Man's Best Friend is a 1993 horror film written and directed by John Lafia (Child's Play 2).
Television reporter Lori Tanner (Ally Sheedy) has just broken into a research facility and inadvertently lets loose a big, genetically altered dog named Max created by a Mad Scientist, Dr. Jarret (Lance Henriksen). Though docile around Lori, the dog is in danger of going through a psychotic break without the drugs needed to keep him emotionally stable, and exhibits loads of abilities that make him a more efficient killer. This is very bad news for the denizens of Lori's neighborhood.
This film contains examples of:
- Asshole Victim: Nearly everyone who meets their end at the teeth of Max is an unscrupulous prick.
- Black Comedy Rape: Max courting and eventually cornering the Collie owned by Lori's neighbor is played out this way, complete with silly music.
- Chameleon Camouflage: One of Max's many abilities.
- Covers Always Lie: The home video cover has a Robot Dog, but Max is only a genetically modified dog, not a cyborg.
- Faux Affably Evil: Dr. Jarret.
- Good Is Dumb: Maybe it wasn't a good idea to let loose the potentially dangerous lab animal.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Max takes a blowtorch to the face, resulting in a nasty-looking red mark.
- Improbable Infant Survival: Played straight. At first, Max is quite docile and friendly with Lori's young neighbor, Rudy, and allows Rudy and his friend Chet to take him for a walk. Even after he's gone berserk, rather than seriously injuring or killing Rudy, Max only tosses him aside when Rudy tries hitting him with a baseball bat. Earlier still, Max also goes after the paperboy who hit him with a paper, but does no more than toss him off his bike, ruin one of the bike's tires, and scare the crap out of him.
- Mood Whiplash: There are plenty of moments where the movie can't decide if it's a horror movie or a Beethoven-style comedy.
- Sequel Hook: Max impregnated his collie neighbor before getting blown into the next world and she has a litter of puppies, one of whom looks an awful lot like Max.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: In line with the Mood Whiplash example, occasionally lighthearted comedy music plays during scenes it shouldn't be playing during (like when Max makes evil eyes at Lori's boyfriend, or the police discover the mailman's corpse).
- Swallowed Whole: Max chases the mean neighborhood cat into a tree, climbs after it, and swallows it.
- Tragic Monster: Given what Max has gone through, no wonder he ended up the way he did.
- Urine Trouble: Max has acid pee.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: While Dr. Jarret's experiments are questionable, he only created the ultimate Angry Guard Dog because his wife and child were killed and kept him under control with special drugs... which were cut as the Designated Heroine took Max from the lab, turning him into a killer machine.
- Yandere: Max gets really jealous of anyone who tries to court Lori.