“Fuck you dog.”
I should probably preface Stephen King films by pointing out that I haven’t really read any of his books. I’ve read It, The Mist (short story), and the ending of The Body (another short story), because I wanted to see how Stand By Me really ended. Other than that, nothing. I mention this only to point out that Stephen King reviews are based solely on the films and not a comparison to the book or the book’s meanings, it is strictly a review of the films at face value.
In the opening scene, an innocent St. Bernard chases a bunny into a rabbit hole filled with bats and gets bitten on his poor little nose.
Next scene: A little kid, Tad, played by Danny Pintauro, pre Who’s The Boss, is afraid of the dark. He wakes up his dad, Vic, and his mom, Donna, played by horror queen of the 80’s, Dee Wallace.
In the morning, Tad is eating breakfast and feeling better, despite having moved all of his bedroom furniture over to block the closet door. His parents come downstairs. Vic’s friend, Steve, stops by and Donna starts acting weird.
After a tennis match between Vic, and Steve, we the viewer, not Vic, learn that Donna is having an affair with Steve, who likes to play the trombone after sex. That’s not the only thing he tromboned. All the while, Vic wants to have another baby. He basically feels a void in his marriage, but doesn’t know what it is, so he wants to throw a baby at the problem.
Vic takes his car to a mechanic who hates money so the mailman refers him to Joe Camber. He takes his family over and they meet Cujo, the St. Bernard from the opening, with a fresh wound on his nose.
Also, Vic invented a cereal that is now suspected of causing internal hemorrhaging.
Donna drives her Pinto over to Steve’s, (her Howling co-star and real-life husband), to break things off. He seems understanding, at first. Vic drives by and sees the two of them outside, but can’t double-back in time. Donna picks Tad up from school and daddy’s home early, but he doesn’t confront her.
Meanwhile, Cujo is getting worse as his family wins the the lottery, $5,000. Cujo is sensitive to loud noises.
Steve visits Donna because he wants her back, but she fights him off. She wants to work things out with her family, but now she knows that Vic knows. He’s leaving for 10 days, damage control for that cereal epidemic thing. Donna apologizes for the affair, but still he goes. He forgot to take the pinto over to Camber’s.
On a foggy morning, back at the Camber place, Cujo is looking rabid as fuck. Joe Camber’s wife and kid left town to visit her sister. Joe’s friend, who previously made fun of Cujo for being too timid, gets attacked and killed by Cujo. Joe finds the body and when he goes to make a phone call, Cujo finds him. Meanwhile, Donna and Tad are on their way. When they get there, Tad’s seatbelt is stuck, which may have saved them cuz as she tries to free him, Cujo attacks the car. Trapped inside, Donna honks the horn unaware that everyone at the Camber’s is already dead. Now the car won’t start as Cujo waits on the porch. She gets the car to start, but not for long. Cujo waits.
Now it’s dark and Tad has to pee. The phone in the house rings, distracting Cujo. I know I couldn’t pee under those circumstances so suddenly just peeing in the car doesn’t seem like such a bad alternative.
It’s morning, and they’ve been trapped in the car all night. Donna spots a baseball bat. The car still won’t start.
The mailman is about to head over to Camber’s until he’s reminded that the mail is on hold, which is weird because his wife and kid left, but Joe stayed home. What kind of entitled bitch is he married to?The phone rings again, which sends Cujo into a frenzy and he begins to destroy the car until it stops.
While Tad is sleeping, Donna makes a go for the baseball bat, but Cujo gets her. She fights him off in front of an awoken and horrified Tad, who is already afraid of monsters. Does this mean she has rabies now?
Suddenly, Vic wakes up with a strong desire to go home. Donna hasn’t answered the phone in two days and knowing she had an affair, he assumes she’s shackin up with Steve again. Why didn’t he just call Steve? Throughout this whole thing, he has yet to talk to Steve. Steve probably doesn’t even know he knows.
Tad is all fucked up. As the parent of a six year old, I must say that baseball bat would’ve been up that dog’s ass by now.
Vic arrives home and the house is all thrashed. He calls the cops and blames Steve, but he is smart enough to let the cops know that his wife was taking her car over to Camber’s.
The cop goes over to Camber’s, but instead of approaching the car he approaches the house and Cujo gets him. Donna can’t get her car door open while Cujo is distracted and apparently Tad has asthma.
Nobody has heard from the cop on the scene so Vic takes matters into his own hands and is on his way.
Tad is half dead. He hasn’t had food or water in days so Donna decides it’s now or never. She beats Cujo down with the baseball bat, grabs the cops gun, but doesn’t shoot him. Instead, she takes Tad into the Camber house, gives him mouth to mouth, and he’s back. But so is Cujo! He crashes through the window for one last hurrah and now she shoots him. Then Vic arrives. The End.
This film was totally different than I remember, then again, that was fifth grade. One thing I notice about Stephen King is that he takes no prisoners. He fully commits to the terrorizing of his characters whether it’s a struggling writer, adolescent kids, or even a toddler, which is the beauty of writing a horror novel vs. a horror screenplay: Different mediums get away with different extremes. Books probably get away with the most. Movies come in second, although whether creating an original screenplay or adapting a novel, they still have to be marketable to the viewers. The fans understand, but not all the viewers are fans. Music has it the worst. There’s things you can get away with in a book, there’s things you can get away with in a movie, but the backlash of the PMRC in the 80’s made it difficult to do the same thing with songs. After a decade of blaming Ozzy, Punk Rock, and Heavy Metal, then rap for every fucked up thing teens did, we entered the 90’s. Punk was now grunge and the hair-metal that grunge destroyed resurfaced as Death-Metal. This brings me back around to my point: You can write a book about Satanism, you can make a movie with a guy playing Satan, but once you write songs about it, forget it, you are fucked. Hell, your whole genre is fucked because while a band like Morbid Angel is gung-ho Satan, an equally heavy, more experimental band like Carcass, who’s lyrics you’d need a medical dictionary to understand, judged next to Cannibal Corpse who also had nothing to do with Satanism, while each song was its own grotesque horror film, to Napalm Death, who might have been the heaviest of them all in their heyday, but were purely political.These were the four best of that early 90’s period, but if I played a song from each, you probably wouldn’t even know you were listening to four different bands, you would just think of Satan, and kill your mother kill your father gibberish. And I do not claim to be a Death-Metal expert, my friends were listening to this shit non-stop while I was listening to Black Flag, but the point is, I don’t really remember what the point is, I just like to talk about music whenever I get the chance. It is interesting though, how music doesn’t have the same rights as other forms of creativity. Maybe that’s why they have to be the extremists. Now that I think about, that’s what makes music dangerous: It effects the culture first, the hardest... Nerds get rejected by sports, chances are they’ve already played an instrument, and notes are adaptable.
The Gilligan Award goes to Donna. Donna is a horrible and selfish person. There are many examples of it throughout the film, but it’s not until she almost lets her son die to keep herself out of danger that the pieces start coming together.
What did we learn? Survival Tips:
1) Don’t wait till the last minute to get your car fixed.
2) Leave the car running until you know the shop is open.
3) Don’t wait until you’re completely depleted to fight back.