Cujo (1983)

Description   [from Freebase]

Cujo is a 1983 American horror/thriller film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Cujo was directed by Lewis Teague from a screenplay by Don Carlos Dunaway and Lauren Currier. The film was #58 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) is a frustrated housewife whose life is in turmoil after her husband Vic learns about her having an affair. Brett Camber (Billy Jacoby) is a young boy and a son of a mechanic, Joe, (Ed Lauter) whose only companion is a St. Bernard named "Cujo." Cujo is bitten by a bat with rabies and his behavior begins to change. While the dog begins to succumb to the disease, Brett and his mother leave for Connecticut to visit his mother's sister. When Donna and her young son, Tad (Danny Pintauro), drive out to the home where Cujo and the Cambers live, the gentle Cujo has been driven insane by rabies and has killed Joe and the Cambers' neighbor. Making matters worse, their car's alternator dies at the Cambers' house. Donna and Tad are trapped inside while the massive dog waits outside, attacking repeatedly, all while Vic is out of town on a business trip.


Cujo tells the now-often-imitated story of a vicious animal/monster and a couple of people trapped by it. In this case, the animal is a once-super-happy St. Bernard bitten by a rabid bat, and the people are mom Donna (Dee Wallace) and her son Tad (Danny Pintauro).

There’s plenty going on before that happens: Mom turns out to be having an affair despite her boyish looks, and Dad (Daniel Hugh Kelly) leaves on business for 10 days as part of an attempt to fix a marketing campaign for a cereal that’s making kids sick. That’s an awful lot of character development for a movie about a rabid dog, but none of it will matter the minute Cujo takes his first big snack by eating some dude’s face. This movie is all about Donna and Tad, trapped in their crappy Pinto in the middle of nowhere, while a vicious dog tries to wiggle into the car to eat their faces off, too.

The suspenseful film is quite memorable, and there’s a legacy here, of course. Since the movie’s appearance, the name “Cujo” can no longer be used for any animal unless you want people crossing to the other side of the street when they see you. It’s a little like the name Damien for kids.

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