Since 2012, the Clifford the Big Red Dog live action adaptation has been languishing in production hell. At first, it was in development at Universal Pictures with the plan being to create a hybrid animation film starring a CGI Clifford. In 2013, this version of the film was reportedly cancelled and the idea stagnated for several years. Sadly, the rights were eventually picked up by Paramount Pictures and in the film’s newest trailer we can see why this was a very bad idea, actually.
Clifford’s story has always been mildly horrifying, even when it took the form of a delightful children’s book. The basic premise was Clifford’s owner Emily loved him so much, he grew very, very large. Much too large for a regular house and a regular little girl. In the books, he required a pool to take a bath. He frightened lions at the zoo. He even played with actual cars.
Clifford is a monster dog, and in any context other than a children’s book he’s absolutely horrifying. If you saw Clifford bounding down the street, you would absolutely pass out from sheer terror. No dog should be so large.
If you’re in the mood for being absolutely terrified then by all means, go see the new Clifford the Big Red Dog adaptation hitting theatres in 2021. For the rest of us (and for the sake of our collective sanity), it’s best to steer clear.
While the trailer shows off a dog that’s big and red as the name suggests, the similarities between the movie and the books stops there. Rather than a goofy, loveable, abnormally-sized dog, Clifford‘s first trailer reveals a hideous CGI entity born of man’s hubris. His coat is stained a shade of red that resembles dried blood. He towers over the other dogs in the teaser with a hungry look on his face.
You may doubt it, but the Clifford in the new live action movie is absolutely capable of murder. What do you feed a dog of that size in a real life situation? Will you go bankrupt buying pet food to satisfy him, or start to look for other sources of sustenance? What if he tries to sit on you? Or swat you? One errant paw swing and you’d be singing with the angels.
There’s another question yet to be explored in the Clifford mythos: if Clifford has been loved so much he’s grown big because of it, does Emily Elizabeth have a mutant power? Can she make other things large? Could she make a ginormous man for Clifford to play with? I feel sick thinking of the possibilities.
Clifford the Big Red Dog should never exist in live action.
In a kids book, sure. A large dog is cute. In live action, he’s an icon of pure horror. Pennywise has had his time in the sun. It’s Clifford’s turn now.
The teaser for the film is only 2o seconds long, but it’s the greatest horror short that’s ever been written. The pan up to Clifford’s girth will become the stuff of legends.
You can check it out below, if you dare:
Just don’t stare into his eyes too deeply. Eye contact can be threatening for predators.
Clifford the Big Red Dog opens in Australian cinemas on December 9, 2021.