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1983 Movie Reviews – Cujo, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Prisoners of the Lost Universe

by Sean P. Aune | August 12, 2023August 12, 2023 10:30 am EDT

Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1983 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.


We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly four dozen.

Yes, we’re insane, but 1983 was that great of a year for film.

The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1983 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.

This time around, it’s August 12th, 1983, and we’re off to see Cujo, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Prisoners of the Lost Universe.

Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to numerous episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.



I’ve never been a big fan of animals getting hurt in media. With this in mind I’ve avoided Cujo for 40 years, but it felt like it was finally time to watch it as it was up next in this project.

Thankfully this film is so mediocre I didn’t care what happened.

The story is basic in that a lovable Saint Bernard gets rabies and goes not just mad, but totally off the deep-end. After a few kills, Donna (Dee Wallace) gets trapped in a car with her son Danny (Tad Trenton) as Cujo tries to get to them.

Did I mention Donna was having an affair? Oh, that’s right, it’s a completely useless sub-plot that does nothing but eat up time, but, by golly, that sub-plot is there because… reasons?

And then there is the fact that Cujo’s appearance grows increasingly comical as the filmmakers seemed to think the more accessories they threw on his face, the scarier he looked. In reality, he just looked like a poor dog that had a pile of props on his face made out of hot glue.

This was during the time where Stephen King books were really taking off as films, but they very easily could have skipped this one and I don’t think anyone would have minded.

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Aug. 12, 1983 was not a good day for movies. Cujo was horrible, and yet, somehow, The Man Who Wasn’t There was even worse. (I couldn’t locate a copy of Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 that also came out this day, and I’m grateful for that at this point.)

Sam Cooper (Steve Guttenberg) is preparing to get married when an invisible man shows up and dies in front of him, giving him a container full of a top-secret invisibility potion. He then goes on the run and teams up with his friend Cindy (Morgan Hart) who has always had feelings for him.

You can figure out the rest. You know, other than the super awkward sex scene where Sam is invisible and Cindy is being spied on by lecherous older neighbors. Yes, it’s just as weird as it sounds and uncomfortable to watch.

This movie just simply doesn’t have any good reason to exist, and as I looked into its history I see why. It seems that Paramount thought it could slap 3D on to any film after the success of Friday the 13th Part III and have another hit on their hands. Well, this movie certainly proved that to not be the fact. The story here was horrible. The acting was sub-par. The directing was laughable. Everything about this movie was a mess and not worth anyone’s time.

Prisoners of the Lost Universe

A crackpot scientist (Kenneth Hendel) claims he’s invented a teleporter, and TV host Carrie Madison (Kay Lenz) goes to check it out. She, the scientist and local electrician Dan Roebuck (Richard Hatch) get teleported to another world where a warlord rules over everyone with an iron fist. Due to time differences, Dr. Hartmann has been there longer and taught the warlord (John Saxon) about explosives, and now he’s even more powerful.

Dan and Carrie eventually help defeat the warlord, and make their way back to Earth, but leave Hartmann behind.

One of the funniest things about the movie is it supposedly takes place in Los Angeles when they are on Earth, yet everyone is driving on the wrong side of the car. Turns out the film was produced by a British company and filmed it in South Africa. That’s the level of detail that is really indicative of this movie overall. It’s just not good. It was clearly trying to cash in on the growing sword-and-sorcery genre at the time, but even by those standards this was just not good.

This was not a good week for this project.

1983 Movie Reviews will return on Aug. 19, 2023 with Easy Money, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, and Yor, the Hunter from the Future!

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Sean P. Aune

Sean Aune has been a pop culture aficionado since before there was even a term for pop culture. From the time his father brought home Amazing