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Cujo is a 1983 American psychological horror thriller film based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. It was directed by Lewis Teague, and written by Don Carlos Dunaway and Lauren Currier. The plot revolves around a rabid St. Bernard dog trapping a mother and her child inside their vehicle and trying to attack them from the outside, and stars Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh-Kelly, Danny Pintauro.
Despite the film receiving mixed reviews and being a modest success during its theatrical release, the film has gathered a major cult following in the years since its release. A remake has been announced in 2015 and is currently in production.
Cujo, a friendly and easygoing St. Bernard, chases a wild rabbit and inserts his head into a cave, where a rabid bat bites his nose. Meanwhile, the Trenton family — advertising executive Vic (Daniel Hugh-Kelly), housewife Donna (Dee Wallace) and their sensitive young son Tad (Danny Pintauro) — take their car to the rural home of abusive mechanic Joe Camber (Ed Lauter) for some repairs, where they meet Cujo, who is the Camber family's pet.
Donna notices Cujo's bitten nose but thinks little of it. Later, Vic and Donna's marriage is tested when Vic learns that Donna is having an affair with her ex-boyfriend from high school, Steve Kemp (Christopher Stone), while Vic's advertising for a cereal commercial is failing. Charity (Kaiulani Lee) and Brett (Billy Jacoby), Joe's wife and son leave the house for a week to visit Charity's sister Holly. When the bite infection drives Cujo mad, he kills their alcoholic neighbor, Gary Pervier (Mills Watson), and its owner Joe (who is attacked before he can call the authorities).
Vic goes out of town on a business trip, as Donna and Tad return to the Camber's house for more car repairs. Cujo attacks them, and are forced to take shelter in their Ford Pinto. Donna tries to drive home, but the car's alternator dies and the two are trapped inside. The hot sun makes conditions nearly unbearable, and Donna realizes that she must do something before they both die from heatstroke or dehydration. However, attempts at escape are foiled by Cujo repeatedly attacking the car and breaking a window in the process. Vic returns home to rekindle his marriage, only to find Donna and Tad missing and his house vandalized by Kemp. He suspects the possessive Kemp of kidnapping, but the police realize his wife and son might be at the Camber's house.
The local sheriff, George Bannerman (Sandy Ward), arrives at the mechanics house and has a brief standoff; before he can draw his gun, Cujo kills him, knocking him off the catwalk in the barn and mauling him to death. Later, Donna takes advantage of a momentary distraction and hits Cujo with a baseball bat until it breaks, leaving only a jagged handle. Cujo jumps at her and is impaled in the stomach by the broken bat. Donna takes the sheriff's gun and retrieves Tad, who is dehydrated and overheated. As Donna revives Tad inside the kitchen, Cujo, now recovered, breaks through the kitchen window and tries to attack Donna. However, Donna shoots Cujo dead, before Vic arrives and reunites with his family.
- Dee Wallace as Donna Trenton
- Danny Pintauro as Tad Trenton
- Daniel Hugh-Kelly as Vic Trenton
- Christopher Stone as Steve Kemp
- Ed Lauter as Joe Camber
- Kaiulani Lee as Charity Camber
- Billy Jacoby as Brett Camber
- Mills Watson as Gary Pervier
- Jerry Hardin as Masen
- Sandy Ward as George Bannerman
- Frank Welker as Cujo
The original director was Peter Medak, who left the project two days into filming, along with his DOP Tony Richardson. They were replaced by Lewis Teague and Jan de Bont respectively.
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.
Author and film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film three out of a possible four stars, calling it "genuinely frightening" also writing, "Builds slowly but surely to [its] terrifying (but not gory) climax."
In 2015, Sunn Classic Pictures announced they would develop a remake titled C.U.J.O., which stands for “Canine Unit Joint Operations”.
- "Cujo - Cast & Crew".. AllRovi. Retrieved on 2012-03-06.
- "'Cujo' Remake Goes Into Production This Year".. Best Horror Movies.com. Retrieved on 2016-06-06.
- Mick Garris on Cujo at Trailers from Hell
- "Weekend Box Office August 12-14, 1983".. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2011-11-07.
- "Cujo (1983)".. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2011-11-07.
- "Cujo (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 9 December 2016.
- Leonard Maltin's 2014 Movie Guide. Penguin Press, page 308. ISBN 978-0-451-41810-4.
- "Stephen King’s ‘Cujo’ Remake Title Gets Rabies: ‘C.U.J.O.’".. Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved on 2015-07-07.
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