From Cujo to Precious, five tragedy-porn books and the films they inspired

Categories: Books, Lists

4.) Cujo, by Stephen King

Hey, you may be asking, doesn't the inclusion of Cujo preclude the rule about no villains? Not exactly. While the film may do a poor job of (among many things) showing the dog as a multi-dimensional being capable of holding contrary desires in the same moment, the book presents Cujo as a loving canine enduring a savage mental illness. Stephen King claims to have been so bombed out of his head at the time that he has no memory of writing Cujo, yet he was still somehow capable of spinning a heartbreaking yet terrifying story of regret, infidelity, primal violence and mind-snapping fear. In the end the dog is dead, yet so is our protagonist's son, after days of suffering dehydration in a sun-baked automobile, stalked by a rabid beast. And in classic tragedy-porn style, after the reader has been drained of emotion at the death of the young boy, King ends the book with the postscript: "He had always tried to be a good dog. He had always tried to do the things his man and his woman and, most of all, his boy, had expected of him. He would have died for them.... He never wanted to kill anybody.... It was a degenerative nerve disease called rabies -- free will was not a factor."

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