We’ve all seen our fair share of animal horrors — Jaws, Pet Semetary, Cujo – most of which instilled an unhealthy fear in some of our own pets. Or made our next visit to any sort of body of water a little unnerving. But not all animals in horror are raring to sink their teeth into something, or someone. What about the animals in horror that were on the protagonist’s team? Some were there to fight back against evil, others to provide emotional support, and some were just too cute to forget. Below is a list of our favorite animals in horror who in one way or another fought on the protagonist’s side.
Grandpa in Evil Dead (2013)
Grandpa doesn’t appear in Evil Dead for long, but he still holds a special place in our hearts. Grandpa was David (Shiloh Fernandez) and Mia’s (Jane Levy) family dog who had accompanied them many times before to their cabin in the woods (you know, before it was all creepy and possessed). He arrived with David to support Mia through her heroin withdrawal. Unfortunately for Grandpa, he wasn’t the kind of dog in a horror that could sense the paranormal, leading him to be the first victim of the Deadite-possessed Mia. However, for the brief shiny moments before her possession, Grandpa manages to brighten up Mia’s day and kept everyone smiling. Until all hell broke loose.
Sam in I Am Legend (2007)
Sam, also known as the goodest girl in horror, proved that dogs truly are man’s best friend. Before the outbreak of the Krippin virus, Sam was the Neville family’s adorable new German Shepard puppy. However, when it came time for evacuation, military virologist Robert Neville (Will Smith) stayed behind with the military and his daughter gifted him Sam to be his companion. For three years, Sam remains Neville’s sole companion, hunting, scavenging, and fighting side by side against Darkseekers. Sam is a true and loyal friend until the end and while her untimely death will forever have us grow teary at the mere mention of it, there’s no doubt that Sam is a hero.
Nanook in The Lost Boys (1987)
Nanook will go down in history as the greatest vampire hunting dog of all time. The Alaskan Malamute was Sam’s (Corey Haim) loyal pet, constantly by his side and protecting his owner. Nanook had something of a sixth-sense — the innate ability to sense vampires. When Sam’s brother Michael (Jason Patric) is turned, Nanook senses this immediately and jumps to Sam’s defense, biting Michael’s hand. Nanook even saves the Frog brothers from the vampire Paul (Brooke McCarter), tackling Paul into a bathtub filled with garlic. Buffy Summers could really use a dog like Nanook.
Jones in Alien (1979)
Dogs are commonly known as heroes and companions in film, yet Jones proves that cats are just as capable of being man’s best friend. Aboard the USCSS Nostromo, Ellen Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) ginger cat Jones served as the resident mouse catcher and a great source of entertainment for the crew. When the Xenomorph attacks, Jones proves to be an admirable foe, warning the other crew members of its presence through hisses. Even the Xenomorph doesn’t try and take on Jones. He’s one tough kitty. And Ripley going back to save Jones is a real testament to just how much we love our pets.
Beast in The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Anyone who has seen The Hills Have Eyes 2006 remake knows that Beast is the unsung hero of the film. Originally, the Carter family has two dogs; Beauty and Beast. Sadly, Beauty is killed and partially eaten by the cannibalistic mutants, but Beast gets his revenge. Beast not only tears out the throat of Goggle (Ezra Buzzington) — the mutant that ate Beauty — but he also kills the mutant Big Brain (Desmond Askew) while accompanying Doug (Aaron Stanford) to save his baby. Beast is one of the few animals in horror which almost has a higher kill count than the hero. And we were cheering with each kill. It goes without saying, but Beast is a very, very good boy.
Thor in Bad Moon (1996)
Bad Moon can be summarized as a film about a dog on a mission to save his family from the clutches of a murderous werewolf. Thor loves his family more than anything, so, when Uncle Ted (Michael Paré) comes to stay, his hackles are raised as he realizes there’s something not quite right about him. Unable to warn his family of the danger, Thor fiercely protects them during Ted’s transformations. After a final showdown in which Thor severely wounds the werewolf, the pup tracks the werewolf until sunrise, finally putting an end to Uncle Ted. In the end, it’s Thor’s love and loyalty which saves the Harrison family from this fearsome predator. We’d choose Thor over silver bullets any day.