Another movie about a supernatural dog has been released — this time, a vampire dog – but apparently it has skipped theaters and gone straight to DVD.
From the trailer, you can maybe see why.
Given that movies with dogs that talk, and movies that portray dogs as monsters (even lovable ones) are not among our favorite genres, you may ask why even post about “Vampire Dog?”
Partly because, having written a non-fiction book on dog cloning — a practice I see as selfish, ill-conceived, fraught with animal welfare concerns and maybe a little supernatural itself — I feel the need to stay on top of both the real world attempts to make dogs eternal, and any artsy representations thereof in the entertainment industry.
Partly also because we spot a trend, or maybe the beginning of one, or maybe just two of something.
Coming out next month, in theaters, is Frankenweenie — a remake by Tim Burton of his short film about a dog who is reanimated by his young owner.
“Frankenweenie” looks to be a lot more enthralling, and artsy, than ”Vampire Dog,” whose storyline begins when a boy named Ace inherits a dog named Fang from his grandfather in Transylvania.
Fang is not just a “vampire dog,” but also a talking dog (voiced by Norm MacDonald). I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually survive on blood (either Fang or MacDonald), and that he (Fang) is more comedic than scary.
According to a synopsis on IMDb, Fang arrives as Ace, the boy, is working to fit in at his new school. There’s a mad scientist involved, named Dr. Warhol, who along with her bumbling assistant tries to capture Fang and steal his DNA in hopes of developing the latest anti-aging technology.
Fang, while evading his pursuers, forms an enduring friendship with Ace and the two discover that together they can face their fears and be unstoppable.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cloning, dog cloning, dogs, entertainment, eternal, fang, forever, frankenstein, frankenweenie, movies, norm macdonald, pets, reanimated, resurrected, supernatural, tim burton, trailer, trailers, vampire dog, vampires, video
“The Big Chill for the AARP set.”
“Too much people and not enough dog.”
“A dog of a flick.”
Lawrence Kasdan’s new movie, Darling Companion, isn’t receiving universal acclaim.
A movie about a lost dog rescued from the side of the road, some critics are saying it goes astray, despite a cast that includes Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and, in the starring role — though not starring enough, some say – a mutt who plays the character of a dog named Freeway.
“…Aimless, tedious and sometimes downright ridiculous,” is how it’s reviewed on Movieline, where a critic pointed out it would have benefited from focusing more on the dog, less on the bickering family.
Written by Kasdan and his wife, Meg Kasdan, the script for Darling Companion involves a dog rescued and then lost. Freeway disappears while chasing after a deer. The plot centers on the search for the dog, but apparently gets sidetracked a lot with strictly human angst, both related and unrelated to the dog’s disappearance.
The movie was made on a small budget, and is Kasdan’s first independent film. It has some parallels to the Kasdan’s loss of their own dog, Mac, a dog they adopted from a shelter and lost about five years ago,” Steve Dale reports in the Chicago Tribune
“While attending a wedding, we left Mac with a friend,” Kasdan said. “They were hiking when a mountain biker spooked the dog and he ran off. We thought he’d show up immediately. We searched and searched and put up posters and made announcements on local radio. We did everything.”
“I learned it’s one of the most emotional things that can happen,” he said. The dog was recovered four weeks later.
The movie also draws from an experience of Meg Kasdan’s sister, who rescued a dog from the side of the road in Detroit, and named it Freeway.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animals, cinema, darling companion, diane keaton, dog, dog movies, dogs, dogs in movies, films, found, freeway, kevin kline, lawrence kasdan, lost, meg kasdan, movies, pets, rescued, reviews, shelter, trailer
This week, we’ll be bringing you clips from the Emmy-winning documentary “100,000,” an investigation into dog overpopulation in Puerto Rico.
It’s a stunning look at what has led to the problem, the staggering heights it has reached, and what’s being done about it. (In three words, not nearly enough.)
The movie’s title, “100,000” refers to estimates of the number of strays roaming the streets and beaches of Puerto Rico. (Some others suspect the actual number may be twice as high.)
The video above is a trailer for the documentary, but in each of the next three days we’ll bring you substantial clips from it, including a look at a villager who tries to help street dogs; an organization (our friends at Island Dog) that patrols the beaches, frequently used as a dumping ground for unwanted dogs; and at how the handful of shelters on the island rely heavily on euthanasia.
Directed by Juan Agustin Marquez, the documentary has been broadcast in over 17 countries and has won numerous honors at film festivals.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100000, abandoned, abuse, animals, award, beaches, clips, cruelty to animals, director, documentary, dogs, emmy, epidemic, euthanasia, island dog, juan agustin marquez, movie, neglect, neuter, overpopulation, pets, puerto rico, rescues, shelters, spay, stray dogs, strays, street, street dogs, trailer, unwanted, winning
There’s cycling with your dog, and then there’s cycling with your dog.
Above is Abby, who commutes to work via bicycle with her human. She calmly lays, sits or stands there on a nice padded surface as her human does all the work. Lazy dog? Or smart dog?
In any case, she seems, in this video anyway, a low energy dog.
Cycling with a high energy dog? That’s another story, or at least another video.
Check out Lily, the official mascot for MtnRanks.com, a purveyor of outdoor gear in Park City, Utah:
Posted by jwoestendiek November 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abby, activities, animals, bicycle, bicycling, cycle, cycling with dogs, dog, dogs, dogs and bicycles, high energy, lazy, lily, low energy, mtnranks.com, outdoors, pets, pull, shred, smart, sports, trail, trailer, videos
We love a good dog movie. We even love a bad dog movie. “Red Dog” — the tale of a stray who wandered Australia’s outback in the 1970s — looks like it might be the former.
The movie, starring a dog named Koko as Red Dog — he’s a kelpie — made its premiere in Australia this week, to mostly good reviews.
Based on those, the book that inspired it, and on the movie trailer, we — not having the vaguest idea of how movie distribution works — say send it on over our way, mates, preferably with, rather than subtitles, a glossary of Australian slang for when we get stumped by the strange words you sometimes utter.
In all seriousness — at a time when not just some Chinese cities, but some U.S. towns, are rounding up and euthanizing strays — we detect in the movie a message worth sharing: That dogs who, through human sloth and neglect, end up as strays, aren’t disposable. That dogs who belong to no one belong to everyone. That, whether they are hitchhiking in Australia or turning over garbage cans in Fayetteville, N.C., homeless dogs, rather than being slapped with the label “feral” and put down, deserve a second chance.
That may not be the movie’s intended message — I haven’t seen it — but it is mine.
The movie is based on the 2002 book by English author Louis de Bernieres.
In 1998, de Bernieres was invited to Karratha, in northwest Australia, for the town’s first literary event. The manager of his hotel loaned him a vehicle so he could tour around in a land that, known mostly for mining, seldoms draws tourists.
Around Dampier he spotted a statue of a dog on the side of the road.
“It said something like ‘Red Dog 1979, erected by his friends’ – something like that. So I thought, ‘That’s really interesting, who is this Red Dog and why has he got a statue?’ I started asking questions.”
The author hung around town for a while, gathering Red Dog lore and making a map of all the various spots Red Dog spent time in. He returned two years later to do further research.
Red Dog had accrued quite a history, as it turned out, and was said to have hitched rides with locals and truck drivers from Karratha as far south as Perth and as far east as Darwin, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
While he was viewed as “everybody’s dog,” Red Dog, in the movie, finally ends up with a permanent human companion.
As the movie trailer concludes, “Sometimes we pick our dogs, sometimes our dogs pick us.”
Before the movie was released, its makers posted on the Internet what they say is Koko’s audition tape. Here’s a look at it:
Posted by jwoestendiek August 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: audition, australia, author, book, books on dogs, dampier, darwin, everybodys dog, feral dogs, hitchhiker, hitchhiking, homeless dogs, karratha, kelpie, koko, louis de bernieres, miners, mining, movie, movies on dogs, outback, perth, red dog, statue, stray dogs, tape, trailer, video
Three Georgia shelter dogs – among 50 on their way to a New York adoption event — suffocated last week after a mechanical failure in the trailer in which they were being transported.
Staff from the Hall County Animal Shelter were taking the dogs to an event hosted by Best Friends Pet Care in White Plains, N.Y.
“We had a mechanical failure with one of the power sources for the trailer, but we were able to get everything straightened out,” Mike Ledford, director of the shelter, told the Gainesville Times.
The deaths were discovered when the convoy made its first stop on the 875-mile trip, a week ago Friday night.
Ledford said the dogs were among a caravan transporting 50 homeless dogs. A power system failure on a trailer was blamed. Ledford said the trailer was new, and checked before the trip began.
Dogs from overcrowded shelters in the South are commonly shipped to northern states where they have been determined to have better chances of getting adopted.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animal shelters, animal welfare, animals, best friends pet care, caravan, deaths, dogs, hall county animal shelter, heat, mike ledford, north, pets, pipeline, rescue, shelter, south, suffocation, trailer, transport, white plains
It’s time to pull out of Petite Acres, say goodbye to Arizona and make our way back east.
We’ll hit the road tomorrow morning – bound, eventually, for Baltimore — having accomplished most of what we stopped here for.
First on the list was sleep, and I got lots; followed by catching up on work, at which I was somewhat less successful; and getting organized, a goal I didn’t fully reach, either.
We had our recreational vehicle experience, staying four weeks in a camper in the desert – though, come to think of it, I didn’t recreate in it. Nor, it being a detached trailer, anchored in a trailer park, did I use it as a vehicle.
Nevertheless, we got to spend Christmas with family. (And, yes, they all liked their regifts.). We got the car washed, our clothes clean, and did some hiking in the desert.
I peered out the window of my camper before I went to sleep and saw three of them, about 30 yards away, walking through the shadows of the trailer park, appearing almost comical with their giant heads and tiny legs. They walked in a row, one behind the other, from trailer to trailer, looking like a family shopping at the mall.
It was one final offering from the desert, in whose wild side I find serenity. I’ll miss it.
I’ll miss my little trailer, which – with its pop-outs popped out — actually is quite big; I’ll miss Petite Acres, my modest trailer park, which actually is owned by a millionaire, who lives in a trailer, too; I’ll miss Cave Creek, which transforms from a quiet little town during the week to a hopping destination on weekends.
I’ll miss my neighborhood bars – the Hideaway Grill (the biker one) The Buffalo Chip (the cowboy one, with live bull riding two nights a week) and Harold’s (the Pittsburgh Steelers one).
Crowds gather at Harold’s when the Steelers are on TV, and, with their cheerleading led by a guy on a microphone, I can hear them from my trailer: “Here we go, Steelers, here we go.” Once you hear that phrase chanted 300 times, it tends to keep replaying in your head, long after the game is over.
I stopped in for a beer there last Thursday, not knowing a game was about to start. When I took a seat at the bar, I learned that they were all reserved. People buy season tickets to sit at the bar and watch the game. Each stool had a placard with a name on it, and I had inadvertently taken “Wild Bill’s” spot. I thought about moving over one stool, to one marked “Brenda,” but decided if Wild Bill showed up – hopefully without guns a blazin’ – I would just explain I was keeping it warm for him. Wild Bill never showed up, but then I only stayed for the first quarter, as the game, against the Carolina Panthers, wasn’t much of a showdown.
Ace seemed to enjoy the break from traveling – tune in later this week to learn more about his feelings on that – especially his visits, several of them unauthorized, with my closest neighbor, Ramiro, who dispensed a few treats, including slow-cooked pork and a tamale. Ace, not understanding Mexican culture, ate the corn husk, but returned it later, in my yard.
Knowing a soft touch when he sees one, Ace would station himself in my yard, waiting for Ramiro to come outside. When I wasn’t watching, he’d sneak over to Ramiro’s, taking a seat at his feet and leaning on him. Ramiro, who thought Ace looked like a lion, called him “leon,” which is Spanish for lion, or would be if I knew how to make an accent thingy over the “o.”
Before leaving, we’d like to thank, first off, our landlord, Tami, for providing our housing, teaching us the ropes of trailer life and showing us around town.
Thanks as well to Desert Foothills Library – the first library on earth to get a copy of my new book, “DOG, INC.” They – in addition to being where I checked out free movies to watch in my cable-less trailer — allowed me to use an office and landline for a radio interview.
Thanks also to the Sonoran News for letting me do another radio interview there.
The book — about the cloning of dog, and the marketing of that service to bereaved pet owners — officially comes out Dec. 30, and promoting it is the main reason for my return to the east coast. Assuming we make it across the country in one piece, I’ll be in Washington for the Diane Rehm Show Jan. 5, and in New York for the Leonard Lopate Show Jan. 7.
In between, with help from The Book Escape in Federal Hill, we’ll be squeezing in a couple of book signings in my old south Baltimore neighborhood – Jan. 5 at the Idle Hour, 201 E. Fort Ave., and Jan. 6 at Captain Larry’s, 601 E. Fort Ave.
(Javelina photo from BisbeeBirders)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 27th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, arizona, baltimore, book, captain larry's, cave creek, cloning, desert, desert foothills library, diane rehm, dog inc., dog's country, dogscountry, home, idle hour, javelina, leonard lopate, petite acres, promotion, return, road trip, signings, sonoran news, the book escape, tourism, trailer, trailer park, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, trip
With just two days left before Santa comes down the chiminea, even Arizona has decided it’s winter.
The last few days in Cave Creek — where I’m living in a (contradiction in terms alert) stationary motorhome — have been wet and cool, with temperatures plummeting at night to around, prepare yourself, 50 degrees.
We get by, and so far without turning on the heat. Instead I use three blankets and Ace. Normally, unless he’s feeling unusually needy, he’ll fall asleep with his head down by my feet and his rear pointed at my face, which is not without ramifications.
On the cold nights though, and there have been a couple, I reposition his 130 pounds so that we are side by side, pointed the same way, so that I might better absorb his warmth.
He puts up with it for a short time, then goes back to his old position.
Last night, as I reached out to give his head a final pat, only to get a handful of butt, we fell asleep to the pitter-patter — I’m pretty sure I heard both pitters and patters — of a gentle rain falling on the trailer roof, only to be awakened an hour or so later by tremendous pelting thuds of hail on the roof.
A hailstorm can be disconcerting in a real house, but in a trailer — without the attic or the insulation — it’s a lot more personal; every thud seems amplified, and a heavy hail sounds like machine gun fire.
Those whacks were enough to get Ace anxious, and when thunder and lightning rolled through he left the bed in search of a more secure hiding place.
It was as if one roof over his head wasn’t enough, and he was looking for a back-up one. He tried under the dinette table, but that was too cramped. He came back to the bedroom and crawled under the tiny ledge the TV sits on, then decided that wasn’t good enough, either.
So I invited him back on the bed, where he was more than happy to snuggle up as close as he could possibly get, pointed the same way as me, for the duration of the storm.
I threw my an Indian blanket over him, and he seemed to like that even better. I put my arm around him, and that is how we woke up this morning.
I’ve yet to go outside to check my car and my the chiminea for damage, but looking out my window as the sun comes up, the sky looks like maybe it will finally clear up today, and maybe our last few days in Arizona will bring us more sweet sunshine.
On Monday, maybe Tuesday, we’ll start the trip back east, totally unexcited about, and totally unprepared for, a taste of real winter.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, arizona, behavior, camper, cave creek, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, hail, lightning, motorhome, pets, sleeping, sleeping with dogs, storm, thunder, trailer, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, warmth, weather, winter
“Don’t Call Us Trailer Trash”
Like your roots can’t rot –
That’s how it feels, when living
In a house with wheels
(To see all of our Highway Haikus — attempted poetry, composed from behind the steering wheel during our 20,000 miles of travel — click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: haiku, highway, highway haiku, lifestyle, living, poetry, road, road trip, roots, rot, trailer, trailer park, trailer trash, travels with ace, wheels
Say you forked over $650 to spend the month in a trailer in the desert – actually one of those big pull-it-yourself RV campers with popouts – and when you arrived the next day to move in, a little earlier than expected, you saw that not only were the pop-outs popped in, but the trailer was hitched to a truck, appearing as if it was ready to hit the highway.
(A) Immediately assume you’d been scammed?
(B) Shoot first and ask questions later?
(C) Politely inquire as to what might be going on?
Fortunately I chose (C) when Ace and I pulled into Petite Acres last week to move into what, after six months on the road, we’d arranged to be our home – we presumed, a stationary one – for a month in Cave Creek, Arizona.
As it turned out, my landlady wasn’t hauling the trailer away, only moving it a few feet over so that I might enjoy my entire concrete slab patio, as opposed to just the half of it that the trailer wasn’t resting on.
After a week of trailer life, Ace and I (though I shouldn’t speak for him) couldn’t be happier.
I can sit at the dinette (across from the kitchenette — midway between the bedroomette and the living roomette) and blog while looking out my windowette and enjoying a view of the mountains, strutting quail and rabbits everywhere. At night, I hear whinnying horses and howling coyotes and a few other sounds, and soundettes, I haven’t identified yet.
He has learned, somewhat, not to wander off to visit other trailers, though twice I’ve caught him at the homes of my two closest neighbors, where he tends to venture when they are cooking or eating.
One of them, who introduced himself as Romero, informed me that he didn’t mind Ace dropping by, but asked that I pick up any poop he might leave there, which, unknown to me, he had done yesterday. I apologized, and Romero, who was slow cooking some pork on an outside stovetop, was very nice about it.
Romero’s dinner smelled so good that I couldn’t be too hard on Ace for the transgression. Besides, it had happened hours before.
We’ve yet to encounter any javelina, those wild pig-like creatures who roam in the desert nearby, but I thought one morning I heard some snorting outside the trailer. We have a woodpecker friend who hangs out on the telephone pole in my dusty yard, and other birds — since I generally keep the trailer door open — have wandered inside to look around.
Yesterday, I went outside to absorb some sun — not to tan, just to bake out the morning chill. I’d just about dozed off on my lounge chair when a bird landed on me. Feeling little webbed feet on my thigh, I jerked awake, scaring him off before I could see what kind it was.
I found my temporary home on Craigslist, and, though it’s a trailer, it’s actually wider than my former rowhome in Baltimore — at least when the pop-outs, in the living room and bedroom, are popped out. I worried a little bit about hitting the wrong switch while in bed and getting compacted — hydraulically turned into a John-ette — but it turns out keys need to be inserted for the pop outs to move.
My landlady, Tami, has been wonderful, jumping on any problems that arise, showing me the ropes of RV life, and intent on making sure — though I’m only here for three more weeks — that I feel at home.
She took me to the library to get a library card, introduced me to some of her dog-loving friends and left me stocked up with movies on DVD, since there’s no TV reception. She invited me to join her and some friends at the American Legion Hall last night.
Ace and I have checked out the biker bar next door, The Hideaway Grill, enjoying some nice time there before being informed that, because of a recent incident involving a customer tripping over a leash, dogs are no longer invited to sit on the patio, at least not on busy nights. Last night, I visited the next closest bar, The Buffalo Chip, where Wednesday nights feature bull riding. Not mechanical bulls. Real ones. Dogs are welcome there, but not on bull riding night, or Friday nights, so Ace stayed home. I didn’t ride a bull. Maybe next week.
In addition to not getting TV reception – maybe a good thing — we don’t get mail delivery, and I have to walk my trailer trash down to the Dumpster next to the biker bar.
We’ve had some minor plumbing issues — the trailer, not me — but they were quickly resolved. (Oh, and that missing dental crown? I found it on the car floor while unpacking, and have reinstalled it in my mouth.)
I couldn’t imagine pulling this trailer — it’s a late 90′s Sea Breeze — down the highway, getting it leveled and hooked up at every stop, but, sitting still, it makes for a cozy little home that sways only slightly when Ace jumps on or off the bed or the couch.
I’ve thought I should give it a name, like John Steinbeck did with his camper, Rocinante. (Feel free to submit nominations.) There’s one I like — it’s both modest and Spanish-sounding — but it isn’t original. I saw it etched into a sign at a gift shop:
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, almosta ranch, america, animals, arizona, bars, buffalo chips, bull riding, camper, campers, cave creek, desert, dogs, english bulldogs, hideaway, javelina, john steinbeck, mobile, monthly, name, neighbors, petite acres, pets, pop=outs, quail, rabbits, rental, restaurants, road trip, rv, steinbeck, trailer, trailer life, trash, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley, wildlife, woodpecker