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Horror Becomes Her - Pet Sematary (1989)

Horror and films directed by women are both big blind spots for me, so I am taking this deep dive into some of the more outre films I have come across in my movie watching.


Stephen King needs to be kept as far away as possible from his film adaptations. King famously decried Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining for straying too far from his book and even directed his own inferior version for television years later. His only directorial credit is the hilariously terrible Maximum Overdrive in which inanimate objects come to life and attack people. I did not read Pet Sematary so I do not know how faithful an adaptation this movie is of that book, but since King adapted it himself, I would imagine it was quite faithful. I imagine that his presence made it more difficult for director Mary Lambert to be more creative with this movie since it could have desperately used some more style.

Pet Sematary is a very televisual movie, despite its use of real Maine locations. Most of the horrific stuff happens inside houses, which seems a shame considering all the beautiful outside locations featured. It’s a bigger shame because Lambert got her start in music videos, really iconic ones like “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl” for Madonna, yet there’s nothing in this film to distinguish this film visually. The best parts of this movie were Miko Hughes, who plays one genuinely cute kid and then later one genuinely creepy little bastard. Also, I quite enjoyed Brad Greenquist as the somewhat sarcastic yet helpful ghost Victor Pascow, and Fred Gwynne as Jud, who comes as creepy yet avuncular in a pretty effective performance. Otherwise, this movie was not scary and rather dull to watch.

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