘Piranha’, yet the film’s mongrel strength resides almost exclusively in its terse, B-movie brutality, while unsophisticated, this beastly tale is attached to a monstrously savage set of femur-fracturing fangs!

    ‘Little Fluffy and his furry friends suddenly got a rare taste for raw meat, and it doesn’t get any fresher than you!'

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  • #2
    Saw this on a double bill with the incredibly twisted THE MUTATIONS as a kid. Love DOGS.