HomeMoviesMovie-versaries: Pet Sematary (1989)

Movie-versaries: Pet Sematary (1989)

Pet Sematary

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Stephen King classic, Pet Sematary. With the retelling recently hitting theaters, fans have been feeling the nostalgia for the original Mary Lambert-directed film. Let’s take a look at the cult classic and why people love it so much

Pet Sematary focuses on the Creed family, Louis (Dale Midkiff), Rachel (Denise Crosby), Ellie (Blaze Berdahl) and Gage (Miko Hughes), as they move into their new home in Maine. Louis is a big city doctor looking for a slower-paced job, so he accepts a position at the local university in a more rural setting. Their new home comes equipped with several acres of land, a pet cemetery (spelled Pet Sematary on the sign) and a busy road that truckers like to speed down.

When Ellie’s beloved cat, Church, is hit by a truck, their new neighbor, Jud (Fred Gwynne), shows Louis another burial ground on this property-one that makes the dead come back to life, albeit different than before. A series of unfortunate events leads to an overuse of the burial ground and more than one dead family member rising with a taste for murder. Sometimes what is dead is better left dead.
Despite the mediocre acting–mostly from Midkiff and Berdahl–Pet Sematary is a very scary film. From the moment you see the truck go flying by on their quiet road, you know something horrible is going to happen. When Church dies, you’re almost fooled into believing that his death is what you have been dreading since seeing the truck, but it only gets worse.

They take Hughes, who is quite possibly the cutest child actor to ever exist, and they SPOILER kill the poor little guy off, violently. Then they have him return as this adorable, yet homicidal, little jerk in a suit and top hat, wielding a scalpel and it is one of the scariest things I have ever seen. The only thing more frightening than Gage is Rachel’s sister Zelda (Andrew Hubatsek), who, let’s be honest, still gives people nightmares. Alright, she still gives ME nightmares.

I do want to take a moment to defend a guy who has gotten a bum rap for the past 30 years: Jud. Most people want to blame him for the events that unfold after the death of the cat because he is the one who shows Louis that burial ground—despite knowing what will happen. However, I say it is the Creed family’s own fault. Had they kept Church an indoor cat, he never would’ve been hit and then Jud wouldn’t have had to show Louis where to bury him in order to protect Ellie’s feelings. Maybe, just maybe, Gage still would’ve been splattered by that truck, but, again, Louis knew about the trucks that flew through and could have put up a fence. It is pure neglect on the part of the Creed family. They deserved everything they got. Well, maybe not Gage because he is so damn cute, even in his little murder hat.

30 years later and I still love Pet Sematary. It is still one of my go-to films every October or when I just really want to be creeped out.  It is just a solid horror film, no matter how much it ages. Sure, it deviates from the book a bit, but not so much that you’ll ever hear fans complain about it. In fact, you will hear them defend it to the death against the retelling, which I will admit to also enjoying. Yes folks, they can and will coexist.

Pet Sematary (2019) is currently in theaters. I do recommend going to see it, but if you’re set-in-you-ways and won’t like any remake or retelling of any beloved horror film, you can just pop in the 1989 tried-and-true version and help us celebrate the anniversary of the original. 30 years down and here is to 30 more.

Ann Hale
Ann Hale
Just a giant nerd in love with horror, 80's action flicks, Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @scarletjupiter to talk horror or just to browse the horror collection.

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