Welcome, dear readers, to Substream’s 31 Days of Halloween. While every holiday captures the hearts and minds of the Substream staff, Halloween holds an especially important place in our hearts. Now that we’ve entered the month of October, it’s time for us to share our love for this holiday with you.
Every single day in October, our collection of spooky staff writers and ghoulish guest contributors will walk you through a horror or Halloween-themed movie they adore. The goal is to both celebrate the titans and icons of the season while also introducing you to new films and scares to fill your autumn nights. Lock your doors, check under your bed, and settle in as you join Substream for our 31 Days of Halloween.
Day 21: Pet Sematary (1989)
Carrie, which I wrote about earlier this month, kicked off the slew of Stephen King adaptations to come, including Pet Sematary, which tells a story that can leave a mark on anyone. Mary Lambert took on the task of adapting one of King’s most horrifying stories (and a personal favorite of mine). While some of the visual aspects might not look great in 2019, for 1989 those visuals would still terrify many people.
The thing that’s great about Pet Sematary is that King takes an ordinary situation that could happen to anyone (it almost happened to him, in fact) and twists it into something even darker. One of King’s sons nearly ended up being run over in the road, but thankfully that story has a much happier ending. It’s that life experience that made something much more horrible flash before his eyes and inspired him to write the story.
Pet Sematary isn’t exactly some sort of cinematic masterpiece, but it has a lot going for it. Fred Gwynne as Jud Crandall is something I think everyone should experience at least once. He plays the role so well and Dale Midkiff sells his character as the grieving father who just wants his family together again. Denise Crosby’s performance is fine overall, and it doesn’t detract too much from everything.
The loss of a child is something that often tears families apart, and the Creed family is no exception. As soon as Louis gets to work, he’s met by this tragic event and things just get worse from there. It leaves you thinking, how could one family have so much bad luck in such a short period of time? Sometimes life throws a curveball at you and you don’t know what to do. Then your friendly neighbor makes a suggestion that they probably shouldn’t and things tailspin even more from there. That’s the gist of the movie without giving too much away for those who haven’t seen it. For those who have, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
While the movie doesn’t give the ending I would have preferred, which would be exactly how the book ended, it’s still effective. Another missing aspect from the novel is the inclusion of Norma Crandall. She’s alive when the book begins, but never makes an appearance in the adaptation (either of them, for that matter). I feel like it would have given a little more context to who Jud was as a person, but I understand that when you’re working with novels that can be as long as King’s, it is hard to include everything you would like to see.
Despite those two issues, I find the movie enjoyable and highly recommend checking it out this Halloween season. Sometimes dead is better, isn’t it?