Animals are far from the center of attention in most horror movies. It is all about the bad guy and the final girl, but there are a ton of notable pets in horror movies that get less credit than they deserve. I thought it would be nice to take some time out to celebrate some of the better pets in horror movies and finally give them the time in the spotlight that they earned. These horror movie pets have all won their spots for various reasons including protecting their people, being adorable, and just being downright awesome.
1. Dr. Mambo - Cabin Fever
Just the name Doctor Mambo is enough to land this horror canine on this list, but he is way cooler than a name alone. The good doctor was one of the few animals to make it out of the infected woods alive. Even his owner played by Eli Roth didn't make it out of the cave he was holed up in. A little-known fact about Doctor Mambo is that he is the only animal character on this list to be in more than one movie. The professor of being a dog has a cameo appearance in the Robert Englund film 2001 Maniacs alongside Eli Roth as his owner.
2. Gizmo - Gremlins
I'm sure there are a lot of people offended that I didn't lead the list with Gizmo, but I often question whether Gremlins can even be considered a horror movie. Nonetheless, that is the category it is most often placed in, and Gizmo is not only one of the most beloved horror movie pets of all time, but one of the most beloved movie characters of all time. Though the caveats that come with his care are not exactly desirable, those big eyes and floppy ears combined with some adorable chirping make Gizmo one of the best horror movie pets ever to grace the screen.
3. Muffin - Friday the 13th Part 2
Muffin has a lot going for her. First of all, she's about as cute as they come. Secondly, she may or may not have met one of the worst serial killers in cinema history and lived to bark the tale. She is a part of one of the best jump scares in horror history when she shows up at Ginny's front door after taking a long hiatus during the film. Muffin is fantastic because she apparently doesn't have a care in the world and I think that this little dog is tougher than her bow lets on. Muffin is also part of a conspiracy theory that theorizes that the entire ending of Friday the 13th part was a dream. Many speculate that since Muffin's demise was insinuated during the film, her showing up at the end was a hopeful dream made by Ginny's terror-addled mind.
4. Toby - Friday the 13th Part 8
Toby is a lot like Muffin except more helpful and not the victim of a conspiracy. Toby is a companion and emotional support dog for the final girl, and he gets her out of trouble more than once in the movie. He is also used for one last scare which quickly turns to joy when you realize that a girl is being reunited with her dog. A fun side note is that Kane Hodder, the most notable Jason and the one in this particular film, reportedly refused to be in a movie where Jason hurts a dog.
5. Beast - The Hills Have Eyes
Beast is one of my favorite horror movie pets because he is bad to the bone. In a movie that is gut-wrenching in both the sheer violence as well as emotional trauma Beast is one of the small beacons of hope. Though he loses his sister Beauty and most of his human family to a group of deranged hill dwelling cannibals, he remains loyal to what little family he has left and protects while exacting revenge for his fallen sister. Beast was one of the inspirations for this list, and I always get jacked up when he returns to the screen after a mid-movie hiatus.
6. Sherman - Shark Night
Though the case could be made that the sharks in this Shark Night are pets, it is Sherman who is by far the best pet in the film. This chill Yellow Lab is continuously at Sara's side and seems like the loyal companion you would expect. Though there are not scenes of Sherman taking on a shark to save Sara he does help drag the survivors back to the boat at the end of the movie. That alone makes Sherman one of the best horror movie pets there has ever been.
Dog's indeed are man's best friend which is why there are so many on this list. There are few better ways to get to the horror movie pet hall of fame than saving your people from vampires. Nanook can smell vampires and has no problem taking them head on if it means protecting his family.
8. Frankenstein's Monster - Monster Squad
Calling a humanoid creature a pet may be pushing the boundaries of decency, but for all intents and purposes, the kids in Monster Squad treated Frankenstein's Monster like a pet. To be fair, the monster did act a little like a highly intelligent dog. Like many of the pets on this list, this one performs an act of heroism that saves the kids in the end. If you have never seen this gem on a film I would highly suggest you watch it at your earliest convenience.
9. Cindy and Sandy - Jaws 3
Cindy and Sandy are the only aquatic pets to grace this list. These two dolphins proved to be more than just amusement park attractions as they saved their owners butts from a man-eating shark on more than one occasion. Cindy and Sandy always seemed to show up at just the right time, and they were obviously well-loved by their trainer. Their willingness to take on a shark that swallowed a diver whole makes them worthy of this list.
10. El Blanco - Tremors 3
It may be unconventional to have a ten-ton worm as a pet, but the people of Perfection Valley do it to protect their lifestyle. Though the residents of Perfection have been known in the past to put down any Graboid that comes across their path but El Blanco's albinism prevents him from becoming even more terrifying Shriekers and then A** Blasters. Burt Gummer and the rest of the misfits in the valley choose to live with El Blanco as a pseudo pet rather than give up their lifestyles. Some people may question why anyone would want a pet that is always plotting to kill you, but those people probably don't own cats. El Blanco may not be the ideal pet, but he has bailed Perfection's people out of more than one jam.
I'm sure there are way more pets that I am spacing on, and I would love to hear about them. Two of my greatest enjoyments in life are pets and horror movies, so take pleasure in anytime the two intersect. With the exception of number ten, I would gladly own any of these wonderful horror movie pets especially if I ever find myself in a horror movie situation.