the Movie Club Annals ...

  
 

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Devil Dog - The Hound of Hell

 
 

Rating: 2 Poseidons

 

 

Reviewed by Carl R.

 

 

 

  
 

Brought to you by the BTMAG
(Buck Toothed Moron Actor's Guild)


 
 
Devil Dog - The Hound of Hell is 95 minutes long, and, with the exception of a 91-minute lull in the middle, is a pretty exciting movie. Almost every member of the cast has buck teeth, courtesy of the BTMAG (Buck Toothed Moron Actor's Guild), which was at the height of it power in 1978 when Devil Dog was filmed.

Devil Dog starts out with a bang, as a group of buck-toothed devil worshippers in sunglasses show up at the local kennel seeking to purchase an evil dog. As luck would have it, the kennel has a demonic German Shepard on hand, so the satisfied devil worshippers buy the dog and take it to the local Luciferian church for a chanting ceremony.  
  
 

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Devil Dog Worshippers

 

 
Cut to Richard Crenna, driving his buck-toothed wife home. When they pull up to their house, they see their dog laying dead in the road. Their idiot buck-toothed neighbor is a witness to the death, but is too lazy, stupid, and buck-toothed to move the dog's carcass out of the road. The buck-toothed Crenna children are momentarily upset over the loss, and thus satisfy the movie's excuse for bringing home a new puppy.
  
 

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Crenna & Wife

 
While the two children are grieving/playing outside, a mysterious redneck pulls up in Good Humoresque vegetable truck. The truck driver can't interest the children in any freshly-picked beets, but perhaps they'd like to adopt a satanically possessed puppy?  The children prove to be easy pickings for the vegetable/dog vendor, and they take the satanic puppy into the house to meet their parents and the buck-toothed maid.
 
 

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The Vegetable/Dog Vendor

 
 
Once in the house, the devil puppy is placed in a cardboard box. The maid feels spooked by the puppy in a box, so she lights some candles and starts praying. The puppy in a box gives the maid the evil eye. She senses the puppy's evil presence and stares back at the puppy in a box. Almost instantly, she bursts into flames, her fiery death following within seconds. Oh God! Oh no! It's true! The puppy in a box really is possessed!  Oh God! Oh no!  Help!

But wait just a minute. Take a look at the pictures below.  One can easily see that the maid was playing with matches and recklessly dangling her muumuu over the top of a burning candle at the precise moment she was exchanging stares with the puppy in a box.  Her demise was the product of her own stupidity, and had nothing at all to do with the puppy in a box.  
 
 

 

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Praying With Matches 

Playing With Matches

 
  
Richard Crenna, however, takes a different view of the maid incident. After a lengthy period of reflection, he concludes that her fiery death was not caused by the highly flammable man-made synthetic fiber garment being recklessly dangled over the top of an open burning flame. No, the maid's death must have been caused by the puppy in a box. This seems a bit like misplaced blame, so as a series of horrid events begin to unfold before the Crenna clan, Richard's reactions will bear further observation  ...

Richard Crenna is the ultra-typical 70's sleezoid workaholic male who exists within his own little world of self-imposed monotony.  He drives a wood-sided station wagon, considers yard work to be a contact sport, and hasn't missed Hollywood Squares in nine years. He continually makes promises of romantic dinners to his wife, only to break them because he can't pull himself away from the latest edition of Accounting Life magazine.  He's plastered his hair down with the 70's 'Dry Look' spray formula, is 30 pounds overweight, and has seemingly cornered the market on leisure suits.  

Yet, when his wife turns into a raging slut and starts boinking all his buck-toothed friends, he attributes it not to his charismatically void persona, but instead places the blame the family dog. Ok, Richard - whatever you say - the dog destroyed your marriage. Was that before or after it ate your homework?

   

 

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 The Gut and The Slut

 
 
In another incident, Richard gets a good scare while performing a routine lawn mower repair. Without the benefit of gloves or safety goggles, he turns the power mower upside-down so the blades are exposed and the gas and oil are leaking out all over the place.

Next, he starts poking at the blades and gas-soaked electrical wires with his bare hands. In the middle of all this, he stops paying attention to the lawnmower and starts staring at Devil Dog. During his little mental lapse, he inadvertently starts the upside-down mower and nearly loses his hand to the exposed whirring blades.  

Crenna survives the ordeal unharmed, but Mr. Safety Expert cannot bring himself to accept responsibility for his own idiocy, and again he blames the family dog. 
 
 

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 Safety First?

 
 
Moving along, three of Richard's neighbors are mysteriously killed off in rapid succession. Who might have done these terrible things?  Why were these innocent people murdered in cold blood?  Well, who's buck-toothed slut wife was boinking all the now-dead neighbors? Who had both motive and opportunity to commit the murders?  Who struts around the house in a triple-knit leisure suit like a homicidal peacock at a Bee Gee's concert? The family dog certainly meets none of the criteria, so all the good bets are on the Polyester Assassin, Richard Crenna. 

Predictably, Crenna blames Devil Dog for the murders, but his non-stop excuses - and his wardrobe - are starting to take a toll on his credibility.
.  
 

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The Accused

 
 
Soon enough, the Crenna children are afflicted with fits of bad behavior. They're doing unthinkable things, like staying up late at night, talking back to their mother, and acting rebelliously toward their father.  Ooooooooh - they must be possessed!  Wow, let's call National Geographic and see if there are any other known instances of pubescent 13-year olds acting out and rebelling against their parents. 

Richard Crenna, of course, isn't buying into any of those age-old stereotypes about puberty. No, the kids are possessed, and it can only be the fault of the family dog. Ok Richard - whatever you say - the kids are possessed.  Thank God it isn't drugs.
   
  

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  Those Crazy Kids

  
  
In yet another brilliant move, Richard goes to the family doctor and tells him all about his delusional dog woes. After hearing this nonsense, the doctor could have granted him one of those nice long involuntary stays at the nearest mental health spa. But Crenna gets lucky, and the doctor instead hits him off with a bottle of tranquilizers and tells him to take his buck-toothed slut wife to Hawaii for a vacation.  

Not surprisingly, Richard passes on the trip to Hawaii in favor of an opportunity to kill the family dog. He loads Devil Dog into the station wagon, drives it to an isolated field some three hundred yards from his house, and starts shooting at it from a distance of ten paces. He misses - and misses - and misses - and misses. Finally, he leaves Devil Dog in the field and makes for home, only to find Devil Dog waiting for him when he gets there. 

Remaining true to form, Crenna blames his poor marksmanship and slapdash driving on the family dog. Never mind that he couldn't hit the broad side of a whale's ass with a Gatling gun on his best day, or that his thrice-daily Irish coffee habit has impaired his driving again. It's all the fault of the family dog.

  

 
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 Play Dead, Boy!
 
Dejected, Crenna makes a visit to the Town Keeper of Devil Dog Data at the local book store. After consulting her handy  "Good Over Evil" instruction booklet, she tells Richard to fly to South America to find the Exalted High Priest of Devil Dog Knowledge.  
 

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  The Town Keeper of Devil Dog Data

 
 
Richard takes an Econo-Moron class flight to South America. No sooner does he debark (sorry) from the plane than he finds the Exalted High Priest of Devil Dog knowledge, who turns out to be an aged, buck-toothed Popeye look-alike in a smurf hat. After selling him the Brooklyn Bridge, the High Priest of Devil Dog Knowledge tattoos a Chinese Checkers pattern on Richard's hand and tells him it will make the Devil Dog go away.  Since Richard so readily believes this, he also allows him to buy into the upcoming IPO for a proposed chain of Yeti zoos in Atlantis. 
    
 

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The Exalted High Priest of Devil Dog Knowledge

 
 
By the time Crenna returns from South America, our much maligned Devil Dog is seriously angry. Crenna has wrongfully blamed it for everything under the sun, ranging from lawnmower mishaps to marriage problems to spontaneous maid combustions to pre-meditated murder. But it's Crenna's attempts to kill off the defenseless Devil Dog that push the dispirited canine past it's point of forgiveness. 
 
All this leads to the final face-off between Crenna and Devil Dog. The setting is a nuclear power plant.  Devil Dog is replaced in this scene by a clumsily mechanized stunt-double devil dog with a monotone growl, glowing eyes, and a jeri-curl afro. All during the climactic final confrontation, techno Devil Dog growls away, while Crenna struggles mightily to reveal the Chinese checkers tattoo on his palm.   
 
 

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Afro Dog

Chinese Checkers

Palm Antidote

 
 
Finally, the Amazing Crenna figures out how to flash his tattoo, the effect of which causes techno Devil Dog to burst into flames. Since we know that techno Devil Dog wasn't playing with matches like a certain domestic helper at the start of the movie, we can positively attribute its demise to bad special effects and an unjust story line.
 
In the closing scene, we find Crenna nonchalantly loading his slut wife and bratty kids into the wood-sided station wagon for a vacation, smug in the notion that he's finally rid himself of the Devil Dog.  But his buck-toothed son soon bursts the Crenna bubble by delivering some shocking news - there are still nine other devil dog puppies out there, all of them unaccounted for. 

Realizing the lingering threat to all of mankind, Citizen Crenna decides that the best course of action - whatever that may be - does not include interrupting his vacation plans. Leaving the predicament to someone else, he gets into his wood-sided station wagon, slides in his favorite Debby Boone 8-track, and drives off into the suburban sunset.
 
 
CR
 
 

A Parting Message

 
The prospect is real. There could be up to nine Devil Dog sequels. Imagine what might happen to the poor little satanic canines if they got stuck working with another polyester miscreant like Richard Crenna.  Devil Dogs II - X could be subjected to false accusations, frame-up attempts, slanderous tirades, and even life-threatening assaults. 
 

... But There is Hope ...

  
 

 

 DDLDF

 
Give to the DDLDF (Devil Dog Legal Defense Fund). For the mere price of an unnamed oblong-shaped cream-filled chocolate snack cake made by the Drakes company, you too can help one of these poor little Devil Dogs defend itself from the Crennas of the world.
 

Give today. Call 1-800-DEVIL-DOG 

 
 

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Won't You Help?