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The Pet (1921) (8/10)

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The Pet (1921)

The Pet (1921)

The titular creature in The Pet, on the other hand, is particularly repulsive. Another “Rarebit” strip in motion, the film begins with this weird, amorphous fantasy creature approaching a home and being taken under the wing, as it were, of the matriarch of the house. Her husband doesn’t like it, and he’s justified: the creature eats their cat in the most chilling moment of the short.

The pet just gets increasingly bigger until it’s taking on the entire city and, presumably, killing and devouring hundreds of people as it takes down entire buildings and swallows them whole. The film is a truly nightmarish animated vision brought to life in the atmosphere of the uncanny valley, and another example of McCay’s fixation on the oversized, a key influence, however indirectly, on King Kong and Godzilla and the kaiju films/franchises of that ilk.

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Written by Gustav Michalon

Gustav Michalon is a contributing writer of Toons Mag. He writes about cartoons and cartoonists.

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