Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary (1989)
AKA: The Cat Came Back

This movie is about a young doctor or something (Dale Midkiff) who moves to a quiet little village in Maine with an evil secret. The evil secret being mainly that it has the highest mortality rate (both for pets and humans) of any small town without a fishing industry. I mean seriously, people seem to drop like flies there.

But whatever. So buddy moves into this big huge house right next to the highway where tractor trailers go zooming by at all times of the day and instead of putting up a fence around his property to protect his cat and two small children from running out onto the road, he sits around and drinks beer with the friendly/creepy guy (Fred Gwynne, who my boyfriend informs me played Papa Munster on the Munsters) next door.

When the family cat gets run over by a truck, Papa Munster takes buddy to bury it in the ancient indian burial ground (fuck) behind the pet cemetery. In a shocking twist of events, the cat comes back to life, only it comes back evil. Why? Because the ground is sour. Why? Because it is. But why???? Probably something to do with Satan. Why? Because it's Stephen King.

A little while later in the movie buddy's kid gets hit by a truck and dies (and it had to be the really cute kid, not the bratty one) so, ignoring the warnings of Papa Munster because apparently he's a friggin tool, buddy goes and plants the little kid in the ancient indian burial ground. Hilarity ensues. The weirdest part being that despite being creamed by a Mack truck and spending a couple of days in the ground the kid exhibits no wounds other than some Chucky looking stitches on his forehead. Then later when chick chick comes back to life (spoiler warning) she comes back full on zombie, like dripping eyeballs and skin peeling off, even though she was hanged an hour or so before she was brought back. What the fuck.

But I digress. There are really only two things which bother me about this situation:

Number one, why is it that when anything cool ever happens, it has to be evil? Like, why couldn't the ground just bring people back to life without turning them into murdering psychopaths? It doesn't make any sense that that would happen anyway. Like, seriously. Okay, I know that things coming back from the dead isn't strictly scientific but I will suspend my reasoning apparatus long enough to accept that. But come on. Why does it make them evil? Not only evil but completely destructive. Whatever.

Number two, why the fuck would buddy do that anyway? He knew that the cat came back evil, Papa Munster told him that the kid would come back evil... seriously. Apparently he was too busy expressing his emotions to an annoying degree to even think about what was going on. I guess that I, having no children, can't really put myself in that mindframe but... well... I just wouldn't do that.

I guess really it comes down to the fact that everything Stephen King does is basically a morality tale. To be fair, most of the best and oldest horror stories are, and this is really just an update of "The Monkey's Paw" anyway but that just bothers me on some level.

Now that I think of it, there is a third problem I have with this movie which is more characteristic of Stephen King stories - they couldn't just have one thing going on in here. It's not bad enough to have this satanic graveyard that brings its dead back as evil monsters. No, there have to be ghosts (forgot to mention that not only was buddy warned by Papa Munster not to put the kid in the cemetery, there's also this guy who gets smucked by a truck and comes back frequently in ghost form to warn buddy and his family to avoid the "place where the dead walk"), psychic phenomena (the obnoxious little girl has visions warning buddy and his family to avoid the place where the dead walk) and hallucinations of chick chick's terminally ill, psychotic and possibly possessed older sister which doesn't have anything to do with the movie really.

I mean, when they first brought up the Scary Sister, chick chick goes on about how they kept this girl alive and locked in a bedroom until she turns into a hideous, deranged monster so I was kind of expecting them to do that with the kid (i.e., lock him in a room and keep him alive until it becomes completely unbearable) but no, they didn't do that. Mind you, had they done that it would have added like an hour plus to the movie but then they could have cut out all that other horseshit at the beginning, including but not limited to Ghost Dude.

To summarize, this movie is not terrible. It's mediocre, but watchable Stephen King filler and compared to some other movies based off of his novels (Cujo for example) it's pretty good. It's just kind of... lame. Over and out.


Directed by: Mary Lambert. Written by: Stephen King, based on his own novel. Starring: Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Blaze Berdahl, Miko Hughes, Brad Greenquist.

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