Dear reader, in personal celebration of my 200th written article on HorrorGeekLife, I decided that the only suitable means of reaching this milestone was to get fucking wild. So, if you’re here and you want to party, allow me to paint the only picture the world has ever needed.
The year is 1993… original horror is scarce after the genre devolved into slasher sequels and gory cheese throughout the 1980’s. Beethoven has just come off of a financially successful theatrical run in ’92, grossing $147 million against an $18 million budget and St. Bernard’s are in high demand across the globe.
Due to the St. Bernard craze, Cujo, a modest financial success in 1983, has found increased popularity in Blockbuster rentals and VHS sales. One movie-pitching suit takes note of the film’s 10th anniversary and has the home run idea that a Cujo/Beethoven crossover isn’t only the movie the world wants… it’s the movie the world needs.
So journey with me if you will to a fictional (and better) 1993 as I lay the foundation for the greatest horror film the world never received.
I know what you’re thinking right now:
“But that darn Cujo got shot and killed at the end of the movie!”
Horror villains never really die though, do they? Neither did Cujo. That rabid rapscallion crawled off into the surrounding forest and licked his goddamn wounds like a champion, hiding from the pound and biding his time for ten malevolent years of squirrel-eating & plotting his revenge against the human race.
What better way to seek vengeance on humanity than infiltrate a happy, unsuspecting American family of five and make their lives a living hellllll?
Enter the Newton family and their St. Bernard, Beethoven.
Cujo discovers the Newtons and their simpleton mutt having a picnic at a local park and devises a plan. He follows at a distance behind them while they walk home, purposely catching the attention of Beethoven once he discovers which home is theirs, prompting Beethoven to give chase. Cujo leads the mutt deep into the forest from which he came and knocks him unconscious with a log (or maybe just the biggest stick he can carry in his mouth), returning to the Newton’s home and assuming Beethoven’s identity.
Rather than devouring each of the Newtons and gnawing on their bones for the comfort and pleasure of his own teeth, Cujo’s plan is subtle: Gradually become more sinister (eat a bunny, stare menacingly while Mr. & Mrs. Newton fornicate) and pick the family members off one at a time, starting with the little one.
Meanwhile, Beethoven stirs from his sleep when he hears footsteps in the forest. He quickly realizes via scent and his natural dog instincts that the footsteps belong to members of the dog pound who assume that he’s Cujo. Beethoven evades the pound by using his superior digging talents to pull up enough dirt and brush to shelter himself under, though he knows that he can’t avoid them for much longer. Understanding his own trouble as well as the danger his family’s in, the St. Bernard searches for his way out of the woods.
Two days pass in the Newton home and Cujo decides that there’s no better time than to make his first kill. He lures little Emily Newton to the backyard and knocks her to the ground playfully, preparing to take a chunk out of her neck. Just as he closes in for the kill, Mrs. Newton steps into the backyard and gathers Emily to go to the store – leaving Cujo home alone with perennial asshole, George Goddamn Newton.
No longer maintaining the patience for subtlety, Cujo stalks George through the house and attacks the back of his calf, making it tough for him to walk. George falls to the ground and wrestles with the dog as it pounces on him and aims for his throat. As Mr. Newton begins to lose the struggle, Beethoven runs into the house and tackles his evil counterpart.
The two St. Bernards fight in a style that The Lion King would copy verbatim for the Simba/Scar battle a year later, biting into each other and throwing paws across each other’s face. Sliding across the floor and pulling a pistol out of his bedside drawer (Betcha didn’t know that was there. Surprise, audience!), George points the gun at both canines, trying to decide which dog is Beethoven and which is the impostor. A common trope, sure. But have you seen it with dogs?
George ultimately points the gun at Cujo and hesitantly pulls the trigger, seemingly killing the St. Bernard once and for all. The Newton’s come home and call an ambulance for George and an in-home vet for Beethoven. The nightmare is over.
Or is it?
In a post-credits sequence, the “deceased” Cujo is being prepared for cremation at the dog pound. However, Cujo isn’t deceased at all. In a shocking twist unlike anything the world has ever seen, it turns out that he learned to stop his breath as a hunting tactic while living in the forest for ten years. He jerks up, graphically murdering the pound crew and escaping again – this time seeking vengeance against fellow dogs rather than people.
Cujo v. Buddy: No Harm, No Foul is coming to a theater near you in Summer of 1998.