This review is part of the Daddy Dreadful review series.
Daddy Dreadful Review – A Halloween Puppy (2012)
The internet, as we all know, is a cesspool of belching, bursting hyperbole. While YouTube comments are a fervent breeding ground for trolls, internet movie reviews fare little better, and it doesn’t take long for any sane person to begin ignoring user reviews with titles like “worst movie ever!” Generally, I try to approach my own reviews as maturely and as fact-based as possible, for I’ve come to realize that even most bad films are made with the best of intentions. So it is with this level of awareness that I proclaim that 2012’s A Halloween Puppy is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. As a dedicated horror fan I am accustomed to sifting through bad films in order to find that diamond in the rough – it’s a process that can be fun when approached with the right attitude. Therefore, I’m no stranger to bad films, but A Halloween Puppy, also known as A Magic Puppy, is perhaps the most transparently lazy movie I’ve had the displeasure to watch, and that’s saying something.
This low-budget feature quickly outlives its welcome in its attempt to tell the tired tale of a spell gone wrong that turns a guy into a (female) dog. If 1959’s The Shaggy Dog took a dump on celluloid, you’d at least understand why it’s shitty. But here we get a litany of reused footage, awkward and static camera angles, blue filters in obvious daylight to stand in for night, atrocious acting, and a script that hardly qualifies to be referred to as such. The advertising stresses the appearance of Susan Olsen from The Brady Bunch, but her dull cameo won’t warm the cockles of nostalgic hearts. More interesting to me was Kristine DeBell as the mother, who I immediately recognized from 1976’s Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy and to a lesser extent, Meatballs (1979). Understandably, the first of those films required some additional explanation for my wife. By far the most sincere performance was from Muffin the dog who at least didn’t need a reason for eating the grass, unlike DeBell.
Directed by Mary Crawford… wait, no, that’s a lie. Crawford is a pseudonym for David DeCoteau who has churned out a seemingly endless stream of schlocky, micro-budget horror flicks over the years, particularly the homoerotic “1313” series which appears to fill a niche exploitation market that craves male models running around in their briefs. Recently, however, DeCoteau has turned to making talking animal holiday films that generally have very misleading covers, featuring pets that never appear in the actual film. Even more so than his campy adult-targeted gay-themed films, these are purely created to suck the money from parents’ wallets, and that they’re marketed to children actually makes them, in my assessment, more distasteful.
Recommended Age: Adults – good humored, under the influence, and ready to collectively laugh at the screen.
Final Thoughts: Absolutely terrible. Not at all recommended. However, David DeCoteau knows his schlock, and for adult audiences I do recommend his informative short commentaries on YouTube for the “Trailers From Hell” web series.