As we continue our Midsummer Night's Scream, Si Shepherd looks back at Pet Sematary.
I have one rule with which I determine a good horror movie - does it stay with you? Pet Sematary clearly ticks the 'YES' box with a big fat black permanent marker pen.
This was the first Stephen King book to movie adaptation I ever saw, and ranks a close second behind Re-Animator as my favourite 1980s horror movie. Following in the same theme, we are resurrecting the dead with disastrous results. Despite it's rather predictable, almost cheesy premise, it works, and although it eliminates and adapts much of the original novel I think this still remains the best adaptation of King's proper horror stories - yes, I rank it above Carrie.
Pet Sematary is an uncomfortable movie to watch. We have an average American family who move to Maine into, what seems to be, a bit of a cursed house. The kids have a couple of small accidents, nothing terrible but it's a foreshadowing of what is to come. Location wise, this isn't the best property. Out the front we have a highway frequently used by large trucks, and out the back is a pet cemetery where the local children bury their beloved animals.
Aw... nice, right?
The land was once an ancient Indian burial ground, and animals that have been buried there have come back to life, although upon return they are not always the pleasant family pet they once where. So naturally after the family's cat is run over the 'Pet Sematary' is put to test.
What follows is one sick, twisted memorable moment after another, as things escalate out of control. There's a sub plot featuring flashbacks of the 'Mother's' childhood, with her sister Zelda who suffers from spinal meningitis. It ranks as one of the most frightening moments I have ever seen. Then there's this scene...
...heart stopping. I defy anyone to watch that part and not feel the tension.
As I said at the beginning, Pet Sematary will stay with you. It's a must see horror film, most definitely a product of its time but that works in its favour. If this was made today then I doubt it would have been produced the same way and the personal impact of the movie would've been dampened. If you've never seen Pet Sematary, correct that error right away. You won't regret it, but you might not get much sleep for the following few days.