17. Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Pet – Winsor McCay


SUMMARY: A man dreams his wife has adopted a strange new pet that grows bigger every time it is fed.

WHY IT’S HERE: McCay’s second Rarebit film of 1921, ‘The Pet’ is probably the least engaging of the three. Telling the story of a creature that grows from cute little animal to a city-crushing leviathan, ‘The Pet’ sometimes moves at too slow a pace for its own good (watch that first excrutiating limp towards the door by the titular pet at the beginning of the film). However, as the film goes on and the pet grows to an enormous size it becomes more interesting, finally playing like a precursor to ‘King Kong’ as planes swarm around the giant creature. McCay makes ‘The Pet’ more disconcerting by never turning the creature into a snarling beast but keeping it as an indeterminate, unassuming but destructive curiosity.


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