Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pet Sematary (1989)

"Go ahead, lie down, play dead, BE DEAD!"

Back in 1998 / 1999, I was going through every horror movie I could find. Those were the years in which I spent all of my free time getting acquainted with all the classic horror movies. Finally I came across Pet Sematary, this wasn’t my first Stephen King movie, but it soon became my favorite. This movie actually scared me. And when you think about the plot, it doesn’t sound very scary. Just another living dead movie, right? Wrong.

The movie follows the character Louis Creed (Midkiff) and his family as they move into a new home in Maine, moving there from Chicago. There Louis is the new doctor at the college university. While unpacking they meet their new neighbor from across the street Jud Crandall (Gwynne) who takes them and their 2 children on a hike to the pet cemetery. After the family cat is killed, Jud tells Louis about a different cemetery that if you bury your pet there they come back, but they are not the same. In other words, they come back and they are evil. When tragedy strikes the family, and Louis’ son is killed he decides to bury him in that cemetery, against the wishes of Jud. After that all hell breaks loose.

This movie is fantastic. The storyline is really good, and I am very happy to see Stephen King wrote the screenplay as well. It’s always better when the author writes the screenplay as well (King even makes a cameo as the minster at Louis’ son’s funeral). The acting is pretty incredible, both Dale Midkiff and Fred Gwynne are the best, but I think the best acting award goes to 2 year old Miko Hughes. At the end of the movie his character becomes evil and actually kills a bunch of people, and Hughes hits it on the head. He is unbelievable for a 2 year old! There are some bad seeds in the acting apple though. Those go to Denise Crosby, playing the mother Rachel and Blaze Berdahl playing the daughter. Especially Berdahl, she is terrible. I know she was a child actor, but I’m pretty sure Mary Lambert could have found a better child actress. Also, speaking of director Mary Lambert, I want to say she is not very talented. Granted the movie was great, but she doesn’t know how to pick them. Why she came back for Pet Sematary Two is beyond me, and she went on to direct Urban Legends: Bloody Mary so I have very little respect for her. Fred Gwynne is fantastic in his part of Jud. He’s mostly remembered for playing Herman Munster on the 1960s TV sitcom The Munsters, so seeing him playing a regular character was kind of odd, but he played the southern accented Jud excellently.

The movie is scary for many reasons, but the one part in the movie that really scared the crap out of me was the sister of Denise Crosby’s character. She had a sister who had spinal meningitis and died. This all takes place in the past, but the reason it scared me was because of the look of the sister. First off, it was played by a man, a very ugly man. Secondly, the makeup was made to make her look even worse. So we have this very ugly man, locked away in a dark room with all this makeup on to make him look terribly disgusting. So, I have a hard time, even now watching that scene, because it makes me sick.

Overall, this is my favorite Stephen King movie. Most of King’s movies are pretty decent. He’s a talented writer and I think he should write more of his books into movies. Enough of this crap of having other people write them. King! Get out there and write them yourself!