Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary

pet sematary header

Pet Sematary is the first horror film that his dad, Jim, took him to see in the theater – when he was 10 years old. Jim joins us on this podcast to explain himself and help us pick apart this classic Stephen King adaptation.

pet sematary poster
Expand to read episode transcript
Automatic Transcript

Pet Sematary (1989)

Episode 31, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw Podcast

Craig:  Welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Craig.

Todd:  I’m Todd.

Craig:  And today we have a very special guest. Very special to me anyway. It’s my dad, Jim Higgins. You wanna say hi?

Jim:  My name’s Jim. Hi.

Todd: Hey, Jim.

Craig:  Well, I’ve been trying to get my dad to come do this, with us for a while, and it’s not like I had to pull his leg or anything. I mean, he he agreed to do it right away. We just haven’t gotten around to it till now, and I’m excited to have him here in honor of our special guest. I guess I really kinda picked the movie. We we talked about it, but we picked Pet Sematary because this was the first horror movie, I think, that my dad took me to, just just he and I when, when I was a kid.

Todd:  So we you saw this in the theaters?

Craig:  Yeah. We did. Oh. Yeah. And this movie and this movie came out in, 1989, which means I was 10 years old, and I I saw that it was released on April 21st. So I had just turned 10 years old. So what were you thinking taking a 10 year old to this movie? That’s

Todd:  kinda what I wanna know. Well, kinda what

Jim:  I was thinking. I mean, I’ve always been an avid horror movie fan, and I’ve watched watched them all my life from I remember when I was probably Craig age back then. When when I was 10, we’d watch the old werewolf and Dracula and Frankenstein. Those were the scary movies back in the day. But as as time progressed, the movies have evolved, you know, quite a bit since since then. But Craig and I started watching horror movies like the werewolf Frankenstein when he was probably, oh, I guess, 6 years old. Yeah. 26 years old.  Yeah. And we kind of moved on after that I’d shown we’d shown an old werewolf movie where the transformation was pretty funny now that you look back on it watching that. But we’d watched Werewolf in London where the transformation was just I mean, it was scary.

Craig:  I remember that. That was at your brother Chris’s apartment that we watched that. And, I I think that I wasn’t really even supposed to be watching it. I think that you guys tried to send me off into another room, but I kept coming back in and eventually you just kinda let me hang out. I but I I remember that.

Todd:  That is a great transformation scene.

Craig:  Yeah. It

Jim:  was a transformation scene. And from there, it just evolved. He, you know, he he made it through that that movie, and and we’d watch Friday 13th movies and the Halloween. And this got up to us. When this came out with Stephen King, and and I love Stephen King. When that pet cemetery came out, I read the book. I thought and it came out in a movie and I thought, man, this is gonna be great. And so I took Craig and that was probably for me to see, you know, bringing a 10 year old.  I didn’t think anything about it because we’ve been watching horror movies for for years, but there’s no hardly no other kids in there. All adults. And I remember, oh, about halfway through the movie, Craig just stands up says I gotta go for

Todd:  a minute. He walked out.

Jim:  And I thought, well, what do I do? Stay here and finish watch and you’re here

Todd:  or what?

Jim:  But he and he just stayed gone for 5, 5, 10 minutes, and then he came back in. Really? Didn’t say a word, but he was alright.

Craig:  I don’t know. Yeah.

Todd:  Do you remember where that was in the movie?

Craig:  Well, I do. It was yeah. It was act it was near to the end. I think I got through most of it. And, you know, we’ll talk a little bit about about the plot or whatever. But this this movie’s old enough. I assume most of you have probably seen it. Towards the end, there’s a pretty infamous, scene where one of the characters Achilles tendons gets sliced, and that was just it for me.

Todd:  That was when you left. That was when I left.

Craig:  Oh, okay. And he remembers me coming back. I don’t remember coming back. I I remember I remember sitting out there in the lobby. This was an old theater that’s gone now here in our little hometown, and, they really didn’t even have a lobby to speak of. You know? I just was kinda sat in the floor against the wall and waited. And I guess maybe eventually I went back in, but, oh, man. Yeah.  It was and I’m sure you know, I I tease you, Irybia, for taking a 10 year old or whatever. I’m sure I begged to go. You know, I was really into this stuff.

Jim:  Oh, yeah. He was into it.

Craig:  Yeah. So, I thought I had a really cool dad who would, you know, take me to these Yeah. Types of things.

Todd:  So So was this was your first horror movie that you went to the theater to see?

Craig:  Well, now I don’t remember exactly because I know that I think the 3 of us, me and my mom and dad, I think we had gone to see Gremlins. And that maybe came out a a few years before this. Did. But, you know, we’ve talked about this before. That was kind of billed as like a family movie.

Todd:  Family film. Yeah.

Craig:  It was not. Yeah. And it, you know, it was a little goofy, but it was scary. And I got scared in that one Todd. But, this one was the first real horror movie that, I don’t know if it was the first r rated movie I’d seen, but this is the the one that really stuck with me.

Todd:  Now, Jim, you said you read the book before.

Jim:  Yes. I did.

Todd:  Are you you read a lot of Stephen King?

Jim:  I read yeah. Probably about all of his

Todd:  Yeah. Me too.

Jim:  His his works. And, yeah, they’re all good.

Craig:  Yeah.

Todd:  They are.

Craig:  And I’m a huge fan of Stephen King Todd. And this, I I hadn’t read the book. I was too young, I think, to have read the book. But I I read it recently, just this last summer, actually, and I was really looking forward to it because, usually, the book is so much better than the movie. And I wasn’t disappointed because it was still a good book, but I was amazed at really how close the movie is. I mean, it’s a really direct adaptation of the novel.

Todd:  It really is. Although it is a simple it’s a simple story. Yeah. I mean, compared to, you know, a lot of films that get made from movies, sometimes the book’s so much better because the book has so much more depth and more complexity and more characters and there are subplots and things. And as I remember, because I read the book too, yeah. You’re right. What you see is what you get. And this the story really even in the book revolves just around this very small cast of characters.

Craig:  Right. Again, it’s it’s not that complex of a story. And and really what it all boils down to and I know of course, I didn’t get this when I was a kid, but the whole movie really is just about how we deal with and process death.

Todd:  Yeah.

Craig:  And I think, you know, it’s it’s there’s kind of a heavy handed theme that death is a natural thing. It’s not something to fear. It’s not something to be sad about, and it’s something that we just have to accept and move on. And if you can’t accept it and move on, then that’s destructive, and there’s gonna be bad stuff that happens. Mhmm. So the setup is this, you know, fairly young family. Louis and Rachel are the couple. Louis is a doctor.  They’re moving to Maine with their 2 small kids, rural Maine, and their daughter, Ellie, who I would guess is maybe, like, 8, some 9, 10 maybe, and their young son, Gage, who seems to be somewhere between 23. He’s really young, really small. Gage is played by Meeko Hughes. I think this was his first movie, and then he went on to be really pretty big in the sitcoms and stuff in the eighties and did a couple more horror movies too. He was the kid in, New Nightmare.

Todd:  That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. Very recognizable child, actually.

Craig:  Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Super, super cute.

Todd:  Super cute. When you need some cute kid to then turn evil, this is the one you want.

Craig:  Right. Absolutely. So they move into this house in rural Maine. It’s right alongside this big highway. And as soon as they get there, you know, they start to unpack. I guess the movie opens, really, in the pet cemetery. Mhmm. That’s the first scene.  It kinda just eerily goes around. There’s this eerie music playing, and, you can see all the different, like, child made tombstones and whatnot.

Todd:  Which is cool.

Craig:  Yeah. It is kinda cool.

Todd:  Along with the child singing and the

Craig:  la la la la la

Todd:  la la with the creepy music underneath.

Craig:  Yeah. And you can hear the children’s voices reading the epitaphs and stuff. It’s it’s really kinda neat. But then it cuts to the family, and they’re arriving. And Ellie runs off. There’s a tire swing. She starts swinging in that, and right away immediately notices this path leading into the forest. And she the the swing falls, and she’s not really hurt, but, you know, kids freak out.  And so she’s crying, and the parents run over to her, and the little boy, Gage, starts to walk towards the highway. And we see kind of from an aerial shot that he’s walking towards the highway, and there’s this big semi truck coming.

Todd:  And this is, like, the 3rd probably the 3rd semi truck we’ve seen barreled out this highway. Like

Jim:  Right. Because they cut right after the cemetery scene to the semi. It looks like it’s going about 60 miles an hour.

Craig:  Coming right at you.

Jim:  Coming, yeah, coming right at you.

Todd:  Right over yeah. Coming over you. It’s almost like a foreshadowing of the shot that we get later with Gage getting hit. Right. That’s what’s so economical about this movie. Yeah. This movie is very economical. Within the first five minutes, we have peril, peril, peril.  We could see this that this road has a semis barreling Todd, and then she falls off the swing, and he almost gets hit by the car. But he’s saved by the neighbor.

Craig:  By the neighbor, Judd, who is Fred Gwen, who is probably most people know, as Herman Munster.

Todd:  I’m sorry. I just can’t watch him without thinking. 54. Where are you? One of those 2. Yeah.

Craig:  Yeah. Oh, gosh. And and it takes you right back to his old classic characters. But it’s also really kinda cool to see his face, you know, in this modern horror movie, you know, modern for us back then. I don’t you know, I watched The Munsters when I was a kid.

Todd:  And I watched car 54 as well.

Craig:  Yeah. And so it makes me smile every time I see him. And he’s got kinda this old movie star presence that you don’t really see anymore. He’s kinda, you know, that a man’s man, rugged and Yeah. But but he’s got Folksy. Folksy. Yeah. He he reminds me a lot of, my grandpa Harvey, Definitely.  My dad’s father-in-law. Just a country guy. Nice, nice country guy.

Todd:  Well and, you know, this is where I thought the casting was good compared to the book. I remember reading the book and the one thing that really hit I think he was the strongest character in the book. Yeah. And probably the stronger strongest character in this film. You know, he would always say, oh, yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah. All in and I’m reading the a y u h, and I just didn’t know how to really vocalize that when I was reading it, but he does a good job in this film.  He says it a few times.

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. He he’s he’s great. Country boy. So he saves the kid, you know, just in the nick of time. He sweeps in and and pulls him out. But then that’s when he tells him, you know, you gotta be careful of this highway. It’s it’s bad.  You you know?

Todd:  Which is interesting. He tells them that the highway’s bad, but he says it pretty much in regards to the cat. Yeah. Which I thought was a little strange considering the fact that he just saved his son from the highway. And you’d think that if you’re warning somebody about the highway being so bad, you’d say, you want to watch your little boy, who I just, by

Craig:  the way, picked up. Right.

Todd:  Instead Todd like, well, you got to get that cat fixed, because you don’t want that cat wandering too far and

Craig:  blah blah blah. Right. Yeah. And and so, you know, they have their general introductions. It’s funny that you say that because I was thinking, you know, this house, it’s it’s seated on this beautiful, peaker esque, you know, plot of land. But I was noticing in the background, there was, like, a big lake. I’m thinking, man, could they have picked, like, a more dangerous place to live with these 2 little kids? Like, did they not even consider the fact that this major highway, like, goes right through their front yard?

Todd:  You can drown back here. You can fall off the tire swing up here, or you can get run over by a truck over there.

Craig:  Yeah. Exactly. Then, you know, it’s it’s it’s hard to even go from there.

Todd:  Well, I guess he’s a doctor. Right. And so, after they’re they’re getting settled in the house, and there’s some discussion with Ellie about the cat, and I think it’s the talk of the highway and getting Ellie fixed

Craig:  that Getting the cat fixed. Getting the cat fixed. Not Ellie.

Todd:  Church. Church is

Craig:  the cat.

Todd:  Church is the cat. Winston Churchill, church for short. And they talk about getting the cat fixed. And so in the context of this and why they’re getting the cat fixed, Ellie starts asking about death.

Craig:  Daddy, what if Church dies? What if he dies and has to go to the pet cemetery?

Clip:  Honey, Church will be fine.

Craig:  No, he won’t. Not in the end. In the end, he’s gonna croak, isn’t he?

Clip:  Lovey. Church might still be alive when you’re in high school, and that’s a very long time.

Craig:  It doesn’t seem long to me. It seems short.

Clip:  Well, if it was up to me, I’d let Church live to be a 100, but I don’t make up the rules.

Craig:  Oh, who does? God, I suppose. He’s not God’s cat, he’s my cat. But God gets only if he wants 1, not mine. You’re right.

Todd:  It’s interesting because you would think that a kid that kid is not so young that you couldn’t talk more frankly about death with, but he is a little evasive. I mean, you don’t wanna give these kind of assurances to a kid that every oh, yeah. Don’t worry. You’re just gonna live really, really long time. Especially when you were just you were just confronted with this possibility that he might not, he or she? Was it a he?

Craig:  The cat is a boy. Yeah.

Todd:  Is a boy, might not. A boy. Yeah. I thought that was interesting because then later on, because he’s getting it to take to be fixed, she wants to know if Church is gonna be fine during the surgery. Right. And he’s then reluctant to give her any reassurance. It was a weird dichotomy to me. Yeah.  I thought it was a little I thought it was a little poor in the writing. And I don’t know what they were trying to do there, but the mother merely jumps in as, well, why don’t you give him some Give her a promise. Don’t chili, Shally. Give the little girl a promise.

Jim:  Right.

Todd:  I don’t know. It made me think maybe there was some backstory in the family that just doesn’t get touched on. I don’t remember the book that well.

Craig:  Yeah. I mean, there’s they do touch on it a little bit. The the mom, death is a really touchy subject for her. You see that in the movie. I remember it being more emphasized in book. Mhmm. It’s not a topic she’s comfortable with. She doesn’t wanna talk about it.  She doesn’t wanna expose the kids to it, and she explains why later. But, you know, during all of this time, Todd explains to Lewis that what’s down at the end of that path is a pet cemetery, and he says, we’ll go down there sometime. And he does. He takes them down there, like, on a little family day trip, trip, and they go down. And Ellie’s kinda fascinated, but the mom is clearly uncomfortable.

Clip:  I told you it’s a bad road, Lois. It’s got a lot of pets, and a lot of kids that are unhappy.

Todd:  At

Clip:  least something could come of it. This place couldn’t plant nothing but corpses here anyway, I guess.  How can you call it a good thing? A graveyard for pets killed in the road built by brokenhearted children.  Well, they have to learn about death somehow and not know them is great.  Why?

Todd:  It comes across a little overwrought. The drama does. Yeah. I think if we had gotten a little more of her back story earlier on in the film, if we had known a little bit more about her, this wouldn’t seem so out of place. But she does seem awfully touchy and just seems awfully dramatic early on with these things.

Jim:  Right. And and that point, you know, that you brought up about where the dad really didn’t seem to have any problem with churn, you know, the child that, hey. This guy’s gonna live until you’re in high school or graduate. But then he really had a problem trying to assure her that the cat was gonna make it through the surgery. And I and I just thought, well, okay. He’s a physician. Mhmm. You know, he knows what can happen possibly with with anesthetic or whatever you put the cat in there.  Maybe that was a clue that yeah. But it was very noticeable that kinda dichotomy there there. I was thinking maybe that’s because it was a nature versus man kinda thing where he had control. Maybe some there’s some control in the medical, but on the nature side, wow. But it’s but to me, again, it was opposite because you really don’t have any control over, okay, truck comes around the corner. That’s an accident where you have more control in the medical field that he was had no problem giving assurance. Right. Something that was beyond their control.  Right. Hey. The cat’s gonna live.

Todd:  Well, I think you’re right. I guess that’s kinda where your mind is. Right? Yeah. And You’re a doctor. You’re right.

Craig:  And as a parent Todd. I mean, I’m sure that’s hard as a parent Todd you wanna provide comfort and reassurance, but you also have to try to balance that with reality. And I can understand why that would be a struggle. I think maybe some of the stuff with the mom too, she is my least favorite cast

Todd:  Yes.

Craig:  In this I remember in the book, she was described as being really beautiful. And not to say this woman’s not beautiful. She’s striking in her own way. But I wouldn’t necessarily say pretty. And and she was neurotic in in the book too, but I feel like I almost had a little bit more sympathy for her. In this, she kinda comes across as cold and weak. She does. Yeah.  Like, she needs to be taken care of and and mollified, and I’m not a big fan of the actress’ performance, here.

Todd:  No. I agree with you. It’s not the strongest, and it it just makes their relationship weird. And maybe it’s supposed to be weird. Again, we don’t really know enough. We don’t have enough backstory to know why, so you just kinda wonder. Because she kind of goes off on him there, for a second, and then she walks out the door as he’s packing up the cat and is like, well, everything’s fine. Yeah.  We’re still friends. Right? And I mean, I’ve been married for a while, so I mean, that sort of thing does pretty much happen to you. You know? Agree. Agree.

Jim:  That does happen, but but you’re right. It’s it’s it’s the things that she kinda went off on, you know, that that that would upset her, which kinda which kinda surprised me. And, again, like Craig said, we don’t know the by watching the movie what really her background is, what it is in her past. We know she’s real close to her family. Her parents are pretty domineering. His parents aren’t talked about at all, his family.

Craig:  Yeah. And and her His

Jim:  idea was it to move to the rural? Was that to get away from her family or was that

Craig:  her Yeah. And that is a that is explored more in the book too. They there’s always the the her parents didn’t want her to marry Lewis because Lewis was poor and just, you know, they were living, like, on a mattress in some crappy college apartment and whatnot. He was never gonna be good enough for their little girl. And even now that he has become a doctor and is very successful, still not good enough.

Todd:  That’s yeah. And that’s the weird thing when you see a movie and you don’t have that story, you think, well, there’s a doctor. Who would be upset about their child marrying a doctor? Right. You know, in that regard anyway. You think, well, there’s gotta be some character flaw. Maybe he’s just a horrible person.

Craig:  Cemetery, Judd says something. He he’s talking to a little girl, and he’s real cute. You know? He’s a very grandfatherly figure.

Clip:  Do you know what a graveyard really is?

Craig:  Well, I guess not.

Clip:  It’s a place where the dead speak. No. Not right out loud. Their stones speak, or their markers. This ain’t a scary place, Ellie. It’s a place of rest and speaking. Do you remember that?

Craig:  Yes, sir.  I guess it’s worth mentioning that all of this is based on stuff from King’s life. At some point, he moved his family to a rural Maine home right alongside a highway. The daughter’s cat got hit by a car, which we haven’t got to, but we’ll get to. And, his own young son, Joe Hill, who is an author in his own right now, at one point ran out into the road as a truck was approaching and almost got hit.

Todd:  Oh my goodness.

Craig:  There was a pet cemetery down a path behind their house. Okay. And there was and there was an old guy who lived across the street. So he based all of this in his own reality, except for, in his life, his his son did not get hit and but in in the movie, the son eventually does.

Todd:  Well, that explains a lot because it’s a very unique set of circumstances here. Todd. I

Jim:  mean, yeah. I I wasn’t aware of that. You know, I was aware that Stephen King himself got gas.

Todd:  Yeah. You know,

Jim:  a boxcar.

Craig:  Like a like a van or something. Many years later. Many years later. And the reason I brought that up is we were talking about the cemetery, the, the Stephen King’s daughter’s cat who got hit and killed was named Smucky. And in both the book and the movie, there’s you can see a Todd, one of the in the graveyard is is smucky. Smucky. Right. So they you know, they leave, whatever.  And then I think the next thing we get to is Lewis’ first day on the job. And he works, Todd said when we were watching this, well, that’s a weird hospital.

Todd:  Well, it’s like a high school.

Craig:  Well, I I think that it’s supposed to be like a university clinic. Oh, okay. That’s what it was in the book. And so I assume that’s what it’s supposed to be here too.

Todd:  Where, like, the, operating what what looked like a small type, small procedure type operating room was,

Craig:  like, right across from the entrance? Right. Right. Exactly.

Jim:  Yeah. I I didn’t understand the setting, but now that you talk about it, I remember him saying, like, it’s a college. Yeah. So I don’t know if that’s kinda like the health center

Craig:  That’s what I’m thinking.

Jim:  You know, or whatever what I’m thinking. But I was I was confused like, Todd, where are all these kids coming from? I thought this was a

Todd:  hospital. Right.

Jim:  I thought, were they all with him when he got hit?

Craig:  Or It’s well, I think a bunch of them were. I think it it was like a a marathon or something. This kid was running and

Jim:  he got hit by By a truck.

Craig:  By a truck.

Todd:  Which is the number one cause of death in this

Craig:  community. Right.

Todd:  So They they shouldn’t move the highway. They should really talk about a bypass or something. Yeah. Absolutely.

Craig:  So this kid gets brought in. You know, he’s all messed up. His head is all bashed in. It’s pretty gross. And it’s obvious that there’s not gonna be anything they can do for him there. But he’s pretty much DOA anyway. So Now he was dead. Right? Yeah.

Todd:  Because he closes his eyes.

Craig:  Right. He was dead. This this kid, his name is Pascal. I don’t remember what his first name is. But he dies, and as everybody else kinda clears the room, Lewis is sitting alone in there with him, and I think Lewis says something to him. I don’t know.

Todd:  Oh, and he says I was that I was supposed to only deal with scrapes or something

Craig:  to me.

Todd:  I promised my wife it was only gonna be broken bones and skinned knees.

Craig:  Yeah. But he’s sitting there, and all of a sudden, this dead kid kind of, not all the way sits up, but opens his eyes and kind of jerks around a little bit and starts speaking to him in in a very low, scary voice. And he says, the soul of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis. And then he says, I’ll come to you. Victor. Yeah. Victor, Pascal. Absolutely.  Very good. So I guess it’s just that night. Right? He’s laying in bed with his wife. Louis is laying in bed with Rachel. And he hears kind of a loud noise, and he looks up and standing in his doorway, his bedroom doorway, is this ghost, presumably, still looking very messed up. And he basically says, come with me. Lewis doesn’t he thinks he’s dreaming. He doesn’t know what’s going on.  And he says something about, I don’t like this dream, and the guy says, what makes you think it’s a dream? Well, Pascal leads Lewis down the path, which is now, of course, all misty and scary. It’s all very dramatic. To the pet cemetery, Lewis is like, why are you here? What are you doing? And he says, I wanna help you because you tried to help me. And they get down to the pet cemetery.

Jim:  This is the place

Clip:  where the dead speak.  I wanna wake up. I wanna wake up. That’s awful.  Don’t go on, doc. No matter how much you may feel you have to, do not go on to the place where the dead will walk.

Craig:  And then he kind of, I feel like, floats up into the air, starts to, like, disappear and, his voice over continues and he says the barrier was not meant to be crossed. The ground beyond is sour. And so And he points to this corner of the cemetery where it’s like

Todd:  a big giant pile of brush, essentially, leave branches and things. It almost looks like it’s intentionally been blocked off.

Craig:  Right. Right. And so Lewis kind of falls to his knees and and just, you know, puts his hands to his face and says, I I wanna wake up. I wanna wake up. And he does. That’s we cut, and he wakes up. He’s kind of jarred awake in the morning. It’s kinda one of those things where, oh, thank goodness.  It was just a dream. And then he throws the blankets off, and his feet and the legs of his pajamas and the sheets and blankets are all covered in mud. Yeah. So, obviously, he had actually gone out there.

Todd:  It’s classic.

Craig:  Right. Classic. At this point, it’s Thanksgiving time. The rest of the family, the 2 kids and the mom, are gonna go visit the parents. But because the dad doesn’t get along with the parents, he’s gonna stay back behind.

Todd:  Yeah. Which I’m sure is helping matters. Right.

Jim:  And I think that was probably intentional, you know, on his part. He knows he’s not well liked, you know, from that side of the family. And I think, you know, to me, it just seemed like this happens about every day.

Todd:  You know,

Jim:  they go Todd she goes to her folks, and he does whatever. That’s true.

Craig:  And And he says something like, you know, I want you to have a good holiday. I don’t want it to get messed up or whatever.

Todd:  I feel like we missed something important. Well, everybody’s having dream, and I guess it’s the we missed the Missy character. Missy is the Their housekeeper. And honestly, this is a part you when

Craig:  this subplot seems so superfluous, and it’s not in the book.

Todd:  Oh, it’s not in the book? No. Are you kidding me?

Craig:  The the character in the movie, Missy, is an amalgamation of 2 characters in the book. In the book, Judd has a wife. Oh, that’s right. Who’s alive. Yes. And Missy is just their house keeper, and she doesn’t commit suicide. The only person who dies before people in the Creed family start dying is is Judd’s wife. She has a heart attack at some point, and she doesn’t die right away.  Lewis is able to kinda nurse her back to health, and they get her an ambulance, and she’s okay. But some time goes by, and she does die. And that’s what prompts the backstory of why Rachel is so messed up about death. And that’s a good story.

Todd:  It is. I felt like this was a scene that was really kinda shoehorned in there as well. Rachel comes in and she’s talking to her husband. I overheard the conversation you had with Ellie about death. And she said, you remember my sister? And he’s like, oh yeah, She had spinal meningitis and blah blah blah. And then she starts telling, I guess, what she had never told him before, which was that she, as an 8 year old girl, was solely in charge of taking care of her sister, and her sister was locked in the back room of the house. Essentially, the family secret. Nobody I mean, people had to know they were they were there, but they were trying to hide her or whatnot.  And she had to go in and feed this sister every day. And we see this in flashback and it’s interesting because, not only does she have spinal meningitis, but she looks like absolute death.

Craig:  Oh, she’s a monster.

Todd:  Yeah. Really a monster. And of course this is probably also I guess when you’re showing a dream sequence and this is probably a choice that you’re showing the impression of the person’s memory. Right. Right. So probably in life we understand maybe she didn’t look that bad, but in her this 8 year old girl’s memory, she looked like a monster. She’s she’s sullen. Her skin is just stuck to her bones, and her back is Twisted.  Twisted. And then almost the the ribs and and her spinal column are almost breaking through the skin. It’s really gross, and she has to go in there and feed her. And this is really interesting where how she says that she was really glad when she died, and she was disturbed by that essentially. She goes in, she was the one who discovered when she was finally dead. Every single day up until that point, she was wondering when is she gonna die? When is she gonna die? When is she gonna die? When she did die, she started crying and ran out, talked to the neighbors, but she said, honestly, I think that the cries were laughter and I feel guilty about that. So it it is some really complex exploration of the of death and the human side of death and suffering, and this woman’s been through it as a child. So obviously now we know why she’s uncomfortable with talking about death.  Right.

Craig:  Well, in this part of the movie, you said, dad, you said you didn’t remember the whole sister side plot?

Jim:  Right.

Craig:  It’s funny, but Interesting. That is the part that really stood out to me. Really? And, you know, after the whole theater experience, I kept watching this movie, you know, after, and I saw my you know, I showed my little sister, and she was really freaked out by that part Todd. The sister Zelda is really scary, I think.

Jim:  Mhmm. Yeah.

Craig:  And and they want you know, that’s what they were going for. It’s supposed to be a 13 year old girl, which clearly this is not. And so what you’re saying about it kind of being more Rachel’s projection of what her sister was makes a lot of sense because, really, they cast a man. I was wondering that, actually. Zelda was played by a man to to good effect. She’s scary. That’s that’s one of the parts that I remember most from this movie.

Todd:  Yeah. And, you know, I don’t know if if this movie were made now, what, almost 20 years later, if that would be maybe particularly insensitive Yeah. Probably. To show this in invalid. You’d want a little more sympathy for her, but instead she’s really played up as a monster. Right.

Jim:  Right. You know? And and, again, I think, like, kinda what you said earlier, Todd. I mean, we’re seeing it as the mom’s memory.

Clip:  Mhmm.

Jim:  And that was her perception, you know, of the whole I mean, it was monstrous, you know, to go into this room that’s closed off from everybody. Mhmm. But they just keep this girl in in. She they never take her out, obviously. Right. Really, I don’t think you even talk about her. But she’s the one that’s responsible for going in and feeding her. And so that’s where she gets her whole perception of sickness, death, you know, from this experience and thinking, oh my Todd.  How horrific, you know, that is. Because she she probably didn’t understand Right. You know, spinal meningitis or to me, that’s why it was such a kinda taboo subject,

Craig:  you

Jim:  know, in the family too.

Craig:  Yeah. And on one hand, you I mean, I guess she’s just never she’s never gotten over it. Because you would think if some if she had had such a terrible traumatic experience and introduction to death, you would think that she would wanna make an effort to introduce her own children to it in a way that wasn’t right, that wasn’t gonna be so scary. But I guess she just hasn’t gotten over it.

Todd:  Well, it doesn’t give you a lot of sympathy for her parents either.

Craig:  No. No. So No. Not at all.

Todd:  Well, there’s no sympathy for her parents through this whole thing. Right.

Craig:  Right. Right. Anyway, while they’re gone for Thanksgiving, church, the cat gets hit in the highway and killed. And, it ends up on Judd’s lawn. Judd calls Lewis and says he better get over here. The cat is dead. It’s it you know, it is their cat. It’s clearly dead.  He pull when he pulls it up off the ground, you know, you can hear it peeling up out of the out of the frost. Pretty cool scene, actually.

Todd:  Yeah.

Craig:  Yeah. And and good effects. It actually made me a little uncomfortable. There’s a couple of different effects with dead and dying cats, and they look really real. Do what? So I was like, man, I hope these are just really well trained cats. I don’t know.

Todd:  Hey. I have to say that cat is probably one of the best actors in

Craig:  this movie. Oh, yeah.

Todd:  Yeah. I don’t know how they

Craig:  did that.

Todd:  Very menacing. I’ve had to work with animals before. I had to work with a dog on film, and and it was it was a full day affair just to get it to do 2 or 3 things. And the things that this cat did were either absolute luck, they were able to get these shots, or it was just super well trained. Right.

Jim:  Well,

Craig:  and they say, you know, the the old adage, never work with animals or children, and you’ve got them both here

Todd:  Yeah.

Craig:  And both great performers. I would say that the little boy I mean, this kid can you even really call it acting when the kid is probably hardly aware of what’s going on around him? But Meeko Hughes, he’s really good and effective in this movie too. He is. He’s good. He’s so cute, like one of the cutest kids you’ve ever seen in the beginning. And then at the end when things get scary, he’s really effectively creepy too. And Meeko Hughes, you know, he’s still around. I think he still works every once in a while, but he’s a small person.  He’s a he’s a he’s a short little guy.

Todd:  Well, they go through the film and they’re he they’re always either holding him or they get off the plane, immediately put him in a stroller. It seems like he’s on his feet very little Mhmm. Which I think was intentional because when he does get on his feet now and he’s walking around, it seems a little more supernatural at the end.

Craig:  Right. Right.

Todd:  Right.

Craig:  So the cat’s dead. Lewis says, well, you know, Ellie’s gonna be really upset. And Todd says, well, maybe we’ll take a walk. Bring bring the cat. So they go down to the pet cemetery, and Judd says, well, where do I where do I dig? Do I just pick the outermost circle? And he says, no. We’re not stopping here. We’re going on. We’re going up over that that big thing of debris.

Todd:  You know, the place the ghosts warn you away from.

Craig:  Right. That exact place. He said stay away from stay away from there. Todd says, you know, he’s Lewis says, well, we can’t get over that. It’s crazy. We’ll break our necks. He says, oh, no. I’ve been over there a couple times.  Just follow me. Make sure you step in the right places, and everything will be

Todd:  alright. Stop.

Craig:  Don’t stop and don’t look back.

Jim:  Don’t look down.

Craig:  Don’t look down. Right. Judd gets up there fine, and and this is kind of a funny scene. Because they’re marching forever. They’re marching forever, and Todd keeps saying, almost there now.

Todd:  The thing is so far away, you almost wonder, well, there had to be an alternate route to get to this place. I mean, it can’t be that. Couldn’t we drive around?

Craig:  But anyway, so they’re going for a really long time. And this was one of the parts that was different, in the book, and I think that it was just probably for budget. You know, they they probably didn’t have the budget for the effects. But I remember in the book when they were walking through the forest, it was almost like an otherworldly place. Like, there was, there was mist up to their knees. They couldn’t see their feet. Lewis couldn’t really like, the ground was squishy. He couldn’t really see what he was stepping on, and they kept hearing these weird noises, around them.  And there’s some suggestion of that. There’s a weird kind of shrieking noise, big rumbling noise, and Lewis said, what was that? And Judd’s like, oh, just a loon, which is clearly a lie. And you can tell that Judd, he knows something weird is going on. But they finally make their way up to what turns out to be this big ancient burial ground, and Judd tells, Lewis that it’s an old Micmac burial ground, and this is where you’re gonna bury the cat. And, You

Todd:  gotta do it yourself.

Craig:  You gotta do it yourself.

Todd:  Help you, but you gotta bury your own.

Craig:  You gotta bury your own.

Todd:  Which is a line I’m gonna use from now on. Right. Just with little modifications, like, I’d help you with the dishes, but you gotta wash your own. Yeah. Right. Right. Yeah.

Jim:  Let me know how that turns out

Todd:  for now.

Craig:  They go back home. The phone’s ringing. Lewis tries to get to it. He doesn’t get to it in time, and, Judd’s chasing it behind him and says, when you do talk to him, not a word about what we’ve done here tonight. And and Lewis says, what did we do here tonight? And, I I don’t remember what the

Todd:  response was.

Clip:  Well, there

Jim:  was you almost noticed something’s really strange about that that particular place. Of course, it, you know, it looks like an Indian burial ground or whatever. And he’s got this, like, mining tool

Todd:  Yeah. Right. Like a crack. Pickaxe.

Jim:  And he hits the ground, and he sees farts come up in his mouth. Man, Could you have picked a better spot

Todd:  for him to bury?

Jim:  And then the next thing he’s gonna bury him better.

Todd:  Well well, yeah. He’s burying him. Ground. He’s burying him, but it looks like it’s like 3 hours later because the sun has since set. It’s dark out.

Craig:  Right. It’s not like he’s digging a 6 foot grade. He has to dig a hole big enough for a cat to get.

Todd:  It ends up being, what, like a 4 foot deep hole. I mean, it wasn’t terribly impressive Right. When it was done. I think he pushed some a small pile of dirt over and it was finished. Yeah. Like, that’s what you’ve been working

Craig:  on this whole time? Well, I guess he broke it up really well.

Todd:  Well, but what he does say to him is,

Clip:  women are supposed to be the ones who are good at keeping secrets. Any woman that knows I’m involved will tell you. She’s never seen into a man’s heart. The soil of a man’s heart, Lewis, is stonya. Like the soil up there in the old brick my bearing ground.

Todd:  And, of course, that strikes a chord with him because that’s exactly what the what the kid what the kid passed out.

Craig:  Said to him. Right.

Todd:  So there are a lot of moments in this where there are these reminders, these wraparound moments, where the dreams are coming to life or the visions are coming.

Craig:  That’s another thing. Ellie, the daughter, keeps having the she calls the dad, and she’s worried about the cat. And he says, well, why are you worried? So, well, I had a dream that it got hit in the road. I’ve read interviews with Stephen King, who has said that Ellie in Pet Sematary probably has the shine, like Danny Boyd in, in in The Shining. There’s something special about her where she really is kind of having these premonitions, and she has them throughout, and they’re always right. Yeah. And the ghost, Pascal, is able to communicate directly with her. He seems like he can kind of influence other people, but he can, like, talk specifically to her.  So there’s something special about her too, which is kind of interesting. You know, King’s books, they all tie in together.

Todd:  They kinda do. Yeah.

Craig:  Which is which is fun when you, you know, see those ties. But Well,

Todd:  and in a book, it comes across really well. I felt like in the movie, it came across as a cheap device. Again, I love the story. I I do enjoy the movie for the most parts, but I think it it can come across as kinda schlocky. Yeah. And I think that’s one of the elements that are a little schlocky is that every time, it seems like they’re it seems like they’re being driven by dreams, many of the cases. Well

Craig:  and it’s interesting you say that in the book, it comes across better. I’m a huge, huge Stephen King fan, but sometimes I think that he needs to relinquish a little bit of control when it comes to the movies based on his books. Because when he’s very much involved, he’s always really adamant that it stick really close to the source material. And I understand that. You know, you want to protect the integrity of your art. I get that. But production. He has a cameo in the movie as a prequel.  He was very much a part of the production. He has a cameo in the movie as a priest at a cemetery. He was on set almost every day because they filmed it on location in the same area where the book was set. And so Oh, really? Yeah. It was only 20 Mile Drive from Stephen King’s house.

Jim:  It was a

Todd:  very personal movie for him.

Craig:  Right. So he was there a lot. But I I think that the movie suffers a little bit from it trying to stick so closely to the source material. I think if they had maybe played up some more cinematic elements, that it could have been a little bit stronger.

Todd:  Well, the other Schlocky thing, and and we kind of brushed over and it’s worth brushing over, is Missy at some point in here commit suicide. Right. She’s complaining about stomach pain, and the doctor’s like, oh, I can have it checked out. She’s like, no. That’s okay. It’ll go away. It always does. And then we have basically, I think at this point in the movie probably, there’s a scrawled note.  I have I mean, it’s it’s almost bludgeoning in its Yeah. In its, in its directness. It’s just this note that she writes, I’m really sorry, I have cancer or something. Right. And then she goes into I don’t know. Is it even the basement of the hallway? I don’t know. Who wherever it is, and and she hangs herself. And it’s like an excuse to get another death in here

Craig:  so they can talk about That’s exactly

Jim:  And it was. And

Clip:  it was

Jim:  that’s probably why I forgot about it. Yeah.

Todd:  You know,

Clip:  one of the

Jim:  things because I thought, where does that really play in? It does. You know, to the to the whole picture. Because he’s a doctor. He knows she’s sick. But he does tell her, you know, hey. I’d be glad to take a look Mhmm. And and see what’s wrong. But, you know, the next thing, you know, the pain’s too strong or the pain’s too bad, and and she kills herself.

Craig:  Yeah. And that’s it. It’s clunky. Yeah. It’s clunky.

Todd:  Well, and it’s also clunky because we see so very little of her. Yeah. We see her in the beginning. We see maybe 2 more shots of her.

Craig:  And you don’t care. You don’t care.

Todd:  She does. Like, okay. Is this supposed to have an effect on us? Because it doesn’t. You can’t even imagine it’s that much of an effect on the family if they’ve only been there for what? Like a month or so?

Craig:  Yeah. Well, Lewis wakes up the next morning, the cat’s back. Yep. And it’s glowing eyes. It’s got glowing eyes, and it’s got a different demeanor. This is a really sweet, loving cat before, and now it’s a hissy, snarly cat. Lewis goes over to talk to Jud, and Jud explains. He says, I’ve been up I have been up there before.  When I was a kid, I had a dog. I took it up there, buried it up there. It came back, but it wasn’t the same dog. And he says, you know, we get a scene, another flashback scene where we see this gruesome dog come back and it seems vicious and it’s snarling and barking and whatnot. Again, another place where the book and the movies differ a little bit, because in the book, when the pets came back, they were different and generally unpleasant, and people didn’t really want to be around them anymore, but they stayed around. Judd says in the movie when he when my dog died peacefully in his sleep that same night, I buried him in the regular pet cemetery. That’s not the way it happened in the book. In the book the dog lived for a long time after that.  And he he was different and there was something off about him and he stunk and no matter how many baths Judd gave him they couldn’t get the the stench off.

Jim:  Earth smell. Earth smell.

Craig:  Right. But it stuck around.

Todd:  But here in the movie, that flashback scene that we get makes the dog seem almost rabid. Uh-huh. It’s bloody and it’s barking and everything, and it seems like, you know, he had to put him you said he when he died peacefully in his sleep.

Craig:  That’s what he said in the movie. What he said in the movie.

Jim:  What he said in the movie. What he said in the movie.

Todd:  I mean, just the way it’s presented, it begs the question, why would you choose to stir the pot by having this guy bury his own cat in the cemetery? When you’ve done it to your own pet, you know what it does to your own pet, wouldn’t it be better just to give this child the experience of death in what is actually a pretty safe way? I mean, if you’re gonna I’m not a parent. Jim, you are. But, I mean, if you’re gonna expose your kid to to death for the very first time, wouldn’t it be better to be a goldfish or a cat than, like, you know, a relative or somebody they’re really close to?

Jim:  Definitely. And and, yeah, you see that. That’s the difference. You know, the mom’s first experience at death was, of course, her sister. You know, she’d been taken, and now her daughter’s first experience is gonna be with this cat. But the funny thing that I saw in the movie, and I still haven’t figured out why they did that or what was the point, when the cat comes back well, first, the guy gets hit by the car, and he dies. And then he comes back. And when he comes back, I mean, he’s he looks all messed up.  He’s been hit by a car. And and you and you can still see Craig hanging out. Out. I mean, he’s pretty grotesque. When the cat comes back, you can’t tell a thing’s wrong with him.

Todd:  Right? That’s true.

Jim:  They got hit by a car. I mean, you can. He picks it up, and

Clip:  he’s looking at looking at

Jim:  it over, and you can’t really see anything wrong with the cat. But with a guy, you definitely

Todd:  Well, when everybody comes back Back later. Later, you know, it still has their scar.

Craig:  It’s a little inconsistent. I mean, if if this cat had been hit by a semi on the road, it would have been Engaged. Right. He Wasn’t that bad. No. Now I guess in theory, you know, Gage went to an undertaker, which again leads to all kinds of unanswerable questions. That’s right. You know? The kid the kid was embalmed.  You know? How is he gonna come back? Well, the the

Todd:  good thing he didn’t cremate him where he had no option.

Craig:  Right. Right. Yeah. The family comes back. Ellie notices there’s something different about the cat. It stinks. She doesn’t wanna be around it. The cat just hangs out.  It’s kind of menacing. And, really, the next big event is the big tragic event. They just are having a very nice family picnic out in their lawn, and, they’re flying a kite and, the dad’s happy. Everybody’s happy. It’s I mean, it it looks like a postcard.

Jim:  Yeah. It shows the big field behind them. Mhmm. They’re flying the car and say, hey, there’s no danger here. Right. No, really. You got all this room.

Craig:  I I noticed for the first time tonight, I thought, you know, maybe you should have picked a day where the wind was blowing in the other direction. This poses a little bit of a risk Todd, you know, taking a chance or maybe put up a fence and it might be something else too. But, Lewis and Gage are, you know, the others, Ninja is with them. They’re sitting kind of in the background at a table and Gage and Louis are kind of in the middle of the field and Gage takes the string and he’s running with it for a little while and it’s real, real cute. Eventually he drops it and everybody laughs and Lewis kinda turns around and is laughing with his family. Now he’s got his back to Gage and the spool with the string dislodges itself from some weeds and starts pulling towards the road and and Gage starts going after it. Long story short, Lewis tries to catch him but he doesn’t get there in time and he gets hit by, Gage gets hit by a semi, and and he’s dead, obviously.

Todd:  That’s pretty heartbreaking.

Jim:  And when I saw that the first time, of course, Craig was only 7 years older and gave

Craig:  Yeah.

Jim:  You know, at that time. But as a parent, I mean, it it was so real. Thinking, okay. You look up and you see your kid running. He’s quite a ways off. Mhmm. And I was thinking, man, can I get to him in time? And that guy was running just as fast as he could. And you think, oh, man.  He’s gonna make it. And then he reaches, and you think, oh, he’s gonna get him. He reaches, and then doesn’t do it. I’m thinking, man, what worse thing could happen to a parent, you know, than that be that close?

Craig:  I was gonna ask you about that because didn’t That

Jim:  bothered me for a long time.

Craig:  Well, it because something happened like that when I was a kid. Right? Like, didn’t, you had to go help somebody with a flat tire or something? You left me in the car and

Jim:  It is horrifying. Brenda’s sister was learning how to drive. Craig was probably Gage’s age, I would guess. Maybe a little bit older. And Brenda’s folks lived out in the country. And, and so she was taking her car driving just around the the roads back behind their house and things like that.

Todd:  Brenda’s Craig’s mom. Right.

Craig:  Yeah. And this is her sister Barbara,

Jim:  who she’s talking about. Craig Xan, who’s gonna drive. Well, I I don’t know why she’d been gone a long time or something. And we decided to go check on her. And so Craig and I went, and it wasn’t far where we found her. And and she was learning how to drive a clutch, and she’d stalled the car or something. The battery had died. But I pulled up behind her, and I get out and walked her car and talking to her about, hey.  This is what you need to do or whatever. I’d left the car running. And Craig was in the car, which looking back is tough. Right. That’s not the best thing to do. But I looked back and Craig was up on this hill and I’d run down the hill to to where Barb was. And here comes the car with with Craig. Craig’s got his hands on the seat, the front seat just hanging on.  And the car is coming towards us. And so I take off running for the car and it starts veering towards this fence and there’s a big field and down to the ditch. I think, oh. And so I’m running as fast as I can to get to it. And it’s going towards the fence. And I get to the door of the and he hits the fence at the same time. And it’s barbed wire fence. And that barbed wire just snaps in half and slices the side of my head wide open.  The car keeps on going. Craig’s yelling. But, I mean, he wasn’t screaming. You know, he just kinda and I went down this great big hill and and and it Todd, you know, for it could have been a lot worse. There’s no doubt about that. But so, yeah. I had that experience. That was obviously before we’ve gone to that movie.  So that’s probably why that that part because I had that feeling where you’re just in reach where I could have jumped in or whatever and put the brake on and you miss it. You know? And you don’t get that second chance. Well, I did, obviously, but he didn’t. So that that’s probably you know what? I’m glad, Craig, you brought that up because that part really didn’t bother me because he was so close to just grabbing that kid’s shirt or whatever and pulling back.

Craig:  Yeah. That’s really sad. And so then they have the funeral, and everybody’s devastated. Of course, the the father-in-law, Rachel’s dad, starts something with Lewis and, you know, punches him right at right in front of the casket. They kinda scuffle a little bit. The casket falls. I mean, it’s all it’s all really sad.

Todd:  Yeah. That that bit there, I thought was a little silly.

Craig:  Yeah. But, again, it comes right from the book.

Jim:  Does it Yeah. It does. And and, actually, in the book, I think the body came out of the cast. I think you’re right, maybe.

Todd:  You know,

Jim:  we saw it in the movie where the cast had opened a little bit when, you know, when it was falling, but it actually in the book. It’s rough. Yeah.

Craig:  They go home. Todd comes over because Judd knows. He can tell right away that Lewis is thinking things that he shouldn’t be thinking. He comes over, and Lewis says, you know, I buried my son today, Judd. I’m tired. I just wanna go to bed. And he said, I know you’re thinking things that you shouldn’t be thinking. And he says, you asked me before if anybody ever buried a person up there, and I told you no, and I lied.  And so then he tells the story of sometime right at the end of World War 2, a soldier had been on his way home and he had been killed, a local boy. And his dad had been so devastated that he buried him up in the pet air well in the ancient, in the Indian burial ground. And he came back and just like everybody, everything else we’ve seen, it wasn’t him, he was, you know Kinda zombified. Yeah. Zombie, basically. It’s a good way to describe it.

Jim:  And, again, you can see his injuries. You know, from the war or whatever. Yeah. You know, he’s got his I think a layman had a suit on, but I don’t know if he had a uniform on.

Craig:  I think it was uniform

Jim:  or whatever. But you can visibly see the injuries that he must have incurred that caused his death.

Craig:  Right. Right. The low you know, a local woman sees him wandering the street, and she goes to some of the guys in town and says this has gotta be stopped. It’s an abomination.

Todd:  So they take a very extreme measure.

Craig:  Yeah.

Jim:  Yeah.

Todd:  And and go to just burn the whole house down.

Craig:  With people in it.

Todd:  With people in it. With the dad

Craig:  in it. Yeah.

Jim:  Well, I think the mom was there too. Maybe.

Craig:  And I don’t know. I I think maybe it was just the dad. But, Now I heard in

Todd:  the background, and maybe it was just am I wrong about this? But it sounded an awful lot like Judd’s voice.

Craig:  But Yeah. No. Judd was one of them.

Todd:  Okay.

Craig:  Yeah. And Judd was actually he was the one I mean, it’s a different actor, obviously, but he was the one who he opened the door. He was the one that said, come on. Come out. Come out. He’s not your son anymore or something like that. But the guy won’t come out, and then it kinda seems like the sun is keeping him from going out. And this is a part of the movie again that I think is just kinda cheesy, like the the from inside, you can hear the sun saying, like, hate living, love dead, or something like that.  It’s kinda kinda goofball. But the whole lesson of Judd’s story is sometimes dead is better. And that’s what he tries to get him to believe. But, Lewis sends

Todd:  But then he also says, I feel like I’m responsible for your son’s death. And when he first says it, I think it’s before the story, and you’re thinking, why? Well, what does he have to do with it? And, then afterwards, he says that it’s the ground itself, the whatever mystical spirit or whatever it is that’s making these things come across that is punishing him for taking that action. They should never have shown him the cemetery. Should never have, told him to bury the cap there, and now it’s coming back to sort of exact its revenge on the on the family.

Craig:  Well, and that’s again, it’s hinted at in the movie, but it’s it’s played out more in the book. And you had said earlier, if Judd had that experience with his dog, why would he have a friend bury their cat out there? And in the book, it’s more suggested that there’s power out there in those woods, and that it can influence people. And so that Judd may have been influenced to do that even though it would have been going against his better judgment. Right.

Jim:  Right. That’s a good point. And so he just did know the bad experience, and that’s twice Uh-huh. That we get that message that, hey, that’s no place to really bury. You know, that’s bad ground, like Pascal said, at sour ground or whatever. And then Todd knows it. Judd knows it firsthand what happened. So yeah.  It’s kinda confusing how you could call it turned out different.

Craig:  Right. Yeah. I I think, you know, it’s hinted in the movie, but in the book, it’s more so that, them doing that, them burying the cat kind of woke something or gave energy and then allowed it, continued to be able to influence them even more. And so maybe Gage’s death would have not happened had they not stirred up that energy or whatever. In the book, they talk about, like, the wendigo, which is like an ancient Indian demon kind of thing and that at some point, Lewis thinks he sees it out in the forest or whatever. We don’t get it in the movie. But Lewis sends the rest of the family back to Chicago with the grandparents, and, as soon as Judd finds that out because, Rachel calls to check on Lewis because she can’t get a hold of him, Judd knows what’s going on, and we do too. Lewis goes to the graveyard.  He digs up Gage and, even though Todd is trying to stay awake to keep watch, he falls asleep. Again, in the book it’s suggested that whatever power is out there made him fall asleep so he would miss it. And, Lewis goes and he buries Gage in the ancient burial ground.

Todd:  But at the same time, back at the parents’ house, they’re trying to reach him because Ellen had another dream. And again, Ellen’s having all these dreams that are getting people worried. And she says, this guy, Pascal, was talking to me. That’s right. And the and the mother’s like Pascal, and she remembers the name, but is she supposed to be putting 2 and 2 together? Did she actually know that kid’s name?

Craig:  She’s putting 2 and 2 together because she does. Yeah.

Todd:  Oh, okay.

Craig:  He he it was in the paper, I think.

Todd:  Oh, that’s okay.

Craig:  And I guess, you know, Lewis may have told her too, but, yeah, she puts 22 together.

Todd:  And Pascal himself is manifesting. He’s not appearing directly to the to her, but he’s suggesting thoughts into her head. And then when she goes to the airport, to get the plane out, there’s supposedly no well, she gets right right on, and he’s slightly holding the door open to give her the extra seconds she needs. And when she needs to get a car. He’s suggesting to the car keeper who which I thought was super corny.

Clip:  I’m sorry. It’s been very busy. I really don’t have anything.  What about the Ares K? The one with the scratch on its side?  I do have an Ares K.

Todd:  Like the mandurian candidate or something like that. So there’s this race for her to get back, but, of course, you know, the damage has been done.

Craig:  Yeah. And Pasco you know, she keeps running into problems. She has a flat tire. Pascal is saying, it’s trying to keep you away. It’s trying to keep you away. So she’s determined to get there. She eventually ends up pitching a ride ironically in one of the same trucks that and not just any old big truck, but from the same company, like it’s an identical truck with the number number 666 on it. But she she gets back.  But before she gets back, Gage comes back, and we see him in silhouette. And this was a part that I thought that they did really well from the book. You know, Gage, you you see his feet. You don’t get the reveal of what he looks like, but you see his feet, you see his silhouette and shadows, and he goes and and gets out of his dad’s medical bag, a scalpel, and then, heads over to Judd’s house.

Todd:  You know, it becomes very clear at this and it’s good that at least at this point, we’re we’re starting to realize there’s more than just the dead coming back to life, but there’s some sort of power compelling them. Because otherwise, it would make no sense for this little kid to come back and immediately dive in and go for a scalpel.

Craig:  And see, if I remember correctly, and I may not, this is fuzzy in my head, but I feel like if I remember correctly, when Gage came back, he wasn’t, like, zombie, like the other guy. I feel like he was conscious and spoke articulately and not even in his child voice, but in a different voice. So it’s almost as though he had his body had been possessed by some other being, maybe that Wendigo or whatever, you know, spirit they talk about in in the book. But here, when he comes back, he still talks in little baby voice, but they do a really good job of making it creepy. Yeah. They take the cute little giggles from the first part of the movie, and I don’t know. Are they filtering it somehow?

Todd:  It gets tweaked a little bit to make it, evil. Of course, anytime, you know, almost every horror movie, you can make it scary by putting some child’s laugh in there. Right. You don’t need to need to filter it at all as long as you have creepy music behind it.

Jim:  Well, and I think the scary part, you know, maybe coming from regardless of what the laugh sound like. You know, we know that this kid’s dead. And he’s laughing. You hear him laughing, and it is the same voice

Craig:  Mhmm.

Jim:  You know, as he was when he was a kid. And and looking at him, you really couldn’t tell. Although he looked a little pale. Yeah. But you really couldn’t tell he was dead.

Todd:  No. Right. You couldn’t. Now was there a scar across

Craig:  his forehead? Forehead

Jim:  looked like or or or something. Yeah.

Todd:  I mean,

Craig:  it just it looked like the Undertaker had done a good job. Yeah. Yeah.

Todd:  I guess that’s the case. Well, and the fact, as I said earlier, the fact that he’s toddling around, he’s got a little more energy here. He dives down at one point out of the attic. Mhmm. And we’ll talk about that. I mean, he clearly has has more abilities than a kid that age

Jim:  would have. Right.

Craig:  Right. Definitely.

Todd:  You know, I think my one of my criticisms, and I think just like what you were saying, Craig, of maybe sticking a little too close to the subject material, and there are things you can get across in a book that are very difficult to get across in the movie. This power behind them is one of them. If you had had a a counterpart to Pascal, if you had had some other creature or being or person who would also maybe be coming in here and and obviously visually influencing the bad things or or whispering go there or do this or whatnot. And that’s just off

Craig:  the top of my head,

Todd:  but something like that maybe would have made it a little clearer. I think I feel like it comes a little too late in the movie Mhmm. That we realize that the ground or the area out there has a power of its own, which would have compelled Judd. Otherwise, it just leaves those questions like, well, why the hell did they do that in the first place?

Craig:  Well, and it’s also, you know so, the the kid Gage goes over to Judd’s house and kinda toys with them cat and mouse, and eventually, we get to that part that freaked me out where from underneath the bed, he slices Jud’s

Todd:  Freaks everybody out.

Craig:  Yeah. He slices Jud’s Achilles’ heel, and then Judd falls, and he slices his face, and then he bites his jugular. And that comes across, I think, as way scarier in a book. In a movie, especially when you’ve got Fred Gwen, who’s probably about 7 feet tall, you’re thinking, how is this 2 foot tall?

Jim:  And he had a knife in his hand. I don’t know. He probably dropped a knife or what.

Craig:  I mean, yeah. You would fall if your Achilles’ heel, but you would still have use of your arms. Oh, okay.

Todd:  Absolutely. And and and in fact, the film makes it worse because it does that close-up on him clutching the carpet while his his, neck is

Craig:  being No.

Todd:  He could’ve been he could’ve been having grabbing

Jim:  the kids coming to a classroom or whatever.

Todd:  It doesn’t come across very well in the film.

Craig:  Well, and plus, of course, I mean, for a lot of that, they have to use a dummy. I Yeah. I mean, they’ve they’ve got that little kid doing some pretty creepy stuff. I mean, you Yeah. You question

Todd:  his parents. Oh, they saw the dollar figures in

Craig:  the future.

Jim:  Oh, yeah.

Craig:  I’m sure. Todd cute kid, good actor. Anyway, so he kills Todd, and then the mom arrives in the semi truck. Meanwhile, Lewis is still asleep back at home. As soon as the well, there’s a a good line where Pascal says he appears in the car in the truck and says, this is the end of the road for me. I can’t go any further. You’re on your own now. And she says, I’m sure everything will be fine.  She says that to the trucker who had also said, you know, whatever. Goodbye or whatever. And, Pascal says, I’m not. Like, I’m sure everything will be fine. I’m not. Closes the door. As soon as she gets out, she hears the laughter. Well, first, she hears, right out, the the sister’s voice, Zelda’s voice.  And then it turns into Gage’s laughter. So she goes over there. And, again, you know, it’s it’s weird. It’s never really explained how this happens. Like, it almost seems like Jud’s house kind of becomes her childhood house, or at least it’s really reminiscent. Mhmm. And there’s a painting of Zelda as a child that was in her parents’ house that now I think appears in Judd’s house.

Jim:  Oh, yeah.

Craig:  So there’s obviously supernatural stuff going on, but it’s not really explained. She walks into the back bedroom, which looks just like where Zelda’s bedroom was in her childhood house, and there’s Zelda, crouched down in a corner, dressed in the same blue outfit that she was in the painting and that Gage will be, too here in a minute. And she says, we’re gonna get you I mean, it’s it’s really creepy, you know, in her creepy voice and she she runs up to her really fast. Rachel starts to swoon like she’s gonna faint and then you hear the baby laugh again. And when she looks down, there’s Gage. And like my dad said, he looks a little different. He’s pale, but he’s still a cute little kid.

Todd:  Doesn’t he have a hat on too with,

Craig:  like, a

Jim:  cane? That.

Todd:  Well, I What was that all about?

Craig:  See, I always wondered about that when I was a kid, so I was watching more closely. I think that’s what they buried him in. I think they buried him in one of those fancy schmancy Yeah.

Jim:  I think so. And that was the grandparents. And because if you remember, when you saw all these expensive paintings Mhmm. And and things in the parents’ house, her parents’ house, they had kid with the top hat on. Right. Uh-huh. And it’s really it’s it’s a real famous painting, but I can’t remember what it is. Yeah.  I don’t know. But he’s got the top hat on, and and that was the portrait in the her parents’ house.

Craig:  Yeah. And so the kids just like, hi, mommy or something. And she and, again, like, wouldn’t you be kind of horrified? I don’t know. Again, I’m not a parent. I don’t know what would be running through a person’s mind, but he says, come here. I have something for you. And he pulls out the scalpel, and she just, you

Todd:  know, kind of Tries to embrace him. Right. And then all this happens off screen at this point. Right? We hear kind of a scream or we hear a sound of a knife slashing. And the scream. Yeah. And then, when when what’s his name wakes up

Craig:  when Lewis.

Todd:  Lewis wakes up, he goes over. He hears the sounds. Come come over here, daddy. Gage calls them. Yeah. So he goes over and he goes upstairs and he comes across the body of Judd. He walks into the hallway and then the top attic door flops open. And down comes the mother who’s kind of hanging, which leads you to wonder how this little kid Real.

Jim:  How the kid did that?

Todd:  This kid did do that. Okay. He’s Right. I don’t know. Magic now. Power. Yeah. He dies down on him, and they have their struggle.

Jim:  Again, like you said, how he he could same kid took on his 7 foot guy.

Todd:  Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much.

Jim:  But yeah. That’s the other extra power.

Todd:  But dad dad went over there with the intent of putting an end to it all. So he had he actually syringed the cat out in front with some some kind of poison, I guess, and he had another one. I actually had a couple Mhmm. For his son. And when his son comes towards him to attack, he stabs it into his neck. I think, obviously, in the book, this comes I mean, it’s heartbreaking. He’s basically he lost his kid once, and now he has to be the one to kill him a second time. Terrible, terrible, very big emotional stuff.  Boy, it still comes across as a little schlocky in the movie.

Craig:  A little bit, except for I’m so impressed with Meeko Hughes’ performance. I mean, it’s it’s really short, and I’m sure they did a 1000000 takes, with with, you know, of him being so little. But that him getting the syringe and his face being angry and then kind of softening a little bit.

Jim:  And tears coming down his face Mhmm. Todd during that. And and someone’s like, why, daddy? Why?

Craig:  Yeah. Oh, yeah. And then and then he walks away in that, oh, that no fair. No fair. I don’t know. It gets me. And it’s it’s all it’s all to the credit of that kid, the performance. Definitely.  And then, you know, there he he kinda stumbles down the hall, and he stumbles backwards and, you know, falls against the wall. I get what you’re saying, and it’s totally a little schlocky, especially because for a good part of the time when they’re struggling, it’s clearly a dummy. You know, a a tiny dummy that this guy is trying to unbelievably struggle with. So I get what you mean, but that kid saves it for me. Okay.

Todd:  I can see that.

Jim:  He did at the end. But, again, like Todd was saying, well, there’s there’s 2 things that I’m questioning. She gets home. The mom gets home, pulls up, and starts going in the house, but then she hears her sister’s voice. I didn’t know whose voice it was until you just said it, but that you’re right. It was sister’s voice. Would she really go across the

Todd:  street Yeah. Right. Right in front of

Jim:  her home

Craig:  I know. I thought the same thing.

Jim:  Without going in and seeing checking on her husband. Yeah. That’s why she came back so quick for it. Right. But she goes over there anyway. Now she didn’t know any of this

Todd:  Anything. No.

Jim:  Anything. So when she sees Gage, I’m thinking, what?

Craig:  I mean, her reaction just pretty

Jim:  much is holding her arms out and

Craig:  Yeah.

Jim:  But reality, you see a kid that you think’s dead

Todd:  Well, with this

Craig:  guy going on.

Jim:  What what’s going on? I mean, you don’t know any story about the pet cemetery or the special.

Todd:  Plus you just get horrified by this vision of your sister Yeah. Just a second ago, which apparently you didn’t think was real.

Craig:  I guess.

Todd:  You know? Yeah.

Craig:  Well, the to be honest, the story’s full of holes. How how does what does this guy, you know, what does Lewis think is going to happen? You know, even if Gage came back and was just his old self again. You know? You got explained him to do. Just kidding. He wasn’t really dead. It was all a big trick on you. Like, it it doesn’t make any sense.

Jim:  Well, but I can I can see that? I I can believe that, you know, because especially when he was that close to saving him. As a parent, if somebody came to you and said, hey, let’s let’s just take a week and bury him over in this cemetery and and he’ll come back. I think as a parent, you would do anything Yeah. And say, well, even if he is a little weird, you know, or whatever, smells like dirt or whatever, hey. That’s better than not having him at all. I can handle that.

Craig:  Well and and the way that I interpret, especially in the movie, is that Lewis really has just he’s lost his mind. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. He the agreed

Jim:  Orchard Todd. I mean, yeah.

Craig:  Yeah. Orchard Wood. And that’s why after he kills Gage, he then takes his wife down and starts across the street with her towards the cemetery. Why not? Pascal comes back and says, don’t do this. Don’t make it worse. And he says, well, Gage was dead for a long time. She’s only been dead for a little bitty time. She’ll it it’ll be different.

Jim:  And if I remember right, I I think they talked quite a bit more about that in the book. There was this time lapse. I mean, the quicker you get them Uh-huh. In the ground in that special cemetery, the better they’re gonna be. Right. And that was kind of Or

Craig:  the more like themselves. Like themselves. But in the movie, he takes her you know, Pascal screams, no. Don’t do it. But then he disappears and Lewis takes her up there, buries her, comes back home, waits. She shows back up, comes in walking kind of sultrally into the door. But, again, she’s all gross. Like, she’s missing an eye, and, like, pus is, like, pouring out

Jim:  of her eye socket. And which was kinda odd because she hadn’t been dead that long. Yeah. And she was probably got buried the quickest.

Todd:  Like, what did he do to her?

Craig:  I think the suggestion was that he had eaten part of her face. Oh. Because remember, he sliced Judd’s face, but then when when Lewis found Judd, the whole bottom part of his jaw had been torn off or chewed off. So I think that Gage had eaten part of her. Yeah. That makes sense. She’s all gross, and this always, even when I was a kid, grossed me out. The pus is coming, like, right over her lips, and then they start making out.  It’s just disgusting.

Todd:  Yeah. I have to say, that is the scene.

Jim:  Well, he’d pick a plate

Clip:  and lost it.

Craig:  Yeah. Obviously.

Todd:  Between the Achilles tendon getting cut and that scene that you just described, those are the 2 things that stuck with me, this one. From 1989 until now.

Craig:  Yeah. They’re making out, she grabs a big old butcher knife off the table, and we cut to black, and we just hear his scream, and that’s the end.

Todd:  And then we get, the credits and this song by The Remote, and I didn’t even realize this. I just heard the song go on. I’m like, oh, that’s kind of one of those again, one of those catchy rock tunes they always play at the end. And the the song is like, And I’m like, this is dumb. But it got to the end of the credits. It’s by The Ramones. Yeah. Yeah.

Craig:  I’m like, what? Stephen King is a big fan of The Ramones, and he wanted to use their their music in the movie, and he did. The the trucker is listening to The Ramones. She he’s then she was in the Sheila is a punk rocker when he when Gage gets hit. Yeah. And so they were, you know, they were happy that Stephen King was a fan and that he wanted to use their music, so they wrote this song for the movie.

Todd:  It’s a

Craig:  very pointed song. It’s very 80. It’s very 80. And I thought he would end it

Jim:  with Craig Love, something like that.

Todd:  Yeah. Right?

Jim:  That would’ve been When they were kissing right there at the end. That would’ve been good.

Craig:  Well, I still like this movie, and I’ve seen it dozens of times at this point. I don’t think it’s aging well. Mhmm. I think it’s showing its age. And, there’s really nothing special about the cinematography. I mean, it it’s it’s adequate, but it just feels like good television cinematography. Yeah. You’re right.  Yeah. Like it like The Walking Dead or or something. You know, you’ve got the outdoor settings, and and, you know, they’ve they’ve clearly got a budget and there’s good scope, but there’s just really nothing noteworthy, about it. Some of the casting, I I like I said, the mom, I’m not a real huge fan.

Jim:  A real famous star.

Craig:  Her name is Denise Crosby. I don’t know what else she’s been in, but you’re right.

Todd:  She mentions her recognizable, especially from that time period.

Craig:  Yeah. And it’s not that I have anything against her personally, Denise. I’m sure you’re listening. Yeah. I just don’t think it was a a great casting choice. The dad was played by Dale Mid Midkiff, I think. Again, another really recognizable face. I I can’t really peg anything else specifically that he’s been in, but really recognizable.  That role was intended for Bruce Campbell. Really? That would have made it a different movie, wouldn’t it?

Todd:  I sure would’ve.

Craig:  Bruce Campbell’s the guy from the Evil Dead movies. Yeah.

Todd:  I’m not sure if it would’ve made it better. I don’t know.

Craig:  No. I don’t think so either. It would have been interesting to see. Yeah. Ellie was played by a pair of twins. And, again, you know, Fred Fred Gwen, I’m I’m a big fan of his. But

Todd:  He was great. I think he was one of the strongest characters in this film.

Craig:  He’s my favorite. He’s my favorite part of the movie. I think he’s the reason that I keep But it’s passable. You know, I they of course, they’re always talking about potentially remaking everything. You know, this has come up to be remade multiple times.

Todd:  Wasn’t there a sequel as well?

Craig:  Oh, terrible, awful sequel.

Jim:  Did you

Craig:  ever see it? No. I didn’t. Oh, it’s awful. Start Edward Furlong, if that tells you anything.

Todd:  Oh, is it like a direct to video kinda deal?

Craig:  I think it got a theatrical release, but it was it was not good.

Todd:  As I remember, the movie wasn’t critically reviewed very well, but it was a popular movie when it came out. I mean, I think everybody at the time anyway thought it was one of the better Stephen King adaptations. I know that, you know, after maximum overdrive and junk like that. Right. Right. I know that, you know, my friends would talk about it. We watched it. We had it on VHS, and we’d pop it in every showing its age, and, it’s just a little overwrought at times, a little overly dramatic.  A lot of that probably just has to do probably with what you said about just sticking a little too close to that source material.

Jim:  It’s scary when you’re real scary when you’re reading it Mhmm. Kinda. And because you have your own visualization of of what it looks like.

Craig:  Yeah.

Todd:  Yeah.

Jim:  And then you try to portray that. And you’re we’re talking 19, what, 89? 89. Todd. So Yeah.

Todd:  Yeah. It gets inherently difficult to portray a movie that takes place largely in with where the important stuff takes place largely in the minds of the characters.

Craig:  Right. Right.

Todd:  This is that kind of story. And, you know, with The Shining, you he pulled it off beautifully. This just didn’t have Stanley Kubrick. You know?

Craig:  I know. But again, see, it’s that Stephen King thing. Stephen King hates Stanley Kubrick’s setting. I know. I know. And they did a crappy TV remake that Stephen King was really a big fan of. He’s he’s a genius as far as storytelling is concerned, but he might wanna leave the filmmaking to the filmmaker. And it would be it would kinda be nice, I’d almost like to see a remake because Stephen King got his.  You know? He got his direct adaptation and he was really pleased with it. Let somebody else have a go now and see see what they can come up with that.

Jim:  Yeah. Because Steve like I said, he’s one of my favorite authors.

Craig:  Oh, yeah.

Jim:  There’s no doubt about that. And and his writing style is just unbelievable, but his acting Yeah.

Craig:  And, you know,

Jim:  it’s kinda like an Afrodisgock thing. You know, he’s gotta have he’s gotta have a little appearance, but he’s never any good. No. He doesn’t listen there.

Todd:  There’s the sore thumb.

Jim:  You know that. And you know that. And he should know that, my mother.

Craig:  And and another interesting thing, this was, I’m not able to think of her name. I had it in my mind. Now I can’t think of it. But, this was directed by a woman, and you don’t really see very many female directors in horror at all. So maybe that says something about the aesthetic too. Again, I still like it. I watch it. You know, it pops up on TV, and I watch it.  It’s a good movie.

Jim:  Yeah. I like the concept.

Craig:  I don’t know. You know? I don’t know. Story. You know, I teach high school kids. I don’t know if I could impress them with it. I kinda doubt it, but, I still like it. I still think it’s a good movie, and I recommend if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. If you’re a horror fiend, it’s it’s worth having under your belt.  I don’t wanna be living in a bit of sensitivity. Alright. Well, thank you you for joining us for another episode. This was a special episode for me. I got to hang out with my dad, drink a couple of beers, eat a couple of burgers. It’s a good time. We’ll be back, next week with something. I don’t know what, but we don’t know what.  But until then, I’m Craig. I’m Todd.

Jim:  And I’m Jim. Wait. I appreciate the honor of of working with these 2 guys. So, it’s

Todd:  the first

Craig:  The pleasure was gotta say that.

Jim:  Yeah. The the

Craig:  pleasure was all ours. If you, are interested, you can find us on Facebook, Stitcher, iTunes. We’d love to hear any feedback that, you have. So, we’ll see you next time with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.

3 Responses

  1. Emily Hunter says:

    This podcast had me laughing quite a bit – don’t worry – in a good way. The fact you all find the same flaws I do and can joke about it is great.

    This is one of my favorite horror films ever. Kind of in line with having your Dad take you to see this movie at the theater, I remember being sick with pneumonia when I was about 6 or 7 years old and my parents bringing this movie home to watch. Boy, did they regret it! HAHA!

    The film made such an impact on my taste in horror that when I went up to Maine the last time (I have family from there), I did a road trip to the house in the movie as well as the cemetery “Missy” was buried.

  2. toddkuhns says:

    Whoa! The cemetery exists and is still there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *