Pet Semetery

This isn’t your classic “zombie” flick but I’ve found more and more that stories about the living dead and the modern concept of the zombie don’t actually match the plots of most zombie movies. This, like so many other “zombie” movies basically follows the exploits of the dead, come back to life, but changed, and bent of killing.

The very first real books I started reading were by Steven King. I’d read a lot of condensed books for kids and the standard required novels and stories etc. in school up until seventh grade or so but the first real novels for adults I started reading were by King. It’s mostly because my mother was a fan, and partly because he was easily accessible to me.

I started with It.

Yeah, the big one, It. Not exactly light reading for a seventh grader. It scared me, deeply. And a few years later I read Pet Semetery having read a lot of King’s other novels along the way. I can’t say I read many novels these days, not nearly as many as I should and nothing of King’s for a few years. But this is a movie based on an old favorite.

The Poster:
Ok, I’m cheating, this is the book cover not the poster but it’s better than the movie poster anyway. It’s a brilliant image of the family cat that is the first to come back, a classic creepy black cat with a  cemetery behind above it and the sky bloody beyond. So much of the story is right here for us without us really knowing it. Perfect hints.

The Good:
The movie came out in 1989 which was a pretty amazing year at the box office. That same year we saw an amazing slew of movies including Ghostbusters 2, Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. . . it’s a HUGE list of great movies. (Click here for the full run down, you’ll be surprised.)

Pet Semetary follows the story of a family who lose their cat Church after moving in to a new house. After being buried in an ancient indian burial ground the cat comes back. And when the family’s boy Gage is run down by a truck in front of the house the father does the unthinkable and brings him back by burying him in the same Pet Semetary that brought back Church.

It’s a classic, tragic, good guy doing the right kind of thing with tragic results sort of story. You feel sorry for the grieving family and hope it all works out even knowing that it’s all going to go wrong.

The Bad:
The movie is a bit dated. The lighting and style of the movie, the sound design and music styling etc. is really indicative of the time. It’s all a bit bright and the music tends to ape the popular Danny Elfaman style.  It’s hard to explain in a short time but it feels like a lat 80’s movie and wouldn’t suffer from an update though it still holds up really well.

The Ugly:
Whenever I write my reviews I sit down and watch the movie and get a fresh perspective on them but this time I couldn’t do it. Not all the way. I have a little boy who is Gage’s age and am constantly terrified of anything bad happening to him. There are no sidewalks in our neighborhood here so cars freak me the hell out and I just couldn’t bear to watch this knowing what would happen. It’s a great example of how our perspectives change. In high school this movie didn’t bother me at all. I was never squeamish. Now though, I just can’t watch it.

I did skip through it a bit and refresh a few scenes just to confirm what I remembered:

– The acting is pretty stiff, and just doesn’t feel real to me now.
– The sister with he spinal meningitis still freaks me the hell out.
– The gore is pretty well done particularly Denise Crosby’s eye in the end of the movie. WOW! Talk about ugly! Not Denise Crosby, just that eye. Super gross.



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Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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