Stephen King, Cujo and Gary Coleman

October 24, 2010

Robert Forto

Being a huge Stephen King fan, having read every one of his books, short stories, novellas, et. al as well as seen most, if not all of his made-for-TV movies and mini-series and thoroughly enjoyed his film adaptations of his books, I am also a canine trainer.

Any self respecting King fan knows that in quite a few of his stories, dogs play a pivotal role in many of them, mainly Cujo, of course, about a rabid Saint Bernard. I have come to believe that King is a CAT person! But did you also know that Cujo also appeared in the following: The Dark Half, The Dark Tower VII, Needful Things, Pet Sematary, Mrs. Todds’ Shortcut and the Sun Dog

Dog’s do not fare well in King’s world of horror. Many of his stories describe dogs meeting grim fates.

I am sure all of you know what happens to poor Cujo. It had to happen right? He had rabies for goodness sake. He needed to be put down. Many others meet their fate in a gruesome way and it has even had animal rights activists in an uproar for years. But you have to remember this is WRITING and none of the animals are ever injured in the films. You see that disclaimer at the end of movies even if there was just a goldfish in the show named Abraham (Whatcha Talkin’ Bout Willis?!)

There was the creepy story in the collection Four Past Midnight titled, The Sun Dog. A young boy receives a Polaroid camera for his birthday. There’s something wrong with his gift, though. Every picture features a menacing dog that approaches the foreground in each subsequent photograph.

In the TV mini series Desperation there is an awesome scene of “hundreds” of dogs lined up along the roadway out of town. I remember seeing that and reading it and I thought that was so cool!

The first instance of a dog’s demise comes in just King’s second published book, ‘Salem’s Lot, when a dog is ripped apart and hung on a spike shortly after the Marsten house gets sold. He WAS a menacing looking black German Shepherd-like dog with big teeth and yellow eyes!

In one of my least favorite King books, Cell, when the Pulse first hits, one of the infected zombies bites the ear off of a black lab.

In the epic novel, probably the greatest book ever written by King, The Stand— Kojack makes it through the 1000+ pages just fine. In fact he is reported to have died  at 16.

But any rabid reader will know of the ultimate demise of man’s best friend came in the film Secret Window (based on the novella: Secret Window, Secret Garden, appearing in Four Past Midnight) staring Johnny Depp (oh, how he makes the ladies swoon!) In the book/film John Shooter accuses Mort of plagiarism and he then proceeds to kill his dog, a lovable, Australian Cattle Dog named Chico.

No matter what people say about him, King has scared the socks off of us for years. I think the main reason why is he tells stories that we “believe” we could be a part of. And when it involves something so pure as the family pooch, it keeps us up at night. Maybe not with a nightmare but that inability to drift off to sleep into a dreamscape…

Remember folks as the disclaimer goes:

No animals were harmed in the making of this film and if you don’t believe me

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Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Doctor Radio | Denver Dog Works


Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and The Dog Doctor Radio Show

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About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

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One Comment on “Stephen King, Cujo and Gary Coleman”

  1. Michele Forto Says:

    great blog – can definetely tell you are a huge King fan


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