I saved the best for last, my friends. And by “best” I mean “most traumatic.” Of course I’m talking about The Plague Dogs. I can’t do one of my overwrought intros for this movie because there is no available hyperbole to adequately prepare you for what is about to come. We started with animal experimentation, and we’ll end with animal experimentation, only this is a million times more hardcore than The Secret of NIMH. Dog lovers, go look at your puppy porn. Cat lovers, it’s up to us to soldier through.
It starts with sloshing water in a metal tank; we are in an evil amniotic sack of doom. A large dog bursts to the surface of the tank, barking. Other dogs in cages take notice. “I think he’s starting to pack it in,” says an uber-polite British voice. There is nowhere for the dog to get purchase to pull himself out of the water, so he does the only reasonable thing to do: he goes limp, stops paddling, and drifts to the bottom of the tank. Shadowy men with clipboards are the last thing he sees. As they fish him out, they use brainy science talk to speculate that he’ll die pretty soon during one of these tests, as early as next week maybe. (Fingers crossed.) This will solve the age-old academic question of whether a dog is capable of drowning. Britain’s brightest, we salute you! They put a tube down the dog’s throat as he lies soggily on a steel table.
An outside shot of the lab is accompanied by ominous and demented piano music. It sounds like the masterwork of Buffalo Bill, maybe something he composed in between making his skin clothes. Actually, I shouldn’t say that, because we have no evidence that Buffalo Bill played the piano, and “Goodbye Horses” is a goddamn masterpiece. But you get the idea. Naturally, it’s storming, letting us know that this is the place that civilization forgot, except that amoral scientific work like this is civilization at its finest.
Back inside, we see many, many cute dogs including a Papillion (fancy!) One of the dogs, a terrier-type is dead. We know because he’s motionless and missing patches of hair. He’s scooped up and disposed of with a shovel. It is little comfort now to know that “God Loves a Terrier.“ I’m sorry to go there, but the dead dog looks just like Winky.