Cujo (1983)

DailyView: Day 99, Movie 167

Stephen King movies tend to be hit or miss for me. Today’s DailyView will put that to the test as I watch the killer dog movie, Cujo.

When I started this movie, I, of course, knew that Cujo was a large killer dog, but I was not aware of how it came about to be. Most Stephen King movies have some element of supernatural to them, but I was surprised to find out that Cujo was not a magical beast, but he was only a rabid dog. Of course, I say ‘only’ but it does seem to be enough. Now, clearly the dog is exaggerated some in order to be the threat that he was.

In the movie, Dee Wallace played Donna, who was married to McCormick from Hardcastle and McCormick, Daniel Hugh Kelly and they were the parents to Angela’s little son Jonathan on Who’s the Boss, Danny Pintauro. You can see how my mind works during movies with faces that I recognize (In the movie, Kelly played Vic and Pintauro played Tad). Donna and Tad wound up trapped inside her broken down car, stalked by the blood soaked St. Bernard that had already killed several people.

I was thoroughly enthralled with Cujo. I found myself yelling at the screen and trying to figure out ways for Donna and Tad to get out of the scrape that they found themselves in, and, honestly, I was not sure what I would have done either. There were some absolute steps I would have taken that would have helped the situation including SPOILER when after stabbing the dog and getting her hands on the police officer’s gun, I would have immediately plugged that unconscious dog with a bunch of bullets right to the head. You just knew that dog was coming back at the end. END OF SPOILER.

The secondary story was compelling too as the relationship between Donna and Vic was tested with Donna’s affair with the totally unlikable Steve Kemp (Christopher Stone). If anybody should have become dog food, it was this guy. Although it felt like a tacked on plot point to fill out the time, I found the plot effective and it was important to why Donna and Tad wound up stuck in that car hiding from Cujo.

Although not much of a horror movie, the thriller aspect is certainly here. Cujo is tense and exciting and you feel the claustrophobic atmosphere that those two poor characters have to endure. I would absolutely put this into the category of positive King adaptations.

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