Stephen King continues to dominate the world of horror, with a new adaptation of his novel Pet Sematary set to land in theaters next year. Entertainment Weekly has debuted the very first images from the film to tease audiences with the horrors to come.
The film's official synopsis reads, “Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.”
Scroll down to get your first look at the film before it lands in theaters on April 5, 2019.
[H/T Entertainment Weekly]
As with many of Stephen King's most popular stories, the inspiration for this novel came from a real-world experience he had with his family.
Stephen King's website describes, "Stephen was serving as a writer-in-residence at the University of Maine at Orono and living in a rented house in nearby Orrington that bordered a major truck route which frequently claimed the lives of dogs and cats. In the woods behind his house, local children had created an informal pet cemetery. One day, his daughter’s cat was killed by a passing truck. Stephen was faced with the task of burying the cat in the pet cemetery and then explaining to his daughter what had happened.”
The site adds, "It was on the third day after the burial that the idea for a novel came to him.”prevnext
John Lithgow takes on the role of Jud Crandall in the film, with the role previously having been played by The Munsters star Fred Gwynne.
“He is a good man, but he is a good man with troubles in his life,” Lithgow shared with Entertainment Weekly about his character. “And he’s grown up with some real demons.”
This isn't Lithgow's first brush with horror, with some of the actor's other genre outings including Blow Out and Raising Cain, with one of his more memorable roles being a serial killer on the hit series Dexter. Interestingly, Lithgow's Dexter co-star Michael C. Hall recently narrated an audiobook of Pet Sematary.prevnext
In the novel, Clarke plays a doctor, which co-director Dennis Widmyer thinks is a key component in what motivates the story. In addition to a grieving father doing what he thinks is best for the family, his medical expertise influences his decisions to resurrect his son.
Widmyer described Louis as “a guy who thinks he has death figured out. ‘I see death every day, I work in an ER. Don’t tell me about death, I understand death.’ But he doesn’t understand death when it’s dropped onto his lap. He’ll do whatever he can to undo it.
Arguably the most iconic image of the novel and previous film adaptation of the story is the undead cat Churchill, having been buried and come back to life, yet has clearly undergone a change. Co-director Kevin Kölsch
“Having a pet die is a way that a lot of kids learn about death, and how to deal with death for the first time,” Kölsch notes. “It kind of helps you accept death as a natural part of life.”prevnext
Many of King's stories emphasize the connections between the members of the family, with Pet Sematary arguably being one of the more emotionally effective journeys. From the ways the loss of Churchill shatters the family to the death of Gage, the Creed family's relocation was meant to be a positive change in their lives, which ultimately proves the biggest mistake they could have made.
Additionally, Rachel Creed (Amy Seimetz) has darkness in her past. As a young girl, she was tasked with caring for her sister Zelda who suffered from spinal meningitis. The physical impact took an alarming toll on her sister, with Rachel often wishing for her sister's death as an ends to the family's suffering.prevnext
Rachel's difficulties coping with death and loss in regards to her sister Zelda ultimately carries over into how she raises her children, complicating matters when tragic events begin to unfold.
“Rachel went through something extremely traumatic when she was younger with her sister, and she freezes up when death is talked about,” Seimetz shared. “She doesn’t want to face it and doesn’t want her daughter to go through the same thing."
She added, “It’s a hard topic for her to discuss. Not just because she wants to protect her kid, but also because she’s protecting some part of herself as well.”prevnext
Topping the Original
One of the biggest movies of last year was IT, based on King's massive tome. The story was previously adapted into a live-action miniseries in 1990, with last year's adaptation surpassing its predecessor in a number of ways.
With Pet Sematary previously having earned a film, this new adaptation's screenwriter thinks it could be the scariest King adaptation ever.4comments
"I will say this, if you love the book, you’ll love this movie," Jeff Buhler previously shared with Dread Central. "Dennis and Kevin are both such visionaries in terms of how they’ve approached it, from not only a horror standpoint but also a character standpoint, and it’s been really gratifying to work with those guys. I think we’re on track to it make one of the scariest Stephen King adaptations ever! That’s our goal anyway.”
Pet Sematary hits theaters on April 5, 2019.prev