Only 7 days in, and I have already compiled a list for the 31 Days that could easily take me past Christmas. It seems I have quite a bit of narrowing down to do these last few weeks before Halloween is upon us. At any rate, I’m having a wonderful time catching up on films that I hadn’t seen or hadn’t seen in many years. I hope you all are enjoying the list of films, as Count Scary would say, that will scare the pants right off of you!
31 Days of Howl-oween
A Review of Films Filled with Frights
~ Cujo ~
Director: Lewis Teague
Cast: Dee Wallace, Danny Pintauro, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Christopher Stone, Billy Jayne, Ed Lauter
Specs: 93 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1 / MPAA Rating: R
Donna Trenton (Wallace), a housewife on the verge of divorce, takes the family car to a local mechanic on the outskirts of town to have the nearly disabled car fixed. However, unbeknownst to Donna, the mechanics dog Cujo is a raving mad beast having been infected by rabies from a flock of vampire bats. When Donna and son Tad (Pintauro) arrive at the mechanics farm, they discover that Cujo has killed off everyone there, and now is after them. They must lock themselves in their now disabled vehicle, and hope that rescue arrives before they become the next victims to the non compos mentis canine.
Pre-1983, every time I heard someone mention a Saint Bernard, I instantly formed an image of a friendly rescue dog carrying a small barrel of liquor around its neck high in the Swiss Alps. Post-1983, the mere mention of the large canine awakened a mental image of a rabid beast intent on killing everyone around! This film, while very linear and limited on locations, packs quite the punch in the scares department.
The acting in the film is in the better tier of some other films based on Stephen King stories, with the impressive Dee Wallace bringing the lonely housewife who is having an affair to life. Which is another thing about the story that adds to the film. There is a subplot to the film that isn’t wasted away once the spooks kick in. The effects of the rabid dog are equally as impressive, convincing me that the dog wasn’t acting at all!
Some of the fight scenes do look a bit staged, in that it is certainly obvious the trainer and the “actor” dog are simply playing/rolling around. However, the music cues, the objects appearing at just the right moment from off screen, and the tension of Donna and Tad in the car are all worthy of viewing.
I now officially hope that I never get stranded in the Swiss Alps without a baseball bat.
My Rating: **** / B-
Available on Amazon: Cujo (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]