TIFU by watching a scary movie with my dog
I like scary movies. My dog, apparently, does not.
Now, some might say my dog was responding to my reaction to the film and that dogs don’t actually watch television. Nuh-uh. That’s nonsense. I have a strong stomach for horror, and if not for Neville’s freakout post-movie, I probably would’ve forgotten the flick altogether.
He definitely watched it.
Pooka Lives! is the story of a child’s stuffed animal that randomly repeats what it hears — sometimes with a nice voice, sometimes not. The toy gained a cult following, then a few thirty-somethings decided to mess around and give it a creepypasta backstory. Next thing you know, the internet gave Pooka a life of its own.
If you’re not familiar with the Pooka film series, I don’t blame you. It’s part of the Hulu-exclusive holiday-themed horror series, Into the Dark. Pooka Lives! is the second Pooka-themed Christmas movie and to call it a B-movie would be generous. But that’s not to say it isn’t good. It’s a lot of fun if you like monster slashers, evil dolls, and kind of hate Reddit. It’s very funny, has a few great lines, and inexplicably casts Wil Wheaton.
And it scares dogs.
Maybe it was just because it was a horror movie. There’s blood, screaming, and an obvious villain. Spooky!
Or maybe it’s because Pooka looks like some kind of furry animal with its long sharp fingers/claws, loping gait, and pointy ears. It’s unsettling, that’s true.
Either way, it traumatized my wiener dog.
Honestly, I didn’t even know he was watching! I was too busy trying to keep my kids upstairs, assuming they’d be the ones most terrified. They were fine, by the way, and occupied themselves very nicely.
But the dog was a wildcard. I guess he peeked between his little puppy fingers.
Now, in my house, dogs sleep downstairs, people sleep upstairs. That’s the rule. Sorry, people who sleep with their dogs, this one is a deal-breaker. He’s gassy and frankly, there’s a bit of a love triangle between me, my husband, and the dog. Neville gets extremely jealous and starts barking if we sit together or even just talk to each other too long. This weird dog would do anything to cut me out of the picture and I can’t imagine what horrible things he would do to oust me if he slept upstairs. It’s weird.
So. No dogs in the bed.
But after movie night, Neville tried to make a case for an exception.
Immediately, he whined when we left the room, snuck up the stairs, and even tried to slink into the bed without us noticing. We applauded his efforts, but still sent him back downstairs. We made three or four trips down the stairs and he still cried.
This was out of character; he’s usually a Very Good Dog who knows which parts of the house are his, what toys he is/isn’t allowed to chomp, etc.
But this movie freaked. him. out.
After a few hours of fruitlessly telling him to sleep on the couch (see? I’m not completely evil) my husband sat downstairs and tucked the shivering dog into his favorite stinky blanket. He even found some puppy brain bleach on television.
Did you know frolicking puppy videos cancel out slasher monster movies? Apparently they do, because after almost an hour of cleanser vids, Neville finally fell asleep on the couch.
And there he stayed for the rest of the night. Phew!
We thought that’d be the end of it, but no.
It still took a few more weeks of cajoling, late-night puppy videos, and treats to convince him Pooka wasn’t going to eat him. It was funny at first, but after awhile it got kind of ridiculous. Who even knew dogs had such a vivid memory?
We know now.
And we definitely haven’t watched any horror movies in the living room since that fateful night.
Moral of the story? Do something about that weird husband-wife-dog love triangle so everyone can huddle under the covers together.
Or maybe just go to the theaters for a horror movie fix.
Sarah Czarnecki is a freelance writer who focuses on pets, travel, and oddities while occasionally dipping a toe into fiction. Learn more about who she is and why she writes at her eponymous website.