When it comes to horror, screenwriters and directors will pull out all of the stops in an attempt to put a jolt into the viewer. Anything goes as long as it’s eerie or surreal. No less than Luis Buñuel- who wasn’t even a horror director- thoroughly enjoyed employing animals in settings where they didn’t belong in an effort to create unease. A small handful of horror films go another step beyond Buñuel, giving a voice to animals. For example…
The premise: a down-on-his-luck writer/hermit has a pet dog (named Lucky) who begins talking to him. And eventually, the dog turns him into a serial killer.
Before John Huston’s grandson Jack became Boardwalk Empire‘s Tin Man, Richard Harrow, he was in a lower-budget horror named Shrooms. It’s a ghost story that features several people who’ve ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms, which is a nice twist to add to a horror film- what with the hallucinations adding to the play between real/unreal in the viewers’ minds. With a helping hand from some fun guys (/mushroom pun), here is a bit of talking animal fun:
Lars von Trier’s film is many, many things. Masochistic, sexually disturbing, and emotionally power-packed come to mind as ways to describe it. But the defining moment when it was screened at Cannes came via the form of a talking fox:
In recent years, a lot of great horror has started to come out of Scandinavia. Die Zombiejäger, Let the Right One In, and Dead Snow are perfect examples of how Northern Europe is taking the world of horror by storm. One of the lesser knowns- Frostbitten– features a nice blend of comedy with the gore and vampire mythos. Part of that humor derives from a talking dog. Forgive the lack of subtitles here. Although I have to confess, I think it might even be funnier that the dogs aren’t just speaking; they’re speaking in Swedish. Jump to about 6:20 for the talking dog.
The Raven (1963)
Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff make up the Mount Rushmore of horror. And they all star in this film, adapted- VERY loosely adapted- from the Edgar Allen Poe poem of the same name. Lorre lends his voice as the raven.