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Step Three: GET WEIRD!
Now there's a new name for terror...
A friendly St. Bernard named "Cujo" contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town.
A horror film that unfolds against the meltdown of a young family, Lewis Teague's "Cujo" spends more of its time setting up its domestic drama than presenting its horror elements. When those elements hit, however, they are intense, harrowing, and relentless.
"Cujo" is probably best known as the Stephen King adaptation about the rabid St. Bernard that terrorizes a mother and son trapped in their vehicle. This description is adequate but does not do the film's narrative justice. "Cujo" begins by alternating between the story of a pet dog, bitten by a bat and breaking down thanks to a rabies infection, and a family breaking down thanks to job stresses and infidelity. The film does a solid job of setting…
I think Dee Wallace's performance is what inevitably draws me back to Cujo.
Inherently feminine, with a small frame and a weak, flutey voice, she starts off as a shallow adulteress whose inner strength emerges in a crisis; the kind of strength that's retiring, downhearted and quietly resentful.
Based on Stephen King's bestseller (he says he was so drunk he can't remember writing it), this movie debases itself by establishing its family in colourless scenes that recall TV movies circa 1980. Dee Wallace is cheating on her prim-and-proper husband with a bearded 'rebel'. She decides to end it and save her marriage, so he ransacks their house.
The movie insists on these gossipy scenes, believing an audience watching a young…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Geoff T's Hoop-Tober 3.0 Challenge
Killer Dog Double Bill #2
When listing movies about killer dogs, it's always guaranteed Cujo will be one of the first to be mentioned. Set in a rural town, this Stephen King adaptation focuses on a St. Bernard dog that develops a rather nasty case of rabies after being bitten on the nose by a bat, and slowly transforms from a friendly enough family pet into a savage mutt that goes around mauling the population.
Two families are focused on, primary the Trentons (Donna, Vic and son Tad) as well as the Cambers who Cujo belongs to. It isn't until the later on when Cujo starts attacking, after Donna and Tad make an…
Film 7 in my Re-watch Wednesday Project.
Cujo is the first movie I ever saw in theaters (at least as far as I can remember). I saw it with my mom (a life long horror fan) in 1983 the year it was released. I would have been 6 or 7 years old. I always remembered liking it, and gave it credit for being one of the films that turned me into a horror fan just like my mother. It was probably a little much for a kid my age but hey I turned out alright. For the most part anyway.
Cujo is a friendly St. Bernard until he contracts rabies from a bat and reigns terror on an unexpected mother…
I appreciate the filmmakers being able to turn St. Bernard into a terrifying creature. Besides it's size it's probably the least scary breed of dog, I mean the things have be depicted for centuries as dogs that bring you liquor in a keg around their necks. That's not scary, that sounds like the greatest dog ever. I mean the only other depiction of these things is "Beethoven" and although I've never seen that I think he's probably a lovable goofball.
Cujo is less scary now that we all have cell phones and a call for help is near by, and that rabies is pretty much eradicated.
The real scares have nothing to do with the dog. How about a breakfast cereal that that makes children piss, shit and vomit blood red? That could be a Stephen King novel by itself. How about the wife cheating on the husband with a homeless then acting like nothing happened? That's true terror.
6 countries (USA)(2/6)☐
5 decades (1983)(3/5)☐
3 crazy animal movies (3/3)☑
1 Stephen King adaptation (1/1)☑
Total Movie Challenge (5/32)☐
And here we have our last expedition through the ferocious wildlife of my Hoop-Tober 3.0!
And in the bloody battle between the zombified Beavers, the twirled Sharks and a rabid St. Bernard, the puppy gets the best bites.
The 80's flair is recognizable throughout the whole running time.
Bad Hair styling, unimpressive music and a wonderful world starting to crumble, all typical elements you come and (not) love about cheap american horror movies of the time.
But the car incarceration was pretty terrifying.
That's what made Man's best friend the winner!
Ahh, the 80's: The rising of Stephen King adaptations, not always welcome, but certainly not constantly bad!
Yep, that's one scary dog!
So apparently in the 80s if you were a distant mother who cheated on her husband, instead of divorce, karma would just throw you into a dead car with a rabid dog. Because if severe mental trauma won't fix your marriage, what will?
Structurally, this movie is so pathetically frail. Half of the runtime is spent building to the main event, but practically nothing happens until she and her son get stuck in the car.
So the woman's cheating on her husband. Did we really need 45 minutes to explain that? And did we also need the sidequest with the hillbilly mechanic and his idiot friend? What do they add to the story other than to reinforce the concept that…
I suppose if you had a built-in fear of dogs, this would be just about unbearable once it gets going. If you have a built-in love of dogs, all you can see are a few different St. Bernards (who look distractingly distinctive, given that they're all playing the same character) who are such happy doggies to be playing with their human friends on set. The endless marital drama exposition also hurts, by backloading everything remotely interesting so deep into the film that it's barely possible to care once the dog starts attack our nominal heroes.
The erosion of a family unit leaves them vulnerable to the unstable world beyond - embodied by a sad, rabid dog, a victim himself. Lean, intense and weirdly poignant, this is a real dark horse amongst King adaptations.
The movie is pretty effective in creating a sense of hopelessness. Not one of King's best adaptations, but definitely not one of the worst.
"Fuck you, dog"
Yes, lets make the most lovable dog in the world the "monster" in the film and make zero effort to subvert that fact.
Watched as part of the Hooptober season. Check out the entire season here
It's a shame Stephen King doesn't remember writing any of this book, being in a drug-induced haze, considering it's one of his most personal and multi-layered stories. Not only is it about a friendly St. Bernard becoming a rabid monster, but it's a cautionary tale about familial bonds and how quickly they can be ripped apart. The director expertly uses dizzying camera techniques and suffocating scenery to communicate the protagonists' desperation. And the dirty, slobbery dog playing Cujo deserves all the canine Oscars.
Flawed, sometimes, but really good at other times. Some bits were super tense, especially for a jaded old horror fan like me.
Well directed. Tense. Difficult to blame the mutt.
Step One: Go to www.random.org.
a list that is trying to contain every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the…