Pet Sematary (1989)
The Creed family has just moved from Chicago to a beautiful country home in rural Maine. The father, Louis, has started a new medical practice there and is trying to make a perfect life for his family; wife Rachel, daughter Ellie and young son Gage. It isn’t long before the family befriends the old man across the street, a guy by the name of Jud, who takes a shining to the family, but warns them about the trucks that travel on the road. That couldn’t be some sort of ominous foreshadowing, could it?
While working at the hospital one day, Louis tries to save the life of a jogger with a massive head injury named Pascow, but loses him; the guy comes back from the brink of death to warn Louis about an evil than lives behind his house. Of course the curious doctor wants to know what all this hubbub is about, so the family treks down the path behind their house to find an old pet cemetery. It’s here that Jud tells Ellie about death, and scares the crap out of her, and now she is terrified that her cat is going to die. Fortunately for the story, that is exactly what happens while the rest of the family is away; the cat is hit by a truck, and Louis is stuck with this dead kitty. Jud has a plan, he takes Louis past the pet cemetery to the place where the now ghost Pascow has again warned him not to go. They makes their way to an old Indian burial ground, and Jud urges him to bury the cat there, but offers no reasoning as to why. The next morning, Louis wakes to that damn cat sitting in the house. He has returned from the dead thanks to the spot where he was buried. Pascow’s ghost give Louis a hard time, explaining that things buried there will come back, but aren’t the same, as the ground has gone sour. What do ghosts know about anything, pffttt?
Just when you think all is well, young Gage wonders off from the family and is also killed by a truck. Grief strikes the family hard, especially Rachel, who recollects the death of her sister, who was kept locked in a bedroom like a freak due to a medical condition. As Rachel and Ellie go out of town to spend time with family, Louis does the only thing he can think of – dig up Gage and re-bury him beyond the pet cemetery. He does this even after Jud tells him a story of another person buried there who returned as an insane murderous monster. Gage comes back, and after stealing a scalpel from his dad goes to visits Jud, and stabs him then eats him. Bad boy! Rachel returns home, and stops by Jud’s to say hi, but finds her imaginary dead sister and her real life dead son. Louis finds some little footprints leading out of his house and finds the aftermath of Gage’s play dates. A dead friend, a dead wife, and a creepy living dead boy. He puts the little bastard out of his misery, and proceeds to do something else dumb: bury his dead wife in the same cursed earth. Maybe this time it will work… it doesn’t.
Alex’s Thoughts: One of my favorite movies based on Steven King’s work (he even has a cameo as a priest). This thing scared the crap out of me when I was a kid, and the homicidal zombie Gage is still creepy as hell, though the deformed sister Zelda isn’t quite as terrifying as I remember. In the movie’s climax, the two have merged into one, with a double creep factor! It is actually a sad story about a guy who has trouble dealing with loss, and resorts to something dangerous for another chance to have a normal family and stop his pain. I also love that character of Jud, played by Fred Gwynne (a.ka. Herman Munster), I’ve always been jealous of that Northern Maine accent he uses. Alex Rates This Movie 8/10
Tim’s Thoughts: I think this is one of the stronger Stephen King horror movies, not all of them have fared well over the years, and truly some are better than others. As in his books, King crafts scenes that stick with you, and in the movies, (when they do it right) it amplifies the intensity. Pet Sematary is one of these films, from creepy kid, and the tension that builds from the death of the cat all the way to the climax, I feel that this still holds up pretty well. There are scarier movies out there, but for a King adaptation, (of which most are awful) Pet Sematary stands out. I enjoyed watching this again, and was honestly glad that I still liked it. Tim Rates This Movie 8/10
“The soil of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis. A man grows what he can, and he tends it. ‘Cause what you buy, is what you own. And what you own… always comes home to you.”