In Stephen King's Pet Sematary, a family loses their young son in a tragic accident, only to discover that the nearby pet cemetery has the otherworldly ability to bring anything buried there back to life, with the father putting these abilities to the test with his loved ones. In the 1989 film adaptation, similar events unfold, with the final moments depicting what happens when one family member comes back to life with a thirst for blood. The director of that adaptation, Mary Lambert, recently revealed that the ending she originally filmed was slightly different from the theatrical cut, though she doubts it will ever be released.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Pet Sematary
In the film, Louis Creed buries his wife in the pet cemetery, only for her to return to life and head back to their home, wielding a knife, with the camera cutting away from the two only to hear Louis scream out in terror. Lambert admitted that the original ending was much more ambiguous regarding the fate of the characters.
"The original scene as written was more spooky and sad… tragic," Lambert shared with Bloody Disgusting. "It was more like the clanging of the bell and Louis is sitting in the dark kitchen playing Solitaire. He's waiting to see what will happen, and then Rachel comes back and you see that she only has on one high heel and she's dead."
By leaving the fate of the two characters more ambiguous, Lambert felt her movie ended on a more tragic than horrifying note.
"It's like, 'This isn't gonna be good but what is it gonna be?' It kind of leaves a question mark," the filmmaker explained. "I like ambivalence, especially in an ending, honestly, because rarely in life is there a resolution, a clean, happy ending resolution where, 'Oh, we know exactly what's going to happen now.' They're going to live happily ever after or they're not gonna live happily ever after if it's a tragic ending."
This isn't to say that she likes the theatrical ending any less, rather that the alternate version changes the overall tone of the ending.
"It needed more of a punch," Lambert noted. "Honestly I think the ending that we have is less scary but more fun. You know that something really bad is now going to happen to Louis; that she's going to rip his head off probably."
Lambert explained that, because the differences are so subtle, the alternate ending will likely never be released. She detailed, "Really the only thing that's different is the makeup. It was a whole new makeup design. She didn't have half her head eaten away like she does [now]. The prosthetics in Pet Sematary were great. The guys who did it were great. So they went back and did a full-on new design and did a face cast of Denise which we hadn't done previously. That was Lance Anderson. He did a great job. If the previous ending were really different it might [be worth showing], but basically it's the same thing. Louis is playing cards in the kitchen, the clock strikes midnight and Rachel comes back. It's just how big she comes back. She comes back grotesque and holding a knife and ready to carve him up and eat him, whereas in the other one it's more bittersweet. We know it's not going to be what he wants. She's not coming back as his wife."
The original Pet Sematary is out now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
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