It’s the Booze Talkin’: It’s time to return to Stephen King’s Pet Sematary!

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

One of the most important voices in my young life happened to be a very popular horror author. There is something about Stephen King’s indelible understanding of youth, and the struggles they find that most dismiss or won’t admit to. After all, nearly every single one of his tales revolves around childhood and the dark forces that clearly resent that purity of innocence. One of my favorite novels from Mr. King is one that he didn’t even want to release. Pet Sematary is a story he felt was too bleak and hopeless. And frankly, it kind of is. Yet I personally love that. The level of grief and horror that he put these characters through is kind of extraordinary. After all, the thought of your own child becoming what Gage becomes may be one of the most painful things a parent could imagine. All this could certainly make a morbidly dark horror flick… and we are still waiting for a truly great one.

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As a fan of the book, I was certainly excited to see the feature film when I finally had the opportunity. And yes, I even liked much of what was on display. Denise Crosby and Dale Midkiff made for a mostly sympathetic mom and dad, but Miko Hughes and Blaze Berdahl were terrific as the youngsters – Miko is up there with the best of the best when it comes to young genre actors. And then there was the legendary Fred Gwynne as Jud Crandall. What an iconic performance that man gives. King himself wrote the screenplay, and directing duties went to Mary Lambert who up until then had been known for music videos from Madonna, Janet Jackson and a few other notable artists. The 1989 film was a moderate success, at least to warrant PET SEMATARY 2 three years later.

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Watching PET SEMATARY as a child, I was certainly freaked out. The scene with Gage and the truck is beyond heartbreaking, as is the parents’ sense of loss. Thankfully, the actors did a good enough job with the material. However, this is also a movie that has not aged terribly well. It is at times uneven, and it lacks the sublime storytelling that permeates throughout King’s better adaptations. And with the recent success of the big screen version of IT and the Netflix original movie Gerald’s Game, it may be time to take another walk deep into the woods, and find that sinister path that leads to the place where children bury their deceased pets.

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There was a time when everyone raged about yet another remake – I guess many of you may still be doing just that. However, it may be a bit pointless to complain as of late. New versions of classics are far from a rarity. We have a renewed interest in bringing Stephen King’s work back to the big screen, and since we’ve witnessed several successful translations, the idea of seeing what could really be done to PET SEMATARY is an exciting prospect. With the recent announcement that Jason Clarke may be taking on the role of Louis Creed, I’m all the more invested. This is also an incredible and frightening story, one that could become something really special with an artist who has the right vision for it.

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One of the most exciting filmmaking duos I’ve seen over the past few years happens to be the talented directors behind the Hollywood nightmare, STARRY EYES. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer have an eye for the weird and wonderful. The two haven’t had their chance to offer up a bigger budget feature, but they did get a taste by directing a couple episodes of Scream: The TV Series. Even still. STARRY EYES and their contribution to the anthology film HOLIDAYS – a little Carrie-esque no? – gives me hope that they have something special to offer when it comes to dwelling in King territory. Clearly not a sure bet, but these dudes aren’t afraid to go really f*cking dark, and PET SEMATARY is really f*cking dark.

stephen king pet sematary dennis widmyer kevin kolsch jason clarke horror remake

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but it’s time for a return to Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Hey, I dug the original film. As a kid it really freaked me out. Yet it just doesn’t hold up as well as it should. We are a long ways away from getting a look at anything Dennis and Kevin have in store, but with their dark sense of horror thrills, as well as the current love audiences have for the author, it feels like the perfect time. And speaking of perfect, the addition of Jason Clarke as Louis Creed is a brilliant choice. When it comes to Hollywood, you can always count on certain things. The success of IT has created a brand new excitement for King’s work. And while there is likely going to be more bad films than good, I have a feeling that Widmyer and Kolsch are going to give us the PET SEMATARY worthy of King’s name.

Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.