Friday, 17 October 2014

Film #17: Disney's "Spooky Buddies"

OK, before anyone asks, are you really going to argue me away from watching "Disney's Spooky Buddies" and towards "I Spit on Your Grave"?
No, you won't.
And if anyone ever tries to ask you to stop watching a film with puppies in it in favour of one with scenes of extremely distressing assault, sexual violence, and beyond, then that person mightn't be the most emotionally balanced to take advice from.
Spooky Buddies it is!

This film might not look like much, but then again neither did 'Paranormal Activity 4' and I don't hear anything saying that that film was the worst of the series, by similar reasoning this film could easily be the best of Disney's golden retriever-based "Buddies" series.
Anyway, 'Spooky Buddies' might look like a cutesy affair, but underneath that gawdy child-accessible exterior lies the exposed and bloodied beating heart of a horror movie of inconceivable terror.

It begins in 1937 with some sorcerer having abducted 5 puppies who plans to sacrifice their souls in order to summon the 'Halloween Hound' - a green eyed dog with a booming voice and a soul presumably as black as his own hide - and take over the world.
With pitiable stupidity the puppies begin to sacrifice themselves - if there was an altar and a knife we would be watching 4 dogs slit their own hides, spilling their bowels onto the floor, because this is a Disney movie the film cuts away then to an exterior view as the police and local townspeople gather to stop the sorcerer.
They try everything to get inside, well, if by everything I mean "a dog paws at the door before the people decide to abandon any further attempt to get inside". The films cuts back into the house, where four of the puppies are now presumably dead - the fifth looks at them and with a near sociopathic lack of empathy decides that he's bored and wants to leave.

BUT HE CAN'T LEAVE!

The sorcerer explains this to the dog which opens up our first unseen backstory - these dogs can really talk. To people. Let that sink in.
The dogs are pets, but still regarded with some level of sentience and reason. This opens so many options. If they are intelligent, but not equal are they held down by a human-centric society. Outside a young boy "wants his puppy back". Are they slaves?
No. Of course not, you've overthinking it. No. Besides these are the only dogs in the movie seen talking to a person which means that there's only one viable option.
That these dogs have been subjected to extreme surgery and training, which has altered their facial features to allow them to form words and communicate with people.

When the sorcerer attempts to restrain him the puppy bites his hand - again another quick cut away, Disney must have a cutting room floor somewhere litter with frame after frame of the dog biting this man's finger clean-the-f**k-off, blood spurting out like water from a hose - before running away.
Downstairs the townsfolk have broken in, the enraged sorcerer turns some of them into toads in self defense. The toads croak and sit dull and limp on the floor, confirming that, yes, dogs are special in their sentience.
He steals the puppy back upstairs where the Hound attempts to eat his soul, but fails when sunlight hits his eyes, casting the puppy's soul into some damned limbo. The puppy's ghost floats up, begging for help, but the people flee, boarding it up so that none shall ever enter again. We flash forward 75 years.
The house is still boarded up. 75 years of dust accumulates on its surfaces, 75 years of ghostly tears and sadness. 75 years of suspended death.

Yes, Disney's Spooky Buddies is a movie that seems to hate dogs.
Fresh from subjecting a puppy to decades of isolation, we're introduced to 5 golden retrievers - the "buddies" of the series.
When not spewing their collective ids all over the screen they're breaking and entering, right into the condemned house.
They have "owners" though, kids on a ghost tour of the local area. Kids who (1) Don't give a sh*t where their puppies have run off to/
(2) Freak right the f**k out at the sight of a grave-digger. He's a "creepy old man", who's pretty well dressed and clean, but presumably "creepy" because these are Disney kids and the sight of someone engaged in manual labour is repulsive to them. Seriously, a large group of children stare in disgusted astonishment at a man with a shovel, having to be dragged away by their teacher.
The puppies aren't doing much better. After a puppy version of 'Bloody Mary' in front of a mirror in the abandoned house they run. They run and they run, terrified by the sight of the 75 year lonely puppy's sad doe-eyes. They run back to their masters.

And that's the movie.
I think.
I'll be honest, I fell asleep.
Looking back on my Netflix viewing it turns out I made it less than 10 minutes into the film before it shut my brain down and caused me to fall asleep. Of course I'm thankful that I wasn't standing up when the saturation point for sh*t was reached in my head and my body collapsed.

Later I skipped through some of the scenes to get a better idea of what the movie was about, and it seemed to mostly be about a lot of missed opportunities for some choice deaths and a multitude of dick jokes.
I think the body count of this movie is somewhere around the '0' (zero) mark, though that number rises significantly if you factor in the presumed natural deaths that occurred between the films opening scene and the next, 75 years later. So, taking that fact alone into account, this film might have the highest body count of any movie I've watched this month. Do what you will with that information!

Out of 10, I rate this film.
"I managed to watch it/ stay awake for 10 consecutive minutes, which is more than I can say for some of the sh*t I've watched over the last few weeks" out of 10.

'Spooky Buddies' is available on Netflix UK & Ireland.

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