Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mary Lambert|
|Produced by||Richard P. Rubinstein|
|Screenplay by||Stephen King|
|Based on||Pet Sematary
by Stephen King
|Music by||Elliot Goldenthal|
|Edited by||Daniel P. Hanley
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||103 minutes|
Pet Sematary (sometimes referred to as Stephen King's Pet Sematary) is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King, the film features Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, Denise Crosby as Rachel Creed, Blaze and Beau Berdahl as Ellie Creed, Miko Hughes as Gage Creed, and Fred Gwynne as Jud Crandall. Andrew Hubatsek was cast for Zelda's role. Author King has a cameo as a minister.
The Creed family; Louis, Rachel and their children Ellie and Gage move from Chicago to Ludlow, Maine, where they end up befriending the elderly neighbor Jud Crandall, who takes them to an isolated pet cemetary hidden behind the Creeds' new home.
While working at the University of Maine, Louis meets Victor Pascow, who is brought in with severe injuries from a car accident. He manages to warn Louis about the pet cemetary near his home before he dies, calling Louis by name, despite the fact they hadn't met before. After he dies, Victor comes to Louis in a dream to tell him about the dangers inherent at the cemetary. Louis awakens and assumes it was a dream, but notices his feet are covered in dirt, indicating he had gone to the cemetary. During Thanksgiving while the family is gone, Ellie's cat Church is run down on the highway by the house, Jud takes Louis beyond the cemetary and buries Church where he says the real burial ground is. Church comes back to life, though a shell of what he was before, he now appears more vicious. Sometime later, Gage is killed by a truck along the same highway. When Louis questions Jud on whether humans had been buried in the cemetary before he recounts a story of a friend named Bill who had buried his son who had died in World War II at the site but he had come back changed. Realizing the horror that he brought to the townsfolk, Jud, Bill and some friends tried to destroy Timothy by burning him to death in the house, but Bill was attacked by Timothy in the process and both were killed.
Rachel and Ellie go on a trip and Louis remains home alone. Despite Jud's warnings and Victor's attempts to stop him, Louis exhumes his son's body from the cemetary he was at and buries him instead at the ritual site. Victor appears to Rachel and warns her that Louis has done something terrible. She tries to reach out to Louis, then to Jud, informing him that she is returning home. She hangs up before Jud can warn her not to return. That night, Gage returns home and steals a scalpel from his father's bag. He taunts Jud before slashing his achiles tendon and kills him. Later, Rachel returns home and begins having visions of her disfigured sister Zelda before she had died, only to discover that it's Gage, holding a scalpel. In shock and disbelief, Rachel reaches down to hug her son and he kills her as well.
Waking up from his sleep, Louis notices Gage's footprints in the house and realizes his scalpel is missing. Getting a message from Gage that he has "played" with Jud and "Mommy" and wants to play with him now, he fills two syringes with morphine and heads to Jud's house. Encountering Church, who attacks him, he kills the cat with an injection. Gage taunts him further within Jud's house and Louis discovers Rachel's corpse, falling hanged from the attic before he is attacked by his son. After a brief battle, Louis kills Gage with the morphine injection. He then lights the house on fire, leaving it to burn as he carries Rachel from the fire. Despite Victor's continued insistence not to, Louis determines Rachel wasn't dead as long as Gage was, and that burying her would bring her back to him. Victor cries out in frustration and vanishes as Louis passes through him.
That night, playing solitare alone, Rachel returns to the house and she and Louis kiss. Unbeknownst to him, she takes a knife from the counter and as the screen goes dark there is a stabbing noise as Louis screams "NO!".
The film's score was written by Elliot Goldenthal. The film features two songs by the Ramones, one of Stephen King's favorite bands: "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" appears in a scene, and "Pet Sematary", a new track written specially for the movie, plays over the credits.
The song "Pet Sematary" became one of the Ramones' biggest charting hits, reaching number four on the Billboard 'Modern Rock Tracks' list, despite being, in the words of AMG, "reviled by most of the band's hardcore fans".
Pet Sematary received mixed reviews, garnering a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 23 reviews, while it managed a positive 63% rating from audiences. The film grossed $57 million in North America. The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song for the song Pet Sematary.
Fangoria magazine had exclusive coverage of the filming of Stephen King's Pet Sematary. Their correspondent, Rod Labbe, visited the set twice: in October 1988 (at Bangor, Maine's Mount Hope Cemetery) and in November 1988 (Ellsworth, Maine). His articles were published in the February, April and June 1989 editions of Fangoria. Labbe and Pet Sematary also had the cover story in Gorezone, July 1989, an interview with the film's director, Mary Lambert.