I was house-sitting for my neighbors and couldn’t help myself when I saw an Alien³ DVD sitting on their shelf. I put it on and chose to play a theatrical version with cast and crew commentary. The Xenomorph, a great idea with the prisoner-monks, and interesting background regarding the eclipse of analogue visual effects by the flat digital tech that soon overrun the place make this a good movie.
But then there’s the dog. If you haven’t seen the movie, there’s a scene in it where a Rottweiler accompanying the monks in the prison is found with wounds across his face and bleeding by one of the other characters. He would soon be ripped apart by an alien host already developing in his gut. I get how well this thing fits into the story. But, as usual, there’s a story behind the story.
The commentary features a revealing bit as to the Rottweiler’s forced participation in the scene (I don’t know who says what here, exactly):
…and this stuff with the dog replaced the ox scene, where originally the creature was supposed to come out of the body of an ox. We had to go to the vet and shave this Rottweiler. Shave those grooves into his face. Stuck a tube down his throat and yanked his tongue out and shaved it.
-In a very humane way… (facetious tone)
-Shaved his tongue? That’s what it sounds like you said… sounds like it.
-That was a hairy-tongued Rottweiler.
-You’d never get away with that in this country.
“This country” probably denotes Britain, known in animal rights to have higher welfare standards than the US for the animals used and abused for human purposes. It’s pathetic at best, though, to speak of welfare when slaughterhouses and labs and zoos, the mainstay of unfreedom and consequent suffering, are still in operation.
In the movie, of course, we see the dog die first–a buildup for the “more important” deaths to come. Remember how black people usually die first as well? Well, this is an example of interspecies racism of the same sort. Dog people are first in line to go. Does one still go to the vet to yank the dog’s tongue out and shave it?