Pet Sematary (1989) Beastly Burials, Ghouls, and the Living Dead

When asked to write an article describing my favorite horror movie, I would have to go with Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, the most ominous horror movie ever made! Audiences knew they were in for a wild ride from the moment the chilling titles and introductory music pealed through the speakers of theaters and living rooms, instantly setting teeth on edge.

For this writer, no other horror movie has scratched, clawed, and buried its way in to my memory like Pet Sematary. As a child, I remember the horrifying scene of three-year-old Gage Creed being splattered all over the pavement of the country road where a semi-tractor trailer took his young life while chasing a kite.

What about that creepy ghost kid, Victor Pascow, who took on a Virgil type role (see Dante Alighieri’s epic poem “The Inferno”) to lead Louis Creed along the way in his journey throughout the movie to uncover the secrets of the pet cemetery?

The most frightening character of the whole movie is Zelda Goldman, the emaciated sister of Rachel Creed. The scenes with her are so eerie it almost feels like she’s in the room with you. Kept away in a back bedroom, Zelda’s painful groans, her sunken face and the rickety spinal column of her back deliver goosebumps to even to the most fearless horror fan. Of course, there’s a terrifying jump scare featuring Zelda when she lurches from the bed and runs toward the camera. In true horror fashion, she begins to cackle a menacing and nightmarish snicker that causes more knots to wriggle in your stomach than a gut full of worms.

Stephen King’s tale of one man’s wrestling match with grief, and the Orpheus like quest Louis Creed took to bring his loved one back from the dead, is a story woven in the fabric of panic and distress, especially for audience members. At times, the movie leaves you in utter suspense and other times you forget to breathe.

As a hardcore horror fan, Pet Sematary has all the grim elements it takes to entertain audiences pining to be disturbed. From the tone of the screen play, to the acting, and all the way down to the practical effects, this movie has lingered in my memory like nauseous flatulence that refuses to dissipate!

Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, this movie has rendered me sleepless many nights as a child, because I was convinced everything I saw in the movie was real. That is the mark of a master storyteller, superior filmmaking, and dexterity of the psychology of horror.

In terms of production, is the movie flawless? No. Certainly, ardent fans of horror can pick it apart piece by piece and uncover plot holes and faults, but where is the fun in doing that? This article doesn’t seek to do that, except to mention that the audience can get lost in the story if comparing to modern advances in movie making technology.

It is my professional opinion as an accredited critic that Pet Sematary rightly deserves to be the crown jewel of horror movies due to its ghastly nature. If you haven’t seen this horror movie masterpiece, then you owe it to yourself to join the countless throng of horror fans like me who agree that Pet Sematary is by far the filthiest, grittiest, and most hellacious horror movie ever made!

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