The prevailing wisdom has always been that you should never ever ever kill a pet in a movie. You can kill all the people you want. Husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, neighbors, parents, soldiers, nuns. But kill the adorable dog or kitty cat, and you risk losing the audience. Of course, this means that filmmakers know they have a deadly weapon at their disposal to push our buttons. In this CHUD list, we’re going to take a look at cinema’s saddest, funniest, most messed up and most memorable pet deaths. Remember, we didn’t make these movies. We just work here.
0: Let Sleeping Gimps Lie…
Film: Pulp Fiction (1994)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
The Pet: The Gimp.
The Owner: Well…I suppose it isn’t a stretch to assume that there was a joint custody agreement between Maynard and Zed.
The Context: The thing that makes The Gimp different from the other entires on this list (besides the obvious) is that we were never properly introduced to the (presumable) dude. Marcellus and Butch are out and about doing their “bringing guns to a fistfight” routine and roll up into Maynard’s pawnshop. Shotgun butt to the face, a call to Zed. Fade out, fade in, our guys are tied up and ball-gagged, the long arm of the law giving them the old eenie-meenie-minie-moe. And then…
And that’s when we finally meet him – leather clad, zippers all over the place, chained to the ceiling. Definitely not the sort of pet you’d expect to see in the backyard romping around with Little Sally (maybe if it were a David Lynch movie…). Though I suppose it’s not the most unorthodox pet for the backroom of a pawn shop. Especially when that back room is used for all sorts of raperin’. He’s certainly gonna be more useful than a turtle or a goldfish or some other such little friend like that.
Off To the Big Pet Store in the Sky: So yeah – standing guard for the rapin’. No face, just leather, zippers and giggles. Giggles, that is, until Butch breaks free from the ties that bind (poetic!). Giggles turn to panicked shrieks (which really can’t be heard through the muffling effects of the leather or over the screams of agony from the other room) and then Butch puts his fist practically through the Gimp’s face.
Now, this is where I gotta fudge a little bit; ostensibly Butch just knocked our little buddy out. HOWEVER – let’s not forget that the thing that set all of these shenanigans into motion was the fact that Butch beat a man to death. Not with his bare hands, but with big ole padded boxing gloves. To DEATH. So, you know what? Fuck ostensibly. I got no qualms operating under the assumption that a bare-knuckled Butch racing on a stream of adrenaline that came from a) flipping out about his watch, b) killing a gangster in his apartment, c) mowing down Marcellus Wallace in the Honda, d) managing to dodge a hail of bullets, e) the satisfaction of giving Marcellus’ Pride Speech back to him and f) knowing he just escaped the horrible fate of whatever the hell was happening behind that closed door would be MORE than enough to give him the strength necessary to, as I said before, send his fist through the face of some gigglefreak in a leather suit. Dude’s dead.
There’s obviously no emotional attachment to the guy – at least not on our parts – so the only sensible reaction to the whole ordeal is a “What the fuck?” followed by nervous laughter. Godspeed, The Gimp.
Explain This to the Humane Society: Pff, they don’t care about PEOPLE. Though…I do kinda chuckle at the thought of Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” being used as the backing track for a “Save the Gimps” PSA.
Bonus: Not to leave the ACTUAL animals out of this entry, we can’t forget the dogs at the kennel who had a grand old feast pulling double duty of not only having lunch but also trying to pull information out of Butch’s trainer. Salut.
– Jeremy G. Butler