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'Pet Sematary': Bearded John Lithgow Will Convince You That Dead Is Better

By Tori Preston | Film | October 10, 2018 |

By Tori Preston | Film | October 10, 2018 |


It’s October, which means we’ve gotta savor the scares where we find them. And nobody dishes the scary quite like Stephen King, an author who is still prolific but apparently could just put the pen down at any time because Hollywood seems content to make movies based on his back catalog anyway. Hell, they’ll REMAKE ‘em! Speaking of which, what are your thoughts about dead pets and misspelled cemeteries?

King’s 1983 novel, Pet Sematary, helped cement the “ancient Indian burial ground” trope in the annals of horror history. Also cemented? That “Sematary” misspelling, a matter that confused my Mother-in-law enough that she once texted me an image of the book cover and asked why King got it wrong. ANYWAY, the first film adaptation, by director Mary Lambert (who also helmed a lot of Madonna music videos!), arrived in 1989 — and proceeded to mentally scar most of my generation (but not my Mother-in-law, apparently). And next April, 30 years after the release of the first film, we’ll get a remake from the directing duo of Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.

What I appreciate about this trailer is that it absolutely nails what I always found to be the scariest part of the story: the passing truck. Once you remove the mystical mumbo-jumbo and jump scares, it’s a story about sudden, inexplicable loss and the steps in processing that grief. Only, in this case, one of those steps is “try to cheat nature with the use of an ancient Indian burial ground that brings things back from the dead.”

“Sometimes dead is better,” says bearded Maine fogey, John Lithgow. And the man has a point. Everything that happens in Pet Sematary is a bad idea! But it also feels inevitable, somehow. And that’s the part that always stuck with me.

The film also stars Jason Clarke and Amy Seimetz as Louis and Rachel Creed, and Jeté Laurence and Hugo Lavoie as their children, Ellie and Gage. But we all know who the real star of any Pet Sematary adaptation is: THE CAT.

Also, as an aside: The font in the trailer is the throwback King novel cover font, but now all I can think about is Stranger Things when I see it. So kudos to you, Stranger Things — you’ve overwritten my nostalgia and made it your own.

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Tori Preston is deputy editor of Pajiba. She rarely tweets here but she promises she reads all the submissions for the "Ask Pajiba (Almost) Anything" column at [email protected]. You can also listen to her weekly TV podcast, Podjiba

Header Image Source: Paramount Pictures