Movie scared me when I was a kid. As an adult, it’s a different story. I wonder if a rabid dog can really still be able to rage about even after a) having been hit hard several times in the head with a baseball bat and b) having been stabbed with the not-so-short stub of a baseball bat. Maybe the dog’s demon possessed, I don’t know. But then, it is based on a Stephen King novel.* A quick check of some online references reveal that, no surprise, the movie is very much different from the novel. For instance, the novel implies that the dog is indeed possessed by some unnatural spirit. Some portions of the book even are told from the dog’s perspective. Cujo is doing these things and has a hard time understanding why he is. It really makes me think the movie should be remade someday since the original gives the bland impression of a dog with garden-variety rabies doing these things. A dog with a supernatural kick would indeed be far more terrifying and would explain the a and b I listed above.
If I ever do read it the novel, I’ll probably tread light. I remember once that my sixth-grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Saenz said that she read through it and was repelled by some of the book. The movie has a few brief scenes that deal with Donna Trenton’s infidelity, whereas the book gets far more graphic.
I do remember from the movie that the character of Tad Trenton (played in the movie by Who’s the Boss? co-star Danny Pintauro) died in the book but miraculously lives in the movie. Hollywood does seem to love the sappy, happy ending.
*In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King writes about how he was stooped in alcoholism while writing Cujo and, to this day, barely remembers writing any of it. Maybe this explains why the dog just kept on going and going and going and going and going…