Adamantium Bullet

31 Days Of Horror: PET SEMATARY

For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror film a day leading up to Halloween. Each film will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All will be endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s “All 80s” edition of 31 DAYS OF HORROR.

In this episode, J Bryant and AngieBee discuss the freaky deaky 1989 film adaptation of Stephen King's PET SEMATARY starring Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Miko Hughes, and Fred Gwynne.

After moving to an idyllic home in the Maine countryside, life seems perfect for the Creed family ...but not for long. Louis (Dale Midkiff) and Rachel Creed (Denise Crosby) and their two young children settle in to a house that sits next door to a pet cemetery - built on an ancient Indian burial ground. Their mysterious new neighbor, Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne), hides the cemetery's darkest secret ...until a family tragedy brings the secret to life. Now, an unthinkable evil is about to be resurrected.

From STEPHEN KING, the Master of the Macabre, comes a journey that leads to hell and back. Though not everyone survives the trip. For the Creeds, home is where the horror is.

Ten …maybe eleven. That number all depends on whether or not the truck driver died. It’s never clearly spelled out in the film what happened to him so we’re gonna let him live and die in this BODY COUNT and leave you to decide which fate you prefer. As far as the ten count gender/species breakdown goes, five men, three women, one little boy, and a cat die on-screen. If you went with the eleven count, you can add one extra man.

The MOST MEMORABLE KILL in PET SEMATARY, without a doubt, was when little Gage (Miko Hughes) was straight-up flattened by a semi. I mean, seriously, could we have chosen any other kill for this category? Sure, the death of Jud was f*cking brutal what with his Achilles tendon getting sliced and throat being eaten. And yeah, you could possibly go with the death of Pascow (Brad Greenquist), but his was off-screen and what mostly gets you there is the gory aftermath. And yes, yes, yes, you could maybe go with when Gage comes back to life (thanks to the healing power of the Pet Sematary’s hidden Micmac burial ground) and his father has to put him down with a syringe full of poison, but that comes AFTER his first death. That’s technically a zombie kill.

Gage’s first death is where the impact is. Not too many movies are brave enough to annihilate a toddler and then semi-realistically show the aftermath. We, the audience, are witness to the anguish of Louis and his family. We see them grappling with what has happened, thumbing through old photos and memories, fighting with family at the funeral, all the things that happen in real life and not usually in horror films that are just supposed to be about blood and scares. That’s why the death of Gage has the power and that’s why it wins this category.

Louis goes shirtless for a bit and that’s about it. Enjoy!

While the downer ending that shows Louis didn’t learn a damn thing is all kinds of great, there’s no denying that the SIGNATURE MOMENT of PET SEMATARY is Gage’s death. It’s just that powerful, even moreso if you happen to be a parent. Teenagers and younger viewers likely just see a sick kill in a sick little horror film. Parents get to see one of their worst f*cking nightmares fully realized for entertainment purposes.

Louis is warned not to toy with the potentially evil resurrection burial ground by both Jud (who knows exactly what that place is capable of) and Pascow (who was apparently left on Earth as a ghost for the sole purpose of warning Louis not to bury anyone up there), but yet he does what he’s been told not to do. While there wouldn’t be a film to watch if Louis had done the right thing, him doing the wrong thing was still a pretty big IDIOT MOMENT.

It’s a three-way tie between Jud’s house burning to the ground and the fire department not showing up, Louis grave robbing in broad daylight, and little Gage being able to move adult bodies around during the finale. Each and every one of those moments was a solid “WTF?!?” MOMENT.

> Stephen King was present on location for most of the shooting of the film. The area it was shot in was only twenty minutes away from his home in Bangor, Maine.

> The film was shot on location in the same rural Maine area that Stephen King set the novel PET SEMATARY.

> Bruce Campbell was the first choice for the role of Louis Creed.

> Actor Brad Greenquist had said, in an interview, that while in his gruesome makeup for the role of Victor Pascow, no one would sit near him while the cast and crew were having lunch.

> When Stephen King first wrote the manuscript for Pet Sematary, he shelved it. It was only when his wife told him to publish it after finding and reading it did he take it to his publisher.

> Two twin actresses played the role of Ellie Creed. Blaze Berdahl, however, was mainly credited for the role while Beau Berdahl Oliver is credited as "Ellie Creed II."

> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this review was sourced from IMDB.

Posted by J. Bryant

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