Not too long ago, I watched the original Pet Sematary. Released in 1989, it’s something of a cult classic. I know it’s always held a special place in my heart.
One of the reasons I revisited it was because I knew the reboot was being released, which I hope to see the day that this post appears on the blog. Another reason is I had the pleasure to appear on the delightful “Fanchise Fatigue” podcast with Brandon-Shea Mutala and Zach Moore.
You can hear us discussing things a little more in-depth on that site. Knowing that I was going to be talking in-depth about it, I held back a little on the written word this time. I think you’ll get a sense of why I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the movie.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll get to hear me recount the story of when I saw it in the movie theater (too young, mind you), and then completely wussed out in front of this girl I went with. I was trying to be all tough-looking and mature, and…well, when Fred Gwynne’s achilles heel gets slashed…I proved I was not as ready for the movie as I thought.
I’m completely willing to conceded that, at this point, at least part of the allure is from nostalgia. This is a film that helped mold me into more of a horror fan than I was already becoming, though I’d already become thoroughly scarred by John Carpenter’s Halloween, and its sequels. This definitely kicked open the door, though, and remains a formative film in my tastes.
My Review of the ORIGINAL Pet Sematary
This is a memorable haunted horror tale thanks to some great direction and pacing that compensate for a script which could have used some polish. Lambert gets to the core emotional moments with a great touch, and despite some obvious production limitations – including some unquestionably due to budget and technological capabilities of the era – creates a worthy horror film with some great suspense.
Fred Gwynn’s pitch perfect and the true high point of the film. He holds the cast together, which is a true testament to an under appreciated actor on the whole. You believe in him, and so believe in the rest of the cast.
As odd as it might be to say “fun” for a movie like this, it’s basically a campfire story come to life. I enjoyed it despite revisiting some moments that left deep emotional scars on a younger “kesseljunkie” when he saw this in the theater.
And that Ramones song is a classic.