Figurative Vermin, and Man’s Best Foe

Lewis Teague’s Cujo really holds its own as a mini-genre classic, most because the director focused on the very real fears of a mother and son trapped in a Pinto, while a drooling, pussy St. Bernard waits them out as rabies slowly turns the former workyard dog into a carnivorous monster.

Branded the 25th Anniversary Edition (which, given the film’s 1983 release date, makes 2007 its 24th anniversary, but why quibble), the new DVD from Maple (Canada) and Lionsgate (U.S.) adds meaty extras, and upgrades the audio options with selectable original mono and pseudo-stereo 2.0 mixes. The interviews are fun & informative, and like Teague’s commentary track for Cat’s Eye, the director provides an engaging retrospective of the film’s production history, as well as his own career.

The labels’ other genre release, Bug, has its own share of intriguing extras, and the film stands as William Friedkin’s best work in years. Maybe it’s the keen interest he has for the original stage play, or perhaps he loves the challenge of shooting a psychological thriller in confined spaces with just a handful of characters, but Bug shows the director has the skills to deliver a thriller that starts rather benign, and tips into madness and nihilism, arguably two core themes he’s revisited in prior works such as Sorcerer, and Rampage (the latter still unavailable on DVD, and in need of a proper special edition, with both the British and U.S. versions in one super happy magic deluxe edition).


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