This is our last Canine Monster Monday flick and it’s a good one. That is to say this is one of those movies that’s just excellent to watch with friends and make running commentary about how bad it is. Aside from the 70’s technological limitations and cheesy special effects, aside from the bad acting and bad plot, aside from the laugh inducing occult references…it’s a fun movie! Hehehe
What I’d like to discuss with this film is the archetype of the Trickster. The Trickster comes from many mythologies around the world. From the name, it’s obvious the Trickster likes to use its skills to deceive. The Trickster can be human, but is just as often an anthropomorphic animal, such as Br’er Rabbit or Anansi or Bugs Bunny or Puss in Boots. Being here in Korea I have learned about the Korean Trickster the Kumiho (구미호) a thousand year old fox that shape shifts into a beautiful woman to seduce boys and eat their livers! NICE! Believe me, there’s nothing scarier to a Korena man than losing his liver because that would impinge on his Soju drinking ability!
The Trickster in narratives often is the catalyst for the actions of others. In Devil Dog, the Trickster is the dog. It starts out this cute little puppy, and ends up as, well…Devil Dog. That’s the trick though…it is Devil Dog from the beginning. It begins affecting the family that has adopted it in strange ways. The only one who sees its evil as a puppy is another stock character, the wise and religious foreign maid who prays for the family, only to have the puppy cause her to catch on fire from her votive candles. That’s not nice!
In some narratives, like this one, the Trickster becomes the villain. In mythology, think Loki. This dog comes close to destroying a family that literally has the cute kids (Ike Eisnmann and Kim Richards) from the Disney Witch Mountain movies. But though he help of another spiritual Native American guide…you know they know everything about devils…they were sooo wise and otherworldly in the 70s… the father (Richard Crenna if you can believe it) manages to destroy the dog only for us to find out there were 10 puppies in the litter. Cue creepy music…drive off into the sunset.