[[caption-width-right:361:Kids, this ain't Film/{{Beethoven}}.]]
Joe Camber's dog, Cujo, is infected with rabies from a bat bite. Cujo is a ''huge'' St. Bernard. [[OhCrap Yeah]], bad stuff very quickly starts to happen. Written in 1981 by Creator/StephenKing, and adapted into a film starring DeeWallace in 1983.
!!!'''This book/film contains examples of:'''
* AdultFear: Being trapped along with your sick child as a rabid dog waits for you just outside.
* TheAlcoholic: Gary Pervier.
* TheAllegedCar: Donna's [[EveryCarIsAPinto Ford Pinto]]. In fact, the whole reason why Donna and Tad are trapped is because they took it to Joe's to get the broken alternator fixed. By the time [[spoiler:Cujo dies]], it's in even worse shape.
* AngryGuardDog: Subverted with Cujo: he attacks people because of rabies, not because he was bred that way.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler:Joe.]]
* BewareOfViciousDog: Although, to be fair, nobody knew he'd become vicious.
* BigFriendlyDog: Cujo was one, before he got rabies. The NightmareFuel comes from how quickly a BigFriendlyDog is turned into a killing machine by the virus. There's a reason why most places require all registered dogs to get the rabies vaccine.
** This extended to RealLife: 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. Awww.
* CatchPhrase: An in-story example. Vic Trenton, who works in advertising, along with his partner, Roger, creates a character called "The Sharp Cereal Professor", who becomes hugely popular. His catchphrase is "Nope, nothing wrong here".
* {{Cuckold}}: Vic Trenton. His wife has an affair with Steve Kemp, and after she breaks it off, Kemp sends a crude message to Vic in revenge about how he enjoyed "fucking the shit out of her". He also mentions the mole Donna has on an intimate place, so Vic knows that the message is true. It causes him horrible emotional pain.
* DomesticAbuser: Joe Camber. To the point (in the book) that during sex, his wife is afraid of crying out, because she's not sure he knows about female orgasms and it might upset him.
* EyeScream: [[spoiler:Donna kills Cujo by thrusting the broken handle of a baseball bat through his eye socket.]]
* TheFilmOfTheBook
* GroinAttack: Gary Pervier lost a testicle in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Cujo bites [[spoiler:Joe Camber]] in the groin, but mercifully, this is not detailed.
* HeatWave: The story takes place during one, which leads to [[spoiler:Tad's death.]]
* InfantImmortality: Averted [[spoiler:in the book. Played straight in the movie.]]
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Gary Pervier, in the book at least, has a touch of this. Despite being a full-blown grouch, to put it mildly, he's friends with Joe Camber, and doesn't mind Camber's son, either, but he has a genuine soft spot for Cujo (pre-rabies, of course) and even keeps some dog biscuits on hand for when the dog comes by.
* MamaBear: Donna's primal rage at the end is partly due to Cujo threatening her son, and partly due to [[spoiler:early symptoms of rabies]].
* MidlifeCrisisCar: Steve Kemp refers to this phenomenon as "sports car menopause".
* MyCarHatesMe: Donna and Tad are trapped on the Cambers' farm, because her car (a Ford Pinto) wouldn't start (actually she went there to get it fixed).
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler:Joe]]'s death is only implied. As the most unlikeable character in the film, his death would have made for more satisfying viewing than the innocents Cujo savages.
* PoliceAreUseless: Sheriff Bannerman lasts about 30 seconds with Cujo, and he is by far the most effective cop in the book.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Gary Pervier. He served in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, where he had single-handedly taken a German pillbox, and was hit by six bullets. After that, he became an alcoholic and developed a nihilistic outlook on life (as he puts it, he doesn't give a shit about anything).
* SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler:Tad, in the movie.]]
* ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight: The monster in Tad's closet.
* TooDumbToLive: Gary Pervier. So, there's a giant killer dog in your yard, but you manage to get inside? Nice job! And once inside, you only lock the '''''screen''''' door behind you? [[SarcasmMode Way to go, Gary]]! [[AbsurdlyIneffectiveBarricade He'll never get manage to get through that]]!
* TragicVillain: 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."
** He was also ''possibly'' influenced by the ghost of a [[Literature/TheDeadZone previous Stephen King villain...]]
** Not to mention his brief encounter with [[Franchise/TheDarkTower Randall Flagg]].
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: That helpful mailman who points Vic Trenton in the direction of Joe Camber? If he had just minded his own business, Donna and her son wouldn't have had to experience the nightmare they went through.
* TheVirus: [[RealLife Rabies]].
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: According to King's auto-biography, this entire book. There are worse things to do on a bender...
* {{Xenofiction}}: Parts of the book are told from the perspective of Cujo. They show him to be a TragicVillain.
* YourCheatingHeart: 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 [[spoiler:Tad's death in the book]].