CUJO (1983) Reviews and overview

 

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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 with over 7 hours of extra content, as part of the Eureka Classics range, on 29 April 2019.

Special Limited Edition [4000 units]:

  • Hardbound Slipcase, featuring newly commissioned artwork by iconic British illustrator Graham Humphreys
  • Reversible sleeve featuring artwork by Justin Osbourn and original poster artwork
  • Plus, a limited edition 60 page Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Lee Gambin, author Scott Harrison, and Craig Ian Mann; illustrated with archival imagery from the film’s production.

Disc One:

  • 1080p presentation of the film, on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the UK
  • Uncompressed LPCM mono soundtrack
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • New and exclusive feature length audio commentary by Lee Gambin, author of Nope, Nothing Wrong
  • Here: The Making of Cujo
  • New interview with Dee Wallace [40 mins]
  • New interview with composer Charles Bernstein [35 mins]
  • New interview with stuntman Gary Morgan [25 mins]
  • New interview with stuntwoman Jean Coulter [21 mins]
  • New interview with casting director Marcia Ross. [20 mins]
  • New interview with visual effects artist Kathie Lawrence [13 mins]
  • New interview with special effects designer Robert Clark [12 mins]
  • New interview with dog trainer Teresa Miller [28 mins]
  • Dog Days: The Making of Cujo archival documentary on the film s production [42 mins]

Disc Two [Limited Edition Only]

  • Q&A with Dee Wallace from Cinemaniacs & Monster Fest 2015 , moderated by Lee Gambin [96 mins]
  • New interview with critic and author Kim Newman [25 mins]

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.” 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

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” …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…” 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.” 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.

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