Pet Sematary. 1989. USA. Directed by Mary Lambert. Screenplay by Stephen King. With Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby, Brad Greenquist, Michael Lombard, Miko Hughes and Blaze Berdahl. 103 min.
Pet Sematary opens with roaring 18-wheelers careening through a pastoral Maine town, on a two-lane highway that sends them racing past the new home of Dr. Louis Creed and his young family. This unfortunate real-estate decision eventually sets off a series of tragic events that lead Louis to make an ill-fated visit to a Native American burial ground. Director Mary Lambert, coming off a very successful career directing music videos for Madonna, Janet Jackson, and others, was hand-picked by Stephen King to direct, and her background in visual arts and vivid use of primary colors (those trucks are blood red) elevate King’s script and amplify his themes of love and grief. Fred Gwynne, as townie Jud Crandall, tells Louis, “Sometimes dead is better.” He’s very right.