PET
SEMATARY

MOVIE REVIEW
Movie reviews

Story reviews

Comic reviews

Music review

You Support This Site
When You Buy My Books

E.C. McMullen Jr.
PERPETUAL
BULLET

Perpetual Bullet Paperback "'Some People' ... may be the standout story in the book."
- John Grant, Infinityplus

E.C. McMullen Jr.
WILLOW BLUE

Willow Blue "'Willow Blue' will burrow under your skin and stay there long after you've put the book down."
- Jeffrey Reddick, Creator of
FINAL DESTINATION

IN OTHER BOOKS
E.C. McMullen Jr.'s

short story
CEDO LOOKED LIKE PEOPLE
in the anthology
FEAR THE REAPER
Fear The Reaper "This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
- Steve Isaak,
Goodreads

HORROR 201:
The Silver Scream

Horror 201: The Silver Scream Filmmaker's Guidebook
featuring
RAY BRADBURY,
JOHN CARPENTER,
WES CRAVEN,
TOM HOLLAND,
E.C. McMULLEN Jr.,
GEORGE A. ROMERO,
and many more.

Extensively quoted in
Phantasm Exhumed PHANTASM
EXHUMED
The Unauthorized Companion


Robert S. Rhine's
SATAN'S 3-RING
CIRCUS OF HELL

Satan's 3-Ring Circus of Hell
Forward by
GAHAN WILSON &
FEO AMANTE.
Featuring comics by
ALEX PARDEE,
WILLIAM STOUT,
STEVE BISSETTE,
FRANK DIETZ,
JIM SMITH,
FRANK FORTE,
ERIC PIGORS,
MIKE SOSNOWSKI,
OMAHA PEREZ,
DAVID HARTMAN,
STEVEN MANNION,
and more!

And
IN CINEMA

E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
Mine Games MINE GAMES
(Starring:
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
ALEX MERAZ)

Dept. head
Special Effects Make-Up
(SFX MUA)
A Sierra Nevada Gunfight A SIERRA NEVADA
GUNFIGHT

(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).

Production Designer
Universal Dead UNIVERSAL DEAD

(DOUG JONES,
D.B. SWEENEY,
GARY GRAHAM)

ART DIRECTOR
The Crusader THE CRUSADER

(COLIN CUNNINGHAM,
GARY GRAHAM)
Movies Ken King Review by
Ken King
PET SEMATARY
THANK YOU
TIP JAR
PET SEMATARY - 1989
USA Release: April 21, 1989
Laurel Productions, Paramount Pictures
Rating: USA: R

"The soil of a man's heart is stonier, Louis. A man grows what he can, and he tends it. Because what you buy, you own. And what you own…always comes back to you."
-Jud Crandall

A few things before we get started.

I know eventually that everything will remade. No matter its standing in the cinematic field, nothing is sacred. That means films like JAWS, ALIEN*, THE EXORCIST, THE WIZARD OF OZ*, and THE THING* will be up for a renewed revival for a different audience. I came to peace with this a long time ago because no matter how up in arms you get about this issue, it is going to happen and there isn't a thing you can do about it. However, one would think the studios would pick something that while flawed, it could be made better with a reboot and in the right hands. Just a thought. I have a list of 'em, and I'm adding more every day.

The second thing I want to put out there is that the literary works of Horror Master, Stephen King, rarely translates well to film.

Why is this? The explanation is quite simple, really.

Anyone who calls themselves a fan of the man, have their own visions of who they think should have been cast in various parts and central roles, parts of the stories that should have been left in and what could have been left out, the creatures should look like this and not that, and vice versa. A whole slew of reasons immediately come to mind, but you can't please everybody. It just isn't possible. Especially, when it comes to a devoted and rabid fan base like King's. I am not immune to this particular malady. I have my favorites. I have those adaptations that I think are complete steaming, stinking piles of garbage.

If films didn't come with the disclaimer of "Based on the Novel by Stephen King" or some other author, can you imagine what the uproar would be like?

(No. -Feo)

Exactly.

(Oh. -Feo)

Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff: NIGHTMARE WEEKEND, PLYMOUTH, TIME TRAX [TV], VISITORS OF THE NIGHT, THE CROW: SALVATION, ALIEN FURY: COUNTDOWN TO INVASION, ROUTE 666, MAXIMUM VELOCITY, TORN APART, DEEP RESCUE, FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, HELL'S KITTY) moves to Ludlow, Maine (Big mistake right off the bat. Any place in conjunction with the towns of Derry and Castle Rock is just asking for trouble) with his wife,
Rachel (Denise Crosby: ELIMINATORS, MIRACLE MILE, DOLLY DEAREST, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION [TV], RELATIVE FEAR, MUTANT SPECIES, DEEP IMPACT, LEGEND OF THE PHANTOM RIDER, MORTUARY, BORN, INVASION ROSWELL, THE WALKING DEAD [TV], DARK INTENTIONS, THE WATCHER, ITSY BITSY) their daughter,
Ellie (Blaze Berdahl: GHOSTWRITER [TV]) and son,
Gage (Miko Hughes: NATURAL SELECTION, Wes Craven's NEW NIGHTMARE, SPAWN, MERCURY RISING, Steve Niles REMAINS) who is a toddler. They also own a cat named, Winston Churchill, Church, for short.

*TRIVIA

It's already happened with all three movies. Many times over with The Wizard of Oz.


The role of Zelda, Rachel's terminally ill sister, was played by a man. Director Mary Lambert wanted Zelda and her scenes to frighten the audience but did not believe that a 13-year old girl was scary so she cast Andrew Hubatsek in the role to make something be "off about Zelda."
IMDb.

Because cats are generally dimwitted and hard to train (except for my cats, which are likely way smarter than yours), "Church" was played by 7 different Blue British Shorthair cats: Dippers, Frippers, Kippers, Tippers, Whippers, Zippers, and Fuck You.

Each was trained to do one thing and Mary and crew still had problems getting the damn cats to do just that, making them nearly as difficult to direct as child actor Blaze Berdahl.

Gage right from the jump almost gets hit by a truck while his parents are checking on Ellie, who has fallen, when a tire swing she was playing on, breaks and brings her crashing hard back to Earth. The neighbor who lives across the road, Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne: THE MUNSTERS [TV], MUNSTERS GO HOME!, SIMON, VANISHING ACT, FATAL ATTRACTION) saves the kid from certain death. Afterwards, he introduces himself properly to the Creeds.

Louis comments on a path leading through the woods that Ellie noticed while she was still swinging. Jud looks thoughtfully toward the indicated dirt trek and tells the family it has a story, and he will take them there one day.

Eventually, the day comes one bright and early morning, and the family discovers it is a place called the PET SEMATARY (it's misspelled, Rachel tells Ellie, when she asks. But that's what it says). Jud tells his new neighbors that it has been used to bury kid's pets for many, many years. The old man tells the inquisitive little girl that the burial ground is a place of "rest and speaking." Not out loud, but by the markers. This is a good enough explanation for the kid.

Not much seemingly happens before Ellie has to go to a new school and Louis starts a new job as the doctor at the local college. The doc's first day begins with a bang, or it's fairer to say, a student by the name of Victor Pascow (Brad Greenquist: MUTANTS IN PARADISE, THE BEDROOM WINDOW, THE CHAIR, DEAD BY MIDNIGHT, WING COMMANDER: PROPHECY [VG], LOST SOULS, THE DIARY OF ELLEN RIMBAUER, MOMENTUM, SHILOH FALLS, ACROSS THE HALL, THE CURSED, A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SNUFF, ANNABELLE: CREATION, THE HOUSE: A HULU HALLOWEEN ANTHOLOGY [TV]) is having a much worse day than Louis.

Pascow is brought into the clinic where Dr. Creed just started, with his brain exposed to open air and it is all too apparent this guy is way beyond bandages and gauze. Moments later, after Louis has sent the staff out and it's just him and the stiff that used to be Victor Pascow, the good doctor is lamenting the fact he lost a patient. Suddenly, Vic pops up and tells Louis that the soil of a man's heart is stonier and calls the doc by name. Louis is spooked the fuck out that this dead dude would know his name, let alone be talking from the extent of his fatal injuries. Pascow tells Louis not to worry, he would be seeing him soon.

That night, in fact.

Louis thinks he is dreaming when Pascow keeps his promise and comes calling. It is the middle of the night and Doc Creed has been out for awhile it would seem. Anyone in his position would think the same thing, but Pascow the Friendly Ghost impatiently urges him to hurry up, that they have places to be and shit to do. The horrific apparition leads Louis to the Pet Sematary, naturally, and tells him not to go beyond the barrier where the pets are buried, no matter how much he feels the need to.

The ground is sssssssooooooouuurrrrrrrrr…

The Creeds have a woman named Missy Dandridge (Susan Blommaert: THE AMBULANCE, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, TERROR ON TRACK 9, THE DOUBLE, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 - PARABELLUM) who rolls over to their house to wash the family's clothes and such. Missy has stomach cancer and comes to a tragic end very shortly after her introduction. Rachel doesn't attend the funeral, because she had a bad experience where it came to the death of her sister, Zelda (Andrew Hubatsek: HUMAN RESOURCES) who had spinal meningitis and made Rachel and her mother and father's lives a living hell. They were secretly glad the crazy, twisted sister finally bit the dust. I wouldn't have wanted to keep feeding her whatever slop they were giving her either. Grits? Oatmeal? Cream of Wheat? You tell me.

Thanksgiving comes along and Rachel, Ellie and Gage are going to see Rachel's parents in Boston. Big surprise, the in-laws hate Louis, especially, the dad (for reasons unknown. Most people would be cool with their son/daughter marrying a doctor. Maybe it's in the book. I haven't read it in many a' moon.) so Louis hangs out at home while Rachel and the kids leave for the holiday.

Jud calls Louis shortly after the departure of his family and tells him that Church, despite being "fixed" has become roadkill. So, once more, Louis is heading to the Pet Sematary.

In this flick, he is there more than his place of employment, or even inside his own house. It's definitely close on that last one. But they aren't there to bury the cat in the regular ground, oh no. We're going over the barrier to another place, a burial plateau used by a Native American tribe known as the Micmac. The place has magical properties that can bring dead pets back to life. Louis, of course, thinks this is ridiculous, but he plays along. Jud doesn't help him out then they finally reach their destination because each person has to bury their own. The old man hangs out and smokes, while the good doctor toils in the soil.

Louis goes home after this nonsense, and the next day, Church, miraculously, returns as if he hadn't died at all. He's different, to be sure. The cat is mean as hell, more so than he would be otherwise, as he wasn't the friendliest feline in the best of times. But Louis is glad that he hasn't got to explain to Ellie that Church getting his "nuts cut" didn't help him at all. Sometimes, adults don't know every damn thing.

Sadly, we have reached the point where very little can be said without breaking into MAJOR spoiler territory. You can figure out where this movie goes, pretty much, from when Church is buried in the Micmac ground, to when the end credits role. Somewhere, you know somebody, is going up there and it won't be the neighbor's dog down the road. Jud has a nervous denial to the contrary (at first) when the doc asks if a person has been interred there. From Louis's expression, you know he isn't buying it for a second. His momma didn't raise no fool.

Gage has something to say...
Wait. Didn't we just bury you?

I have to say, I was impressed with Director Mary Lambert's (PET SEMATARY II, TALES FROM THE CRYPT [TV], FACE OF EVIL, THE DARK PATH CHRONICLES [TV], STRANGE FREQUENCY) job on this flick. Much of her work before and after this was in the field of music videos. I wish she would have stuck on the trek she was on when she made PET SEMATARY. It is definitely one of the better King adaptations.

I really have nothing more to say here, except PET SEMATARY is my second favorite novel of Stephen King's right after, IT. The book just drips with pure evil and malice. King himself has said if he could take any of his books back, it would be PET SEMATARY and for the reasons I stated.

And… that's it.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This movie still has parts that affect me and makes my skin prickle with goose flesh. It probably always will no matter how many times I have watched it and will in the future. DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) has a few scenes like that and even though I have seen that film about a thousand times, and many gore scenes that overshadow it by a longshot, some of the earlier shocks in your life stick with you and are as effective as they were when you first had a chance to view them.

FOUR SHRIEK GIRLS

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2021 E.C.McMullen Jr.

Pet Sematary (1989) on IMDb
DRESS NICE
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
(Sub-Section: CULTURAL VARMINTS)
Tombs of the Blind Dead Gargoyles The Relic
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD
MOVIE REVIEW
GARGOYLES
MOVIE REVIEW
THE RELIC
MOVIE REVIEW

Return to Movies

FEO AMANTE'S HORROR THRILLER
Created by:
E.C.MULLEN JR.
COME FOLLOW ME @
Amazon
ECMJr
Feo Blog
IMDb
Stage32
Twitter
YouTube
Zazzle Shop