5 Horror Movie Dogs That Stole the Scene (And Our Hearts!)


Here’s a list for all those dogs who made us feel waves of emotion in the midst of a horror film.

Dogs in horror movies are a popular feature – whether they’re a heroic companion, a feared villain, or a sweet precious doggo who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We’ve all shed a tear for a dearly departed on-screen dog (which – in horror – seems to be a regular outcome. Sorry, Sparky).

Along with the Scream Queen, we mustn’t forget the dogs who stole our hearts as often as they stole the scene. Here’s a list to celebrate those champion canines that did their trainers proud by acting the hell out of whatever roles they had. May they spend the rest of their days surrounded by Marrow Bones and squeaky toys.

I Am Legend

via Warner Bros

If you weren’t weeping when the dog died, then you’re a flat-out liar. Sam (played by Abbey the German Shepherd) is probably the best part of this whole movie. She may not always be the most obedient dog (for the love of God, Sam, stay out of those dark areas!) but her protective instincts and charismatic connection with Robert Neville (Will Smith) made her a dog you desperately wanted to own. And when tragedy strikes – like I did – you probably wept knowing that she did everything she could to protect her master. Oh jeez, I’m tearing up just writing about it… We love you, Samantha!

John Dies at the End

via Magnet Releasing

I’ll admit, I have a soft spot for John Dies at the End. I named my dog Molly after the dog in the book(s), and every day I slightly resent the fact that they changed the name for the movie (sorry Bark Lee). At any rate, holler at me, John Dies at the End fans!  (For real though, holler at me. Let’s talk.)


Bark Lee is heroic as hell, even though he kind of stumbles through each scenario as a passive observer who just happens to be there to assist. He drives, he activates bombs, I mean really, what doesn’t he do?

As a dog owner, the passively helpful nature of Bark Lee actually seems pretty consistent with my experience. Dogs will come and go as they please, help where they want to, and ignore whatever else you’re doing (unless it involves treats). I feel like I’ve named my dog accordingly, because – like her namesake – this dog gives zero fucks unless it’s something that’s directly related to her.


via UnderScoopFire

A dog you love to fear! Cujo takes the cake as the most frightening canine star on this list. However! That honor is not bestowed upon one dog, but five (plus one guy in a dog costume).

Tragically, the dog that is featured most prominently in the film died of bloat during production. Let’s all pour one out for that sweet darling.

Cujo shaped our view of the Saint Bernard until 1992, when Beethoven took over and made them much more goofy and cuddly (but equally protective). Cujo was mean, lean, and a total killing machine. That dog owned the silver screen and we’ll never forget it.

The Thing

via Universal

At one point, I was watching The Thing with a good friend of mine who remarked that “this was some of the finest canine acting I’ve ever seen”. Let me tell you, he ain’t wrong. First off, there are several fantastic dogs in this film, and they all absolutely nail it. Between the raw fear and the otherworldly focus, this team of Huskies captures your attention and keeps it locked.

You fear for them, and you straight-up fear them. Now, part of this is due to the incredible practical effects, however, the imposter’s pre-transition laser-focus and frighteningly calm demeanor are effective as hell. When the poor trapped Husky team starts to panic, it’s maddening how much you want to be able to help them. But you cannot! Because film.

The Lost Boys

via Warner Bros

Okay, first off, I’m on Team Nanook. That dog was an A+ protector and an excellent vampire detector. Nanook (Cody the Alaskan Malamute) won our attention and our hearts after stealing every scene he was in with Corey Haim. I wanted that dog, and I know you did too.

Nanook doesn’t mess about. This dog is fiercely loyal and will turn against his own family to protect his owner. Bless you, Nanook, for guarding us all against the goddamn shit-sucking vampires in our family.

The Hills Have Eyes

via Fox Searchlight Pictures

Beauty and Beast! I love that this movie takes a film that is already geared towards vengeance and gives the dog someone to avenge. You don’t fuck with a dog’s best companion and live to tell the tale.

While poor Beauty dies early, Beast sneaks, tackles, and mauls his way to glory. This dog means business. Again, a German Shepherd (an amazing breed, all around) gets shit done in a spectacular way, striking fear into the heart of his enemies and causing cries of vindicated joy from his fans. Go Beast go!

Next: 8 Werewolf Transformations That Will Make You Howl

Now, I know there are a ton more horror dogs – from The Babadook to The Breed. So tell me in the comments, what horror dogs made you feel emotions? Who were you rooting for? Who did you mourn? Let’s talk!

Keep up with Kelly over at iHorror.com and by following her on Twitter and Instagram.