10 Fascinating Stories Behind Stephen King's Most Famous Books

10. Cujo Was Inspired By A St. Bernard That Went For King

Cujo dog
Warner Bros.

Stephen King's Cujo tells the story of a once-friendly neighbourhood dog who disappears down a hole one day and comes back wrong. Cujo, the St. Bernard of the title, is made rabid from a bat bite, and winds up on a mission to kill an innocent pair who find themselves trapped in a car as the terrifying beast lingers outside, waiting to strike.

How did King end up writing a story like this, then? What inspired the tale of Cujo?

Essentially, it was King's own experience with an unfriendly pooch back in 1977. King took his motorcycle out to the sticks in Bridgton, Maine, in order for it to be fixed. As he approached the barn, a St. Bernard emerged from the barn and proceeded to square u to the nervous author. The dog was then followed by the bike mechanic - who - in King's own words - looked "almost like one of those guys out of Deliverance." Creepy, right?

The guy informed King that the dog wouldn't bite him, so King tried to be amicable and stroke the mutt - who proceeded to growl at him. "Gonzo never done that before," commented the the confused hillbilly mechanic. "I guess he don't like your face."

Out of this scenario, Cujo was born; the incident inspired King to write about a blood-thirsty dog in what he perceived to be the ultimate ABC "movie of the week," but as a novel.

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Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.