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Joe Camber's dog, Cujo, is infected with rabies from a bat bite. Cujo is a St. Bernard. Yeah. Written in 1981 by Stephen King, and adapted into a film starring Dee Wallace in 1983.

This book/film contains examples of:

  • Angry Guard Dog: Subverted with Cujo- he attacks people because of rabies, not because he was bred that way.
  • Asshole Victim: Joe.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: Although, to be fair, nobody knew he'd become vicious.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Cujo was one, before he got rabies.
    • Also a genuine problem in the making of the film because they simply could not get the St. Bernard playing him to act aggressively - they had to replace him with a cunningly disguised Rottweiler for several crucial scenes, and tape his tail to his leg so he didn't wag it constantly. Aaww.
  • Catch Phrase: An in-story example. Vic Trenton, who works in advertising, along with his partner, Roger, creates a character called "The Sharp Cereal Professor", who becames hugely popular. His catchphrase is "Nope, nothing wrong here".
  • Domestic Abuser: Joe Camber.
  • Eye Scream: Donna kills Cujo by thrusting the broken handle of a baseball bat through his eye socket.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Heat Wave: The story takes place during one, which leads to Tad's death.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in the book. Played straight in the movie.
  • Midlife Crisis Car: Steve Kemp refers to this phenomenon as "sports car menopause".
  • My Car Hates Me: Donna and Tad are trapped on the Camber's farm, because her car (a Ford Pinto) wouldn't start (actually she went there to get it fixed).
  • Paranoia Fuel: The camera begins to swirl around inside the car, showing an injured Donna and a hysterically shrieking Tad. Faster and faster, it spins as the music builds in a demented and chaotic fashion. Like a merry-go-round, the camera whips while the music blares out of control until it suddenly cuts to Victor Trenton, who awakens from a nightmare with a shout, thus halting the scene with an effective jolt.
  • Police Are Useless: Sheriff Bannerman lasts about 30 seconds with Cujo, and he is by far the most effective cop in the book.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Bannerman.
  • Spared by the Adaptation - Tad, in the movie.
  • Stealth Sequel: To The Dead Zone, with its references to the legacy of Frank Dodd, a brief mention of Jonny Smith, and Sheriff Bannerman reappearin.
  • Things That Go Bump in the Night: The monster in Tad's closet, which is heavily implied to be the ghost of Frank Dodd.
  • The Sheriff: Bannerman, who has stayed the Sheriff since The Dead Zone.
  • Tragic Villain: Cujo. He's shown to suffer terribly from rabies, and he attacks people because he believes that they are responsible for his pain. At the end of the book, it's written: "It would perhaps not be amiss to point out that he had always tried to be a good dog. [...] He had never wanted to kill anybody. He had been struck by something, possibly destiny, or fate, or only a degenerative nerve disease called rabies. Free will was not a factor."
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Acording to King's auto-biography, this entire book. There are worse things to do on a bender...
  • Your Cheating Heart: Donna has had an affair with Steve Kemp and broke it off. This comes back to haunt her when a rejected Kemp vandalizes the house and wipes off a very important message on the blackboard that delayed her and Tad being found - contributing to Tad's death in the book.
  • Xenofiction: Parts of the book are told from the perspective of Cujo. They show him to be a Tragic Villain.