Stephen King's Pet Sematary scared the living shit out of me when I was a kid. It gave me nightmares for months! I couldn't even get to sleep at times because I would imagine Zelda, one of the creepy-ass characters in the film, crouched in the shadows of the corner of my bedroom. Regardless of those terrifying memories of the movie, I still watch it every year during Halloween to remind myself of that fear. Why? Maybe because I'm a little twisted, and even though it scared me to death, I enjoyed the adrenaline rush of it. Here are thirteen fun facts that I came across for the film that I wanted to share.
- King once said that this is the only novel he wrote that really scared him.
- The role of the terrifying character Zelda, who was Rachael's dying sister, was played by a man. The director, Mary Lambert, wanted this character to frighten audiences, but she didn't think that a 13-year old girl was scary enough so she cast Andrew Hubatsek in the role to make something be "off about Zelda". It worked.
- It's common for King to mention the events of his other stories in other novels. In the book Jud mentions that a dog went wild in a nearby town and killed several people. This is a reference to the events of Cujo, which is another book that King wrote.
- King was on location for most of the shooting of the movie. The area where it was shot was only 20 minutes away from the author's home in Bangor, Maine.
- The original script for the movie featured the 'wendigo,' which is a Native American demon. It was mentioned in the novel, but it was ultimately cut from the film. "Its presence is implied only twice in the movie. First in the scene where Louis is walking through the woods at night and hears something large knock down a tree. The second is when Jud first takes Louis up to the Indian burial ground. There is some kind of loud crash deep in the forest followed by a long, almost feminine howl. Jud says that 'it's only a loon' but it's clear that he doesn't entirely believe it himself.
- When King first wrote the manuscript for Pet Sematary he shelved it because friends and family hated it. I'm glad it didn't stay on the shelf!
- In an interview with actor Brad Greenquist, who played Victor Pascow, he said that while in his gory makeup no one would sit near him while the cast and crew were having lunch.
- Bruce Campbell was the first choice for the role of Louis Creed. It would have been amazing had he actually starred in the film! Missed opportunity.
- This was the first filmed screenplay that Stephen King adapted from one of his own novels.
- The story was inspired by actual events experienced by Stephen King that occurred while he was living in Orington, Maine with his family. King recalled that while living there his daughter's cat was killed in the highway. Much of Ellie Creed's emotional outburst was taken directly from King's own grief-stricken daughter. King also remembered that once his youngest son had nearly run into the road while a truck was speeding down it, much like Gage does in the film. The character of Jud Crandall was based on the elderly neighbor that lived across the road from King. Also there was an actual pet cemetery in the woods behind the King house, which became the basis for the one in the novel.
- George A. Romero was originally set to direct the movie, but when filming was delayed, he had to drop out.
- King made a cameo as the minister at the funeral.
- There is a painting at Rachel's parents' house that features Zelda as a child, before she got spinal meningitis. The creepy little boy Gage is later seen wearing a similar outfit that Zelda is in that painting. This was to signify that Zelda has come back through him, which was Rachel's deepest fear.
Below I included the original trailer and a clip from the scene that really jacked me up. Thanks to Imdb for some of the facts.