Flashback: Siskel & Ebert’s Sneak Previews Dogs Of The Week (1978-1982)

When I first discovered Sneak Previews in 1980, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s Dogs Of The Week feature, introduced by Spot The Wonder Dog, quickly became my favorite part of the show.

DogOfTheWeekFinal

Recently, I discovered many of these early Sneak Previews episodes are, for the moment, anyway, available in their entirety over at IMDb, such as this episode from October 1979…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3438094/videoplayer/vi1803205401?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1

…in which two of my all-time favorites, 10 and Apocalypse Now, are reviewed along with Starting Over and When A Stranger Calls. The episode concludes with Dogs Of The Week City On Fire and The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula.

Curious to know which films made the duo’s roster of Dogs, I began jotting down a list of each episode’s selections, where they were available.

Most of these picks by the Sneak Previews hosts are understandable,  whether I enjoyed the films in question or not, but a few of their Dogs were a bit drastic.

Cited by Siskel under its alternate title The Creeper, Rituals is actually quite good, with memorable characters, a suspenseful plot, and solid direction. In terms of Deliverance knock-offs, Rituals is second on my list of favorites only to Southern Comfort (which both Siskel and Ebert liked a couple years later).

Siskel and Ebert despised drug humor, evident with their disdain for Up In Smoke. I’ve smoked pot exactly once in my life, during the last weekend of July 1988, and the experience was so unpleasant, I’ve had no desire to repeat it. That said, Up In Smoke‘s still one of my favorite Comedies, because its humor springs from the general behavior of the characters, not just when they’re getting stoned.

34582117_2255086197841182_1256165191188480000_o
“What you lookin’ at, man?”

Steven Spielberg once declared Piranha his favorite Jaws rip-off, but on October 6th, 1978, it made the Sneak Previews Dog roster (at 24:57 in the link below):

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3436136/videoplayer/vi3839802137?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1

One film in particular, an Ebert Dog pick from 1979, is now officially part of The Criterion Collection and deservedly so.

brood blu

I was amused to discover that my own DVD/Blu-ray collection contained 34 Dogs Of The Week, including both of 1978’s Dogs Of The Year (The Wild Geese and The Medusa Touch):

https://letterboxd.com/cheapthriller79/list/sneak-previews-dogs-of-the-week-that-i-own/

Here’s my compilation of the Sneak Previews Dogs Of The Week, in no discernible order…almost complete, but not quite…from the autumn of 1978 through the summer of 1982:

The Day After Halloween

Cheerleaders Wild Weekend (The Great American Girl Robbery, 1979)

C.H.O.M.P.S.

Patrick

Up From The Depths

Dirty Tricks

Earthbound

Sphinx

Cheaper To Keep Her

The Cauldron Of Death (Ricco, 1973)

“11”

The Immortal Bachelor

Mother’s Day

Alligator

If You Don’t Stop It, You’ll Go Blind

Terror

Grave Desires (The Vampires Night Orgy, 1973)

Guyana: Cult Of The Damned

The Bermuda Triangle

City On Fire

The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula

The Kinky Coaches And The Pom Pom Pussycats

A Hard Way To Die

Hollywood High, Part 2

Chu-Chu And The Philly Flash

Scavenger Hunt

The Magic Of Lassie

A Force Of One

Roller Boogie

Malicious

Dog Panel G

Arabian Adventure

The Stud

Nocturna

Wanda Nevada

The Fan

The Burning

In Praise Of Older Women

Ravagers

Disco Godfather

Avalanche Express

Schizoid

The Exterminator

Invincible Devil

New Year’s Evil

Don’t Answer The Phone

Last Rites

Piranha

Up In Smoke

The Godsend

Silent Scream

Midnight Madness

The Wilderness Family, Part 2

Blood Beach

Super Power

Visiting Hours

Fantasies

Hell Night

Fear No Evil

Ms. 45

Lovers And Liars

Dog Panel A

Haunts

The Seven Grand Masters

Adios Amigo

Private Lessons

Super Fuzz

Vice Squad

Jaws Of The Dragon

The Children

Jack The Ripper

The Creeper (Rituals, 1977)

Nightmare County

Madman

Great White

Mark Of The Witch

Strange Behavior

The Beast Within (“a very bad dog of the week”)

Blonde Ambition

The Grim Reaper

Maniac (Siskel lasted only 30 minutes before walking out)

Beyond Evil

Bare Knuckles

It Came Without Warning

Mystagogue Superman

The Swinging Wife

Final Exam

The Hand

The Beach Girls

The Senior Switch

Fighting Back

Wrong Is Right

Dog Panel C

Humongous

Vanessa

Seed Of Terror (Grave Of The Vampire, 1974)

Frankenstein Island

Satan’s Playthings (Assault, 1970)

The Mountain Men

He Knows You’re Alone

Caligula

First Family

Mountain Family Robinson

The Gong Show Movie

Dragon On Fire

Going Ape!

Squeeze Play

Spaced Out

Happy Birthday To Me

Polyester

Dead & Buried

Screamers (Isle Of The Fishmen, 1979)

Dirt

Demonoid

Terror House (Terror At Red Wolf Inn, 1972)

Firecracker

Killer Fish

The Tongfather

Game Of Death

Summer Camp

The Bod Squad

Count Dracula And His Vampire Bride (The Satanic Rites Of Dracula, 1973)

Slithis

Dog Panel D

The Devil’s Rain

Beyond And Back

The Late Great Planet Earth

Secrets

The Stranger And The Gunfighter

Enter The Ninja

Battle Beyond The Stars

Vengeance Of The Zombies (1973)

Dogs

Message From Space

The Medusa Touch (Ebert’s 1978 Dog Of The Year)

The Wild Geese (Siskel’s 1978 Dog Of The Year)

Debbie Does Dallas

Wonder Women

Kung Fu Master

Last Fist Of Fury

Love At First Bite

In Search Of Dracula

Beyond The Door 2 (Shock, 1977)

Circle Of Iron

Firepower

Cannibal Girls

Get Mean

The Great Bank Hoax

The Brood

The Passage

Sunnyside

The Dark

The Fifth Floor

When Time Ran Out

Dog Panel E

Death Ship

Night Games

Sharon’s Baby (The Devil Within Her, 1975)

Manson

At The Earth’s Core

Ape

Mahogany

Lisztomania

Land Of The Minotaur

The Last Challenge Of The Dragon

Dr. Butcher, M.D.

The Boogens

The Dorm That Dripped Blood

Paradise (1982)

Bloody Friday (The Single Girls, 1974)

Spree (Survival Run, 1979)

Dog Panel F

Last Rites, aka Dracula’s Last Rites, is currently available on Amazon Prime. I’d never heard of this movie before it was mentioned on Sneak Previews, so I thought I’d check it out a couple nights ago, since each critic cited the film as a Dog Of The Week on different episodes. How bad could it be?

Horrible. One of the most montonous excuses for a vampire film I’ve ever endured.

 

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