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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cujo [Blu-ray]

 

(Lewis Teague, 1983)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Sunn Classic Pictures

Video: Olive Films / Eureka (UK)

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' / 'B'  (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:08.583  / 1:32:47.061

Disc Size: 19,054,565,649 bytes / 48,660,455,249 bytes

Feature Size: 18,990,127,104 bytes / 30,790,767,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.98 Mbps / 34.91 Mbps

Chapters: 8 / 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom case (see below)

Release date: January 22nd, 2013 / April 29th, 2019

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 / 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 830 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 830 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 900 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 900 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3050 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3050 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

None / English, none

 

Extras:

• New Commentary by director Lewis Teague


• New and exclusive feature length audio commentary by Lee Gambin, author of Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo
• New interview with Dee Wallace [41:34 mins]
• New interview with composer Charles Bernstein [35:37 mins]
• New interview with stuntman Gary Morgan [26:10 mins]
• New interview with stuntwoman Jean Coulter [21:09 mins]
• New interview with casting director Marcia Ross. [20:03 mins]
• New interview with visual effects artist Kathie Lawrence [13:55 mins]
• New interview with special effects designer Robert Clark [12:50 mins]
• New interview with dog trainer Teresa Miller [28:14 mins]
Dog Days: The Making of Cujo archival documentary on the film s production [42:48 mins]
• Original Trailer (01:49)
• Two TV Spots (00:30, 01:29)

DISC TWO [Limited Edition Only]
• Q&A with Dee Wallace from Cinemaniacs & Monster Fest 2015 , moderated by Lee Gambin [1:40:53 mins]
• New interview with critic and author Kim Newman [27:03 mins]

 

 

 

Bitrates:

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Based on the Stephen King's terrifying novel - A lovable St. Bernard becomes rabid and terrorizes a small community. In rural Maine, married couple (Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh-Kelly) struggle to repair their crumbling marriage, while their young son (Danny Pintauro) befriends the hulking, but lovable St. Bernard owned by the town's mechanic (Ed Lauter). With her husband out of town, she and her son take their decrepit car for repairs at the mechanic's remote farmhouse. As the aging Pinto sputters, stops and dies, Cujo appears. The once docile dog has undergone a hideous transformation - and has become a demonic, impeccable killer possessed of an almost supernatural strength and unholy cunning. Lewis Teague (Cat's Eye) directed this critically acclaimed spine-chilling tour-de-force.

 

 

The Film:

This adaptation on a modest budget from Stephen King's bestseller about a rabid St Bernard is a pleasing illustration of the filmic simplicity at the heart of King's better writing. Any old pulp writer can trap heroine and child in a broken-down car menaced by a vicious dog, but it takes a King to spot the enormous advantage of keeping them there for two-thirds of the book. Fortunately Teague follows his lead, making considerable visual and narrative mileage out of the struggle between dog and car, as his actors scream and cry their way through the movie with commendably little shame. But for all its ingenuity, Cujo does lose an awful lot of ground from the fact that rabid St Bernards tend to evoke pity rather than terror. Perhaps that explains why the film's US earnings would buy few dog biscuits.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Based on a Stephen King novel, Cujo is not as menacing or as frightening as other film adaptations of King's popular... stories and especially cannot compare to the 1976 Carrie. Cujo is a happy St. Bernard until he is bitten on the nose by a rabid bat and slowly begins manifesting the symptoms of his fatal illness. His condition deteriorates as he attacks people again and again, until finally, mom Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) and her son Tad (Danny Pintauro) are trapped inside the family car with Cujo lurking nearby, set to kill them any way he can. A showdown is inevitable but is as predictable as the rest of the film.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Cujo gets a typical Olive Blu-ray transfer - a single-layered bare-bones disc (although this does sport a brand new commentary) with a modest, but acceptable file size and bitrate. Aside from being a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (presumably opened-up from 1.85:1) this looks like a straight rendering - the image is reasonably clean and bright, no excess gloss and has a bit of depth here and there. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws had no detrimental effect on my viewing. It looks solid and as good as this film with likely get.

 

Eureka films have created a lovely Blu-ray package for Lewis Teague's adaptation of Stephen King's canine chiller "Cujo". This is the first time that the film has been available in 1080p in the UK. The film is housed on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc. Gone is Olive Film's oddly opened-up 1.78:1 aspect ratio. We now have the original 1.85:1 ratio, not to mention a nicely maxed out bitrate. The HD image is improved with deeper blacks, and a stronger contrast that keeps detail from being washed out in brighter scenes. Colors are slightly different too, with faces looking rosier, and more lifelike, to which the captures below will attest.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Olive stay authentic and modest with a DTS-HD Master mono track at a puny 830 kbps. Charles Bernstein's original music stays the course with some intensity and jolting suspense but the track doesn't go heavy on the bass. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

There are 3 choices for audio, including the fantastic commentary from Lee Gambin. First is an uncompressed linear PCM mono track, we also get the option of a 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio track. This mono track is a big step-up over the Olive version. Bass sounds more significant and everything sounds cleaner all-around. Charles Bernstein's original music underscores the action perfectly. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'B' Blu-ray from Eureka.

 

 

Extras :

Nice of Olive to include a new, 2012, commentary from director Lewis Teague. He is regarded as an extremely efficient and underrated director and has done mostly TV work in the past 20 years. I appreciate the opportunity to hear his thoughts on Cujo, the production and evolution of the film.

 

This 2 disc Blu-ray set is loaded with valuable extras, thanks to producer (and audio commentator) Lee Gambin. There are 8 (!) interviews on this first Blu-ray; a 42-minute interview with star Dee Wallace, a 36-minute interview with composer Charles Bernstein, a 26-minute interview with stuntman Gary Morgan, a 21-minute interview with stuntwoman Jean Coulter, a 20-minute interview with casting director Marcia Ross, a 14-minute interview with visual effects artist Kathie Lawrence, a 13-minute interview with special effects designer Robert Clark, and a 28-minute interview with dog trainer Teresa Miller! These interviews, produced by Gambin, are all worth checking out. The various cast and crew recall a mosaic of fascinating tidbits regarding the production and release of this classic thriller. Accompanying the film is a feature-length commentary with Gambin, full of his usual wit and encyclopedic knowledge of the film. Gambin literally 'wrote the book' on Cujo and is an expert on all things relating to the Nature Horror Film. Any fans of the film would be doing themselves a disservice by not indulging in Lee's commentary. Also here on disc one is "Dog Days: The Making of Cujo", a 43-minute archival documentary on the film s production. Rounding out the first disc (wait, there is more on Blu-ray two) is the film's trailer and two TV spots. Disc two has "Q&A with Dee Wallace from Cinemaniacs & Monster Fest 2015", a wide-ranging on stage interview between the two that lasts for a whopping 1-hour and 41-minutes! Also on disc two is a wonderfully incisive 27-minute interview with critic and author Kim Newman. Newman is always a welcome sight to us horror fans, and once again he doesn't disappoint, delving into not only Cujo but other Stephen King adaptations. There is also a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Lee Gambin, author Scott Harrison, and Craig Ian Mann; illustrated with archival imagery from the film's production. There is also a reversible sleeve featuring artwork by Justin Osbourn and original poster artwork. If you are a fan of this film, these extras are worth the purchase alone.

 

Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Cujo isn't so bad. Credit is deserved for taking a far fetched premise and bringing it to the screen without eroding the precarious base of a suspension of disbelief. It manages to stay 'real' - a difficult task for a horror although the tension is the strongest element with effects gimmickry taking a backseat. It still has the 80's feel - but in a healthy, nostalgic, way. The Blu-ray gives a pretty good presentation and the commentary addition gives it further value. Yes - we recommend!

 

"Cujo" is certainly one of the greatest Stephen King adaptations to film. King's horror stories are almost always rooted in a family's turmoil, and this tends to be lost in translation to the big screen. This is not the case with "Cujo" (nor "Pet Semetary") and Dee Wallace is fantastic. If you had written off this film in the past, you should definitely give it another look. Lee Gambin has produced some fine extras here, including a fantastic commentary. The image quality is stronger than the Olive Blu-ray release, with deeper blacks and the correct aspect ratio. And lastly, the film gets a big boost in the audio department. Highly Recommended. 

Gary Tooze

January 15th, 2013

Colin Zavitz

April 22nd, 2019


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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