Cujo – USA, 1983

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‘Now there’s a new name for terror’

Cujo is a 1983 American horror feature film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It was directed by Lewis Teague (Cat’s EyeAlligator) from a screenplay by Don Carlos Dunaway and Lauren Currier.  It was produced by Daniel H. Blatt and Robert Singer. The Sunn Classic Pictures-TAFT Entertainment Pictures production stars Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro and Daniel Hugh Kelly.

Cujo will be released on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the UK in a Special Limited Two-Disc Edition as part of the Eureka Classics range on 29 April 2019. The release will feature a Limited Edition Hardbound Slipcase, with artwork designed by Graham Humphreys, a Limited Edition Collector’s Booklet and Bonus Blu-ray disc (first 4000 units only).

Plot:

The Trenton family have recently moved to Castle Rock, Maine, to escape the pressures of city life. When Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) and her son Ted (Danny Pintauro) break down in the middle of nowhere, they are attacked by the normally docile neighbourhood dog, Cujo. The huge St. Bernard has been transformed into a rabid animal after being bitten by a bat…

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Reviews:

Cujo is still worth a pat on the back for its thrilling last half-hour but it’s really too bad that the whole of the film wasn’t tight enough. More rabid dog attacks; less dumb moves and more likeable characters would have done the trick.” Arrow in the Head

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Cujo is one of the better adaptations of Stephen King stories.  It is probably the lack of supernatural that helps Cujo and has allowed it to hold-up better than some of his other movies.” J.P. Roscoe, Basement Rejects

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“This is a solid, well-made example of why early King adaptations were consistently entertaining.” Trevor la Pay, CHUD.com

CujoBlu-ray

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

” …if you compare Cujo to Pet Sematary, The Shawshank Redemption, or The Green Mile, there is a lot left to be desired in the heart of this movie. Again, with the pure selfishness of the characters, it can be difficult to find these characters genuine or to even empathize with their situations. Many viewers will be exacerbated by Donna’s lack of motherly instinct…” Steph Howard, Daily Dead

“Much of its effectiveness rests in director Lewis Teague’s gritty, claustrophobic direction during the extended Cujo siege. King’s personal choice to helm the film after seeing Alligator (how great is it that King is one of us?), Teague carries over the gnarled nastiness of that film to capture the harrowing nature of the Trentons’ encounter with the beast.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!

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“When Cujo attacks a few people as the rabies is setting in, they are people who have it coming, which does not result in making the dog to be the hound of hell it could have been. By the time he gets to Wallace and Pintauro, Cujo seems like an animal confused by how he is going mad rather than the malicious cold-blooded killer that the DVD cover suggests.” The Video Graveyard

Production:

John Carpenter was apparently asked to direct but expressed no interest. The original director was Peter Medak (The Changeling), however he left the project two days into filming, along with his director-of-photography Tony Richardson. They were replaced by Lewis Teague and Jan de Bont respectively.

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Main cast and characters:

  • Dee Wallace … Donna Trenton
  • Danny Pintauro … Tad Trenton
  • Daniel Hugh-Kelly … Vic Trenton
  • Christopher Stone … Steve Kemp
  • Ed Lauter … Joe Camber – Python; Magic; Satan’s Triangle
  • Kaiulani Lee … Charity Camber
  • Billy Jacoby … Brett Camber
  • Mills Watson … Gary Pervier
  • Jerry Hardin … Masen
  • Sandy Ward … George Bannerman

Technical credits:

93 minutes | 86 minutes (alternate) | Mono | DTS | 1.85: 1

Release:

Cujo was a modest box office success for Warner Brothers. The film was released August 12, 1983 in the United States, opening in second place that weekend. It grossed a total of $21,156,152 domestically, making it the fourth highest grossing horror film of 1983 behind Jaws 3-D, Psycho II, and The Twilight Zone movie.

Related:

Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell – USA, 1978

Dogs – USA, 1976

Rottweiler: The Dogs of Hell – USA, 1982

The Pack – Australia, 2015

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2 Comments on “Cujo – USA, 1983”

  1. I totally agree, David. Alligator is great fun. Cujo just doesn’t work for me. I’d sooner watch Teague’s Cat’s Eye again, given a choice! BTW, feel free to suggest any personal faves we haven’t covered yet…

  2. Honestly do not get the critical reassessment of this film. Thought it was bad then, think it’s bad now. Hard to believe this came from the same man who made Aligator. At least Dee Wallace brings it in her role.

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