Pet SemataryPet Sematary
Director: Mary Lambert

Cast: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Based on one of Stephen King’s darker stories, and that’s saying something, Pet Semetary was an oftentimes spooky as hell horror movie when it came out in 1989 and it is still one of the better King adaptations to the big screen today. So how does this modern-ish classic stack up as a new Blu-ray release? Does paramount give it the love that it deserves, or is it a quickie cash grab put out just in time for the Halloween season? Well grab a shovel, your dead cat, and let’s head out to the old Indian burial ground and let’s find out.

A young doctor named Louis and his small family move into a house in Main, and if you know anything about Stephen King, then you’ll know that is never a good thing. There is a high speed road nearby and across from it another house belonging to a local yokel named Jud played to old timey country perfect by veteran actor Fred “Herman Munster” Gwynne. One day the family cat gets squished crossing the road and Jud leads Louis to the woods behind his house to where the titular pet semetary (yep, that’s how it is spelled) is … and then he leads him right past it to the shunned and haunted ancient Indian burial ground. The old bone yard is shunned because anything that is buried there comes back to life, but it comes back wrong.

After the cat, Church, comes back all crazy and evil, Louis’ toddler son meets a tragic end thanks to the damned road. So what’s an insane with grief father to do? That’s right, burry his dead baby in the haunted Indian graveyard so that he can comeback all evil and demon possessed. Sounds like a hell of a plan to me. Naturally that’s when the fun really begins, but I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to discover. Chances are if you’re a horror fan then you’ve already seen this one as its pretty much a mandatory watch. But just in case you haven’t, then I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises. Just trust me when I say that if you like horror movies that actually are scary, then Pet Semetary is the movie for you.

The new Blu-ray from Paramount has a few extras that deserve some love, even if they come back from the dead. There’s an audio commentary track with director Mary Lambert. There’s a 13 minute featurette called “Stephen King Territory” about the inspirations behind King writing the book that inspired the movie. This little special contains vintage interviews with King at the time of the movie being made and I found it pretty darn informative. There’s a near 13 minute featurette about the characters in the book and film called (surprise, surprise) “The Characters.” Last but not least there is a ten minute retrospective sort of behind the scenes thing called “Filming the Horror.” Oddly, there are no trailers to be found here. I can’t remember the last time I saw that. Oh and one more thing, the Blu-ray comes in a cool 3D lenticular slipcase. Yeah that’s just a bit of silliness, but it’s still kind of cool, even if the kitty’s furry brow is ridiculously furrowed to give it an evil look.

Pet Sematary is a great, spooky, creepy, and even sad movie. It’s one of the best movies to be made from a Stephen King book. Not, not the best, but it’s up there. This new Blu-ray looks great, it has some cool special features, and when you combine both of those with a movie this good it gets pretty easy to recommend it. If all you have is the bare bones DVD like I did, this this is well worth the upgrade. If you don’t have this movie already in your fright film library then what are you waiting for? Go treat yourself and get it today.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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