Cujo (1983) * Favorite Review *
Starring: Dee Wallace-Stone (The Howling; E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial); Danny Pintauro ("Who's the Boss?")
Directed By: Lewis Teague (The Jewel of the Nile; Navy Seals)
Overview: Dogs die when locked in hot cars. Cujo, Stephen King's rabid St-Bernard, is getting even on all those dog owners with some poetic vengeance.
Acting: Whether they have starred for years in "Who's The Boss?", or if they're merely a talentless tertiary character that casting chose because he was their best friend's actor-hopeful cousin, the victim of rabies, if left untreated will develop encephalitis, which is a lovely little condition that causes brain damage when the brain swells inside the skull and eventually kills the victim, even if they're super-well trained dogs.
Cinematography: Those infected with rabies start developping symptoms between two and eight weeks. Sometimes they'll see a scene with the world artistically spinning or sights mimicking Hitchcock's down-low or high up camera angles, but usually they'll just see the world as most people do, with the occasional vicious attacks, leaving their victims bloody dead, or bloody afraid, though always professional, if a little dated.
Script: The victim of a rabies infection will tend to say things like "Ow, my brain's leaking out of my ears," or "did you see that huge monster bite the hell out of me? I bet I've got rabies", you know pretty inventive stuff. Stories like 'I'm having an affair' and 'you have to go out of town to deal with a PR fiasco' aren't really good things to talk about when a dog is trying to eat your face.
Plot: Rabies treatment in humans no longer involves painful injections into the abdominal wall, though a victim will indeed receive immunoglobin and a vaccine, on the first day, and another vaccine on the 3rd, 7th, 14th, and 28th day after that first shot. Some people might think that long, perhaps even as long as Girlfriend Of Squish found this 93 minute film, or as she put it, "alright now, I get it, kill something".
Mood: The mood of those infected with rabies vary depending on the symptom present: the furious stage is known for displays of irritability, restlessness and aggression, which many people will feel as they watch this film's sub-plots unfold without any resolution, even though the book wrapped everything up quite nicely, thank you. There is also a paralytic stage, where foaming at the mouth occurs due to localized paralysis of the throat and face, causing the inability to swallow, and eventually respiratory paralysis, which of course leads to death. I can at least say that this probably won't happen to audiences watching Cujo, mainly because of the cute kid and the occasional scary moment.
Aftertaste: No one wants rabies, that much is clear, but we all wouldn't mind seeing someone with rabies to satiate our bloodlust. This movie is like that. Not in a Lars Von Trier or silent Era Film mood? Well switch to the On Demand channel and let yer woman pick something, though I'd have gone for Rocky myself... I think I also learned the lesson that after a dinner out at a fancy sushi place, no matter what you watch, it'll probably be satisfying, especially with a glass of wine in your hand.