Cujo: 25th Anniversary Edition Lewis Teague

Cujo: 25th Anniversary Edition Lewis Teague

Jumping the gun a little on the silver anniversary of Stephen King’s "killer dog” adaptation (the film was made in 1983), this DVD makes all the right moves in celebrating the fury of history’s scariest St. Bernard. Surprisingly, Cujo reveals itself as more than just a "rabid dog gone wild” film, exploring the devastation that an extramarital affair brings to a small family — though after all of the bloodshed it feels more like just an aside. I forgot how terrifying this movie actually is: the St. Bernard is more bear than dog, as witnessed in the first attack, which shows that Cujo is the same size as a large man! Add to that the festering body of the animal as the rabies kicks in — the foaming mouth, the eye puss and bloody nose — and you have the last creature you want licking your face. Teague designs the ultimate set of terror, placing Donna (Dee Wallace) and her six-year-old Tad (Danny Pintauro) in an old Pinto for days, surrounded by a relentlessly bloodthirsty Bernard. They really are trapped and portray it well, especially Pintauro, who is fantastic as the most annoying kid the screen has ever witnessed. Teague’s commentary tells of how he changed Cujo from a reincarnated evil man from one of King’s previous books to simplify the story for the screen, and that he didn’t know how they would end the film. The dog’s makeup, he reveals, was a mixture of bicarbonate soda and vinegar, which he’d try to lick off, a problem that made them constantly reapply the stuff. A three-part featurette called "Dog Days” divulges all there is to know about the film, including how Pintauro couldn’t read at the time and had to learn his lines with his mom, and the difficulty they faced in making a friendly St. Bernard vicious, which resulted in putting a scented toy rat in the car to attract him, using a man in a dog suit and creating a mechanical dog head. (Maple)