The Plague Dogs
Release: December 17, 1983
Release: December 17, 1983

Plague Dogs is a 1982 animated film based on the 1977 novel by Richard Adams. The film was written for screen, directed and produced by Martin Rosen, who also directed Watership Down, the film version of another novel by Adams. The film's story is centered on two dogs named Rowf and Snitter, who escape from a research laboratory in Great Britain. In the process of telling the story, the film highlights the cruelty of performing vivisection and animal research for its own sake (though Martin Rosen said that this was not an anti-vivisection film, but an adventure), an idea that was only recently coming to public attention during the 1960s and 1970s. The gospel-esque theme song, Time and Tide, was composed and sung by Alan Price. The original VHS release of the full theatrical cut of the film, a full 103 minutes, was released by Thorn Productions in 1982. Only around 8,000 copies of this version were made. In 1983, Embassy Pictures ordered cuts to be made to the film. This shortened cut, running at only 86 minutes, was premiered in 1983. In 1984, it was given a limited release across the United States. This cut was released by Charter Productions. Strangely, the box states that the film is 99 minutes long, when it actually only runs for 86 minutes. In 2002, Anchor Bay Entertainment released a Region 2 DVD version of the film, but it contained the US cut. Soon afterwards, budget label Hollywood DVD released a Region 2 disc which also contained the US cut. This DVD has been out of print since November, 2005. In 2004, a DVD version of the film was released by Trinity Home Entertainment. Unable to procure the full 103 minute cut, they settled with using the truncated US version. In 2005, Big Sky Media released the full theatrical cut of the film on DVD (they also released the full theatrical cut of Watership Down). This release is Region 4 and is limited to Australia only. This is probably the only full cut of the film in existence aside from the rare Thorn VHS and the original master. The song "Testure" by Industrial music band Skinny Puppy uses multiple samples from the film and the lyrics are also inspired by it.

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