Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reel Dogs in Art Week 2

Modern dog movies are generally associated with a young audience. Benji and Lassie are deliberately marketed toward children. Even when an adult story is adapted into a dog movie, it’s often kept to a PG rating—such as Marley & Me (2008).

Yet movie dogs can be so much more. From the silver screen Hollywood dog heroes like Luke, Strongheart, Rin-Tin-Tin, and Asta, to the animal horror trend of the 1970s and 1980s, to canine sidekicks in modern comedy and drama, Reel Dogs are truly for all ages and all audiences.

One of the most recognizable icons of the movie dog world for grown-ups is Cujo. This vivid portrait by Christopher-Manuel captures the lovable Saint Bernard turned killer who still chills audiences today. Based on the Stephen King novel, Cujo was released in 1983 after animal horror films had already been through their Hollywood heyday with movies like Jaws (1975), Grizzly (1976), and The Pack (1977).

Some films keep their PG rating without ever really being child’s play: White Fang (1991) is the Walt Disney adaptation of Jack London’s famed wolf-dog novel. This illustration by Inarah shows White Fang (played by the extraordinary Jed) in one of many fights throughout the movie that are brought about by human brutality.

Recently, a German Shepherd Dog once more captured the hearts of adult movie goers in I Am Legend (2007). Samantha (played by Abbey) is captured here by Emlis as "Sam" copilots for her best friend (Will Smith) in this post-apocalyptic drama.

These artists bring vividly to life the fact that dog movies take many forms and tell many stories. Dogs appear in every genre, from horror to sci-fi, and play every imaginable role—from background ambiance to killer to hero to talking alien from outer space. Like life itself, the movies just wouldn’t be the same without them.

The artwork above is published here by kind permission of the artists; Christopher-Manuel, Inarah, and Emlis of deviantART.

Watch for more Reel Dogs art next week!

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