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.
Film: Dumb and Dumber
The Pet: Petey, the parakeet.
The Owner: First Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels), the intellectually-challenged buddy of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey). Then, posthumously, Billy – the blind kid in 4C.
The Deed: Head ripped off.
Film: I Am Legend
The Pet: Sam, a loyal german shepherd if there ever was one.
The Owner: Dr. Robert Neville (Willenium Smith), a lone virologist in the big city and presumed last man on Earth.
The Deed: Asphyxiated.
Film: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
The Pet: Gordon, the hamster.
The Owner: Rynn Jacobs (Jodie Foster), the thirteen-year-old daughter of a semi-famous poet and single father.
The Deed: Lit cigarette jammed into face.
Film: Single White Female
The Pet: Buddy, the puppy.
The Owner: Allie (Bridget Fonda), an up-and-coming software designer, and Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), her batshit and clingy roommate.
The Deed: Tossed off balcony.
Film: The Lost World: Jurassic Park
The Pet: Unnamed dog in the heart of suburbia.
The Owner: Unnamed suburban family.
The Deed: Eaten by dinosaur.
Film: Drag Me to Hell
The Pet: Kitty, the kitten.
The Owner: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) a young loan officer at a bank who is trying to rise up in the world.
The Deed: Stabbed repeatedly.
Film: The People Under the Stairs
The Pet: Prince, the Rottweiler.
The Owner: Man (Everett McGill) and Woman (Wendy Robie), incestuous, white-trash cannibals, child abusers and ghetto-landlord scum.
The Deed: Shot by accident.
Film: American Gangster
The Pet: A vicious, unnamed German shepherd.
The Owner: Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), notorious 1970’s New York drug lord.
The Deed: Shot on purpose.
Film: The Hills Have Eyes
The Pet: Beauty, a German shepherd, and an unnamed Lovebird.
The Owner: The Carters, a family traveling through the desert on vacation.
The Deed: Disemboweled and head ripped off, respectively.
The Pet: Rufus the cat.
The Owner: Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), med student.
The Deed: Head caught in jar (so we’re told).
Film: Fatal Attraction
The Pet: Whitey, the fluffy bunny.
The Owner: The family of Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), a successful Manhattan attorney.
The Deed: Boiled.
Film: Alien 3
The Pet: The Prison Dog, a rottweiler and eventual Xenopup (in the theatrical cut).
The Owner: Murphy (Christopher Fairbank), one of the many barking mad members of the Fury 161 Prison commune.
The Deed: Infected by alien parasite.
Film: Man’s Best Friend
The Pet: EMAX 3000 (aka, Max), a homicidal, savage, yet lovably antiheroic genetically-modified Tibetan mastiff.
The Owner: Initially, nefarious renegade zoologist Dr. Jarret (Lance Henriksen) and his unethical house of horrors, until he’s rescued by unwavering TV newswoman Lori Tanner (Ally Sheedy).
The Deed: Shot.
Film: The Thing
The Pet: American Outpost 31′s sled dogs.
The Owner: Clark (Richard Masur), the dog trainer.
The Deed: Absorbed by alien life form, shot, burnt, axed, and euthanized.
Film: The Godfather
The Pet: Khartoum, the $600,000 former racehorse.
The Owner: Jack Woltz, studio-head and well-traveled poon hound.
The Deed: Decapitated.
Film: The NeverEnding Story
The Pet: Artax, mystical horse and the object of many a zoophile’s affections.
The Owner: Atreyu, warrior boy sent into the dark nether regions of Fantasia to find a cure for the Empress’s extreme case of the blues.
The Deed: Consumed by cursed swamp.
Film: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The Pet: Aunt Bethany’s cat.
The Owner: Take a wild guess.
The Deed: Electrocuted.
Film: Big Jake
The Pet: Dog, a Rough Collie.
The Owner: Big Jake (John Wayne), an aging rancher and gunfighter.
The Deed: Hacked to pieces.
Film: A Fish Called Wanda
The Pet: Three unlucky Yorkshire terriers.
The Owner: Three unlucky Yorkshire terriers.
The Deed: Eaten by larger dog, run over by car, and crushed by falling block, respectively.
Film: Old Yeller
The Pet: Old Yeller, a Labrador Retriever/Mastiff mutt.
The Owner: The Coates, a poor family struggling to get by in post-Civil War Texas.
The Deed: Shot after getting rabies.
Film: Pulp Fiction
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 Deed: Medieval retribution.