This series focuses on side characters that catch my eye despite not having much impact on the plot or much screen time. To borrow an analogy I heard from Chuck Barkley, these are the bus riders and not the bus drivers. Spoilers abound!
Let’s kick this off with Grandpa the dog in the (fairly) recent Evil Dead remake that I just had a chance to watch. See PODCAST for more of my thoughts on the movie as a whole, but you will notice that we don’t really talk about this dog at all. That’s mainly because he is on the screen for all of 5 minutes and doesn’t have a single speaking line. In the context of the movie, Grandpa’s sole purpose is to be brutally murdered hammer bros style by the pro/antagonist Mia who was possessed by some ghoulies at the time of said murder. Grandpa’s murder gives Mia’s brother David the courage to bust down the bathroom door as his sister takes a shower and risk seeing her goodies. If not for the murder of this pooch, David would not have disrupted Mia’s boiling shower, and she probably would have died which would have stalled the plot. It was an interesting choice by the writers of the remake since there are no dogs or doglike animals in any of the previous Evil Deads. Oddly enough, the remake also features some BBQ’d cats so the writers must have noticed the lack of cute dead pets in the originals and sought to right that wrong.
Maybe it’s my fault for expecting so much from the dog but the dang thing’s name is Grandpa. What a great name for a dog. I found myself way more fascinated in the background of his naming than I was in the first 30 minutes of the film. Did they name a puppy Grandpa? Because that’s pretty odd. Or maybe the dog has reared many descendants and it’s name developed naturally from something dumb like Rover to something pretty cool like Daddy to something totally boss like Grandpa. Or maybe in one of her many benders, Mia thought the dog was housing the spirit of her mother’s father and the name stuck as a goof on her drugged out stupidity. If that’s the case that is pretty messed up for two reasons.
- It’s mean of her brother to force Mia to remember one of the more harrowing moments of her life.
- More importantly, it’s mean to change the name of a dog in it’s advanced age. Don’t confuse the poor guy!
Based on the stilted dialogue to open the movie (Thanks Diablo Cody!) I half expected the characters to explain in detail the reasoning behind a dog named Grandpa. Thankfully it was left unsaid so I could waste time thinking and writing about it. Also after the dog is discovered in its proper fucked state, I fully expected it to pull a wicked jump scare and attack the protog as a possessed/zombie poochie or zompoochie. I thought it would be fun for the first introduction of a possessed creature attacking a normie to be between a boy and his dog for maximum emotional impact. At that point you may be getting into Resident Evil territory so maybe it’s best that the professional writers just let the possessed dog lie. In the end, we don’t see Grandpa again after David discovers his corpse in the hole below the shed. Maybe David buried him out back with a moving ceremony for his fallen friend or maybe he just stuffed him in the trashcan with the dead cats. Who knows? Not me because they didn’t have the decency to show the audience but that only expands the mystery of the #1 Grandpa.
Update: I recently watched the excellent High Maintenance on HBO and there is an episode that features a dog named Grandpa. So I guess the concept of naming a dog after the father of your father or mother is not as unique as I thought. Definitely not unique enough to warrant 600 words written instead of doing something productive like open a soap kitchen or whatever. Finding this out made me a little sad but then I found a shitty tumblr review of Evil Dead that wastes a few paragraphs on the dog and grandpas in general so I don’t feel as bad anymore