Genre Gut Punches: “The Dog Monologue” in FROZEN

It’s impossible to count the amount of characters that have died on screen over the course of cinematic history.  I’ve seen people hacked to bits, dismembered, set on fire, crushed, stabbed, choked, speared, combusted, drowned, hanged, and suffered in hundreds of other ways, but I seldom stop to think about what the death means for those that knew the deceased.  I’ve unfortunately had to deal with a lot of death in my life, and it never, ever gets any easier.  Horror movies showcase a lot of death, but never really talks about the butterfly effect of what these deaths mean to the world around these characters.  What about the parents of these teens Jason Voorhees hacks to bits?  How about the patients of these nurses being killed off one by one? What does this mean for the finances of the people who invested with Paul Allen now that Patrick Bateman has rendered him no more?  Death impacts the lives of a lot of people, but horror movies take away that emotional baggage.  We view death as an action as commonplace as a handshake in the world of horror, never taking the time to stop and think about the ramifications of their passing.  However, in the few instances where the responses to victim deaths are brought to the forefront (with the exception of FINAL DESTINATION films) we realize just how sad death can be for all of us.

frozen-emma-bell-frostbiteAdam Green’s FROZEN takes the fear of being stranded to new heights by keeping friends Dan, Lynch, and Parker atop a ski lift in the middle of winter for a potential five days.  For those that have never experienced a brutal winter, it’s really hard to describe how ungodly painful the cold can be.  When I was seven years old, I went sledding for a birthday party with a group of friends in my hometown (They call Chicago winters “Chibera” for a reason) in the middle of the night.  When everyone was heading back home for cake and snacks, I decided to go on one last run down the hill by myself.  As I made my way down the hill, I veered in a different direction for whatever reason and found myself sliding across a creek and into the woods.  My sled got caught under a log and I found myself pinned into a snowbank between a log and a frozen creek.  I screamed for help but with a party of seven-year-olds jacked on sugar, none of the adults could hear me nor did they realize I was missing from the group.  I was in the snow for about an hour before an adult had found me, and I still rank it as one of the most horrifying experiences of my life.  My skin was chapped, I couldn’t stop shaking, and I had to see a doctor to make sure I wasn’t suffering from hypothermia. Simply put, the deaths that these three would experience in FROZEN is something I wouldn’t wish on my enemies.

There’s a big difference between feeling scared in your home from a potential slasher, and knowing you’re going to die.  When you’re sitting in a ski lift with no one around but blood hungry wolves, you start to become aware of the inevitable.  Parker and Lynch have a discussion about the “worst ways to die” which is a great way to keep your mind off freezing to death, but it’s Parker’s realization of what her death means to those around her where my heart gets ripped out of my chest.  When we die, we leave behind absolutely everything we have.  In the wake of our passing, we must realize that forever alone will be our material possessions, our loved ones, our friends…and our pets.  Considering we’re a society that will walk out of a theater if a dog dies before we’ll riot over a man getting eaten by wolves, it’s safe to say that we’re entirely consumed with our furry friends. I’ll admit it, I totally am. I love my Napoleon complex having dog and wouldn’t change him for the world.  The fact of the matter is, pets are a major part of our lives and the “dog monologue” from Frozen is one of the most brilliantly written (and performed) monologues addressing that issue. This monologue completely nails what would happen to a dog had the owner died somewhere out of the house, and I become immediately depressed every time I hear it.  I honestly believe this to be one of the most heart wrenching moments in a horror film since the “Why I Hate Christmas” speech from GREMLINS.

Do yourself a favor, go take your dog for a walk and give it a treat.

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