Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive Instant Gems - THE PACK ""

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Warner Archive Instant Gems - THE PACK

THE PACK(1977; Robert Clouse)
This is favorite in the genre for me for sure. A small tourist-y island is overrun by a pack of wild dogs and Joe Don Baker (playing a scientist?!) must deal with them. It's interesting in that this group of dogs is supposed to be made up of animals that were left behind by families staying there for the summer or something. There's even a scene early on of a dad and little boy having to leave their dog as they skedaddle off the island. It's a sad scene because the dad basically just ties the dog to a tree and bails. Anyway, said dog joins the titular "Pack" and becomes evil I guess. So Joe Don and great character actors L.G. Armstrong and Richard B. Schull(among others) find themselves on this island and under siege by this crazy platoon of feral varmints and must fend them off. Pretty simple plot, but nonetheless a good time. Two things I like about this movie are the director and the tagline. The director, Robert Clouse is most notable for his film ENTER THE DRAGON, but I also love him because he did DEADLY EYES. DEADLY EYES is a killer rat movie(one of the best killer rat movies I might add) and one of my favorites in this genre as well. The aforementioned tagline is: "They're not pets anymore." and I think that couldn't be more perfect. Even the poster is one of those neat 70s posters where the title is kind of the logo and they've come up with this silhouetted image of these monster dogs to represent the animals in the movie. All just right on the mark for me. One more thing that stands out is the way the dogs come off in the film. By that I mean, I'm guessing none were actually hurt in the making of the movie (as is often indicated during the closing credits), but they certainly seem really pissed off in a lot of the scenes they're in. I'm not saying anyone did anything wrong exactly, but there seems to be a looser etiquette with the treatment of the dogs and I have to say it gives the film this edge that a present day film wouldn't have. The dogs really feel dangerous and frightening in moments and it helps the film in a way. I am 100% against animal violence and am a dog owner myself, but I am not ashamed to admit that the old "don't make em like they used to" ways of animal handling certainly brings with it a certain authenticity of sorts that is missing from films today. Again, not saying I condone what was done, but I certainly noticed a difference in the way a film of this era feels versus now.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think this movie would get a DVD release (which it did) but even more mind-blowing is to see it streaming via Warner Archive Instant in HD on top of that!
(and P.S. they have a 2 week free trial if you aren't already signed up)
I really do love this movie despite its flaws and even did a podcast about with some friends a while back(we also covered GRIZZLY):
My friend Hal over at his excellent blog The Horn Section did a great write up of this movie before it arrived on dvd and you should really read that (he does the film more justice than I do):

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