Stephen King’s terrifying novel, Pet Sematary was written back in 1983 and has since received a film adaptation in 1989, with the second film adaptation due out in the next few weeks – but which version is better?
To celebrate the 30th anniversary release of the original Pet Sematary (1989) film, which is available on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on March 25th, we’re looking into the key differences between the novel and the movie adaptations.
ELLIE OR GAUGE CREED
In Stephen King’s terrifying novel and the 1989 version of Pet Sematary, the youngest Creed, Gauge, is killed by a monster truck. This is a crucial element to the narrative, as the loss of their son is the catalyst for the haunting things that happen next. However, in Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer's 2019 version of Pet Sematary Gauge’s older sister Ellie is the one to be hit by the truck.
In many ways this has an effect on the storyline, as Dennis Widmyer’s explained in an interview that changing the death to be an older child adds more psychological layers to the narrative. Ellie Creed understands what she becomes whereas Gauge in the novel and the 1989 version is unaware, making it more unsettling and haunting.
Rachel Creed’s sister is a significant and haunting character in all versions of Pet Sematary, yet she is portrayed in different ways. In both Stephen’s Kings novel and the upcoming film adaptation, Zelda is described and portrayed as a 10-year-old girl with spinal meningitis. However in the 1989 version, Zelda is played by an adult-male actor which is debatably one of the most hair-raising elements in the film. Either way, Zelda’s horrific deterioration and death alone is one of the most terrifying parts of the story.
Timmy Baterman is a 17-year-old boy killed during World War II and then affected by the curse of the Micmac burial after his father laid him there. Timmy appeared ‘normal’ at first but then we soon find out that Timmy didn’t return from the dead with a soul… The tale of Timmy is spoken about in the novel and the 1989 adaptation, although it’s not mentioned in the upcoming adaptation. Instead we get to know the protagonists a little better.
A smaller yet important difference in terms of being true to the novel is the loss of the Maine accent. Stephen King clearly details in the novel that character Jud Crandall who is the Creed’s neighbour, friend and gate keeper of Micmac burial grounds, has a thick and very heavy Maine accent. However, in the 2019 version, Oscar-nominated actor John Lithgow whom is playing Jud, does not take on the Maine accent. He recently stated in an interview that he believes Jud has evolved into “a more serious character” since the novel.
OWN PET SEMATARY (1989) ON 4K ULTRA HD AND BLU-RAY™ MARCH 25.
‘I don’t know what’s going on out there,’ said Mum, ‘but I heard a group of kids in the road crying out for their mummy.’
Whoah, wait. What do you mean, ‘You heard a group of kids crying out for their mummy in the road out there’? Mum. We live in the middle of nowhere. The only other kids in this road are the Hoverds three doors up. This is a dark Sunday night. They’ll be in bed by now as it’s Sunday and we have school tomorrow. they aren’t likely to be out in the road crying for their mummy, are they?
This didn’t seem to bother my mother but it bothered me, immensely. After all, this was One Farm Road, creepiest place in England, I am 8 years old and we’re living here!!
I’ve always had an active imagination, especially as a child. The difference between then and now being that, as an adult, I can (largely) tell the difference between the real and the unreal. My dad was a heating engineer and mum used to be a secretary. One day in 1969 they packed the mini and eloped from their respective marriages and had me in 1970. My mum had always been itinerant as an evacuee during the war and one of 7 kids from Greater London who later, as an adult, moved to Devon. My dad had grown up in a small Devonshire village so eloping from his first marriage to be with my mum caused a huge scandal in sleepy Devon making him spiritually homeless. Maybe this was the reason we moved around a lot when I was a kid. Perhaps they couldn’t settle, were looking for another home.
When I was eight they decided to move again. My dad took a job as a builder at a boy’s boarding school.
They announced that we’d be moving from the static caravan site we lived on to this place with a lovely house that came with the job. The house was in a place called Farm Road in the grounds of an old boarding school called Kingham Hill.
I remember the first time we went to Kingham Hill. We seemed to drive for miles through empty, winter countryside until we arrived at this estate of grey-bricked buildings. An ominous chapel hemmed in by school buildings and misty playing fields. The bursar met us in reception and showed us the house and we followed him in his grey Ford Anglia in my dad’s mini along a road that cut through dark creepy woods down to a hamlet of seven houses. The houses sat in a miserable row edging onto long, lonely fields. This was Farm Road. Our house was number One Farm Road.
The house was old, constructed of the same grey brick as the school buildings and chapel back up the hill. The green gate squeaked open and the door, pained in the same green, opened onto a cold hallway floored with ancient dark blood red tiles.
There were three bedrooms which overlooked misty fields and the valley opposite, a view that did nothing to ease the sense of isolation.
There was a bathroom. Old, white cracked tiles and large enamel bath, dead spiders in the bottom. The bursar opened the airing cupboard to show my mum how much storage space there was and I clapped eyes on two dead birds who had found their way into the cupboard somehow. One was a starling. In my fear-altered memory the other was a black bird. The bursar laughed. Oh dear, how embarrassing when showing a prospective householder/employee around.
The night before we moved, I head a dream. The same house. The same bathroom. I am on my own this time. I open the cupboard I see a dead boy instead of two dead birds. He’s older than me, wearing a stripy t shirt and jeans but he lay there. Very dead.
Then his leg moves. Just a twitch but enough to make me realise he is dead but isant and this was a no longer a dream but a NIGHTMARE.
One Farm Road was an unpleasant place to live. The only other kids were the Hoverds, a brother and sister older than me. They were insular and downright hostile. It was a middle of winter and they never played outside. I went to the village school where the tyrannical religious teacher made my life a misery with maths tests, extra homework. I didn’t make friends easily and there was a bully as well. Surprise, surprise.
These were the real problems. The unreal problems were more frightening because they manifested at home. The house was haunted. It had to be. The place was so old. Pipes made noises and there were creeks and groans my 8-year-old mind couldn’t explain. Going to bed was a problem but the worst, very worst this was the boiler cupboard.
At the end of my room was a door where the boiler sat covered it tis yellow coat of honeycomb-like substance. This door never closed properly and stayed open an inch. The thing, the ghost, creature, dead boy, was in there. Looking out.
Not long after we moved in was when my mum heard the kids outside. This was all part of it. The supernatural event was building up and waiting for the right moment to reveal its self to me, most likely when I was alone. We’d all heard the stories. People seeing ghosts at the end of the bed or something horrible in the corner of the room.
I vocalised my fears to my parents (they never saw the open boiler cupboard door as a legitimate reason for me not to got to bed) and even to some teachers. The only one who believed me as another child, a boy called Morris who reliably informed me that ghosts only came out at midnight and only then for a minute. So, they did exist then. My parents got me a radio but night time was still a problem and I’d lay in bed terrified of the house and the open door. Eventually Mum let me move rooms to the smaller room.
Looking back there must have been other reasons for this irrational fear. Not being a parent myself I’ve not really had much chance to study this phenomenon from the other side as it were. Creepy stories were everywhere, it seemed, when I was a kid back in 1978. Imagination was fuelled by shows such as Raven, Armchair Theatre (remember the shadow sitting in the chair in the opening titles?) Children of the Stones (although shown as a children’s TV programme received a 12 certificate on DVD release) and, of course, Doctor Who. I’m no way blaming TV for all this. Kids were afraid of the dark way before TV. Perhaps the only reason for this was an innate realisation that the world is scary, full stop. More likely, I’d not yet learned the difference between the real and the unreal.
I’m pretty sure the supernatural paranoia ended one Friday afternoon. My parents would not be at home when I came back from school, some work function kept them out, so I would have to enter the house…alone.
Spring had arrived and the afternoons no longer dark but I still didn’t want to be in the house alone. I intended to sit in under a tree outside and wait for them to come back rather than go into the house. I walked through the squeaky gate. It was cold, the small blackthorn tree looked uninviting so I thought sod it, and went inside, made a sandwich and watched TV. It was that simple.
Time passed. Adolescence followed and I made friends with the kids from the farm up the road who had recently moved in and by the time I got to the age of 11 and 12 we were listening to heavy metal, dragging stuff out of skips and smashing it up and riding about on our bikes. Childhood back then looked like a cross between The Wasp Factory and Stranger Things. After puberty the nightmare of adolescence began. We moved out of that house and down to the village (my parents couldn’t keep still)
I went back to the house ten years after I’d moved in, when I was 18. I was working as a painter and decorator then. The firm I worked for did a lot of work for the school and we decorated One Farm Road. I went up to the big bedroom alone with a pot of undercoat do the skirting board and there it was. The boiler room door, still open and inch.
No. Not this time. I’m older now and you don’t scare me.
The last time I went back to Farm Road was in 2004. Some teacher Friends of Mine were having a Christmas do at their house. I took a look at One Farm Road. Lights were glowing inside and it actually looked quite homely. Farm Road itself remained isolated and dark but I’d been living in an urban environment for years by then so found it to be quite a change.
One thing I did remember which was strange. I never did get an explanation as to why my mother had heard those kids crying for their mummy that winter Sunday night.
Paul Melhuish is a writer and had short stories published in Various magazines. He novel High Cross was published last October by Horrific Tales Publishing. He is a member of Northampton Science Fiction Writers Group.
Visit Paul's website here
High cross has laid empty since World War Two. Deserted, abandoned. Until now.
Property developer Mark Grange had renovated the old village into a community fit for the twenty first century. As the first residents move in, an evil which has lain
Lady Grey has woken. As human as sin but as eternal as the devil, Lady Grey enslaves the hearts and minds of these new villagers using their sins, secrets, fears and desires. And these
new residents harbor some very dark secrets indeed.
Unless Mark can stop her,
Britain’s Newest Village will become a hell on Earth.
I first discovered the cinema of José Roman Larraz in the same way that many others probably did, through the seminal book Immoral Tales, written by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs. This book was absolutely essential for anyone interested in European cult cinema and served as a primary reference for anyone hoping to learn more about the films of Jess Franco, Jean Rollin, Walerian Borowczyk and Robbe-Grillet, among others. But having been published in 1995, attempts to see the titles discussed would often prove to be a source of frustration, given how few of the films were accessible to view. More often than not, many of them were only available in bootleg form, often incomplete and of terrible quality. Most elusive of all were the films of José Larraz, who’s films (with the single exception of Vampyres) had all but vanished from the earth.
Then in 2016, Pete Tombs' own Mondo Macabro and the BFI Flipside labels released simultaneous Blu-ray editions of Symptoms, Larraz's 1974 British horror film. The film had been newly restored by Belgian Cinematek and was sourced from the original negative, rediscovered at the BFI Archive after long believed lost. The film was a revelation to me and many others who were seeing it for the first time. Although Symptoms invited comparisons to such films as Repulsion in terms of its plot, the film’s unique spell lay both in its casting of Angela Pleasence as the mentally fragile protagonist, and in how Larraz brought a unique outsider’s eye to capturing the British landscape, presenting an unrelenting dreamlike atmosphere that shunned the neat and logical narratives of say, the Hammer or Amicus films at the time. The film was really like nothing else from the era, and its haunting ambience remained with the viewer long after the film was over.
Given the renewed interest in Larraz’s films, it was only right that we at Arrow would restore his very first feature, Whirlpool (1970). Prior to this film Larraz had never directed, having worked as a comic-book writer and fashion photographer. So it was surprising to see the same visual sensibility I saw in Symptoms almost fully formed in this earlier film. Whirlpool’s primary influences are fairly obvious - Blow Up and Peeping Tom both loom large here - but although Whirlpool is a much cruder film in many ways (the film was shot on an extremely low budget and the soundtrack was post-synched in Rome), it distinguishes itself with a heavy atmosphere of dread and mystery throughout. It also brings a frankness to its erotic content that stands in stark contrast to the tittering repression exhibited in most British exploitation films of the period.
Locating materials for Whirlpool took some detective work, but we finally located the film’s original materials in UCLA’s archive, which included the film negative and optical soundtrack. We scanned the materials at Deluxe’s EFILM facility and graded and restored the film at R3Store Studios in London. Available references to work from were scant, but the materials were thankfully in good condition and we were able to arrive at the closest approximation to the original look and feel of the film we deemed possible. We remastered the audio at Deluxe’s Audio facility in Los Angeles and were able to remove most of the surface noise issues while preserving the atmosphere of the soundtrack, including Stelvio Cipriani’s haunting score. Once the main restoration work was completed we expanded our search for any existing elements for the UK/European version, which included a couple extraneous shots and most notably, a voiceover during the final scene, but sadly no materials could be found. These differences are explored in an extra on our release, “Variations on Whirlpool”.
As with Symptoms, Vampyres (1974) is a film unlike any other films made in Britain at the time, with its unrestrained marriage of sexuality and violence bringing a primary blood-lust to British cinema that simply hadn’t been seen before. This combination proved too much for the censors, who demanded Larraz cut his film throughout in order to pass classification. I had only seen Vampyres on video before, so I welcomed the opportunity to give the film its proper due with a new restoration of the complete uncut version from the original materials. Fortunately the film’s producer Brian-Smedley Aston had kept hold of the original negative which was both in very good shape and complete & uncut, with the the exception of a portion of the final reel, which we were able to source from a 35mm CRI element. All scanning, grading and picture restoration work was completed at R3Store Studios, with great care taken during the colour grading to maintain its gothic atmosphere, while presenting the stark reds of the bloodletting in all their lurid glory. The soundtrack was remastered from the optical negative at OCN Digital.
Finally, we restored a Larraz title I had never seen a frame of prior to working on the film, The Coming of Sin (1978). This film, shot and produced completely in Spain, is really more of an erotic thriller than a horror film, although it maintains Larraz’s signature atmosphere of bleakness and dread throughout. The dislocation from reality is only further emphasised this time by the film’s use of light, film grain and a gauzy diffused texture. Materials were sourced from the Spanish licensors via Deluxe Madrid with the original camera negative serving as the primary picture element. Once again, references to work from were relatively nonexistent, but it was clear from examining the negative that the work to present the film’s unique look was achieved right there in the negative, and hadn’t been achieved through intermediate lab processing. After scans were completed at Deluxe, the remaining picture grading and restoration work was completed at R3Store Studios. Unfortunately the negative had retained some serious chemical damage which we could not completely remove, but aside from this the materials were in fairly decent shape. With regards to the audio, The Coming of Sin is a very quiet film, as little dialogue is actually spoken (a choice apparently made to conceal the nonprofessional actors’ limitations), making preserving the soundtrack’s atmosphere correctly all the more crucial. Fortunately the original magnetic reels had been kept and Deluxe Madrid was able to preserve the soundtrack with minimal tinkering.
Many people have helped make this project happen, including the restoration team at R3Store, Deluxe Madrid, EFILM/Deluxe Los Angeles, OCN Digital and the UCLA Film Archive. I should also like to thank Pete Tombs, both for his assistance during this project, and for his part in introducing me to the films of Jose Larraz a decade ago. Working on these Larraz films has been a truly eye-opening experience, one I hope to continue should the original materials surface for the remaining films in José Larraz’s output resurface one day. At the moment, the elements for many of his films remain shrouded in mystery, but my hope is that our work on these films will further his legacy and help bring about the rediscovery of those films that remain lost.
Blood Hunger: The Films of José Larraz available on Blu-ray March 25th from Arrow Video
Order today: https://arrowfilms.com/product-detail/blood-hunger-the-films-of-jos-larraz-blu-ray/FCD1852
“Duncan P. Bradshaw is irreverently funny and in possession of a real flair for the gory set-piece.”
— Chris Kelso
The Sinister Horror Company, in association with EyeCue Productions are proud to reveal the cover of our forthcoming title Cannibals From Outer Space by Duncan P. Bradshaw which will be released on the 26th July 2019.
He’s back! The man with one of the most unique voices in modern horror returns to the stable that he helped create. And what a return. Fresh from his success with the popular and bizarre Mr Sucky (a serial killer possessed vacuum cleaner tale), he’s put his stamp on the Sinister Horror Company catalogue with Cannibal Nuns From Outer Space. Expect guts, gore and gags. Expect bizarre twists and turns. Expect meticulous detail to design and layout. Expect something completely different from what you’ve read before. Expect pure Bradshaw.
Dunk has this to say about the new release:
“I love crappy films, more specifically, the ones with ropey FX, characters that are larger than life, and lots of OTT blood and gore. So when I woke up at my mother's house one morning, the title of this book was the first thing to greet me. Who the hell would want to read a book called cannibal nuns from outer space, let alone write it? Me. Which is the most important thing about any project I approach. I was finally getting to the stage where I'd figured out what it was that I enjoyed writing, a mix of horror, comedy and bizarro, so no sooner had I thought of the title, my brain was working out how I could try and make it entertaining.
The book itself is meant to be a b-movie that's gone straight to book, and is presented that way, with fake movie trailers before the story itself, end credits, deleted scenes, even a director's commentary in the super-duper hardback version. It's just meant to be pure unadulterated fun, because that's what reading has always been about to me. A book takes you somewhere else, granted, it uses someone else's words, but the places that they create, and the people you meet? They're yours, and yours alone. So when I chatted to Justin about what I was going to do with it, we both said the same thing, release it through the place that we both helped to build, but he has turned into a majestic oak.
So, I'm back, and one thing's for certain, these damned nuns are hungry as hell. You can find out for yourself on Friday 26th July 2019, or, if you're super keen, at Edge Lit a few weeks before.”
Cannibal Nuns From Outer Space blurb:
With an encyclopaedic knowledge of cake, and exclusive access to the church’s stockpile of holy weapons, the Order of the Crimson Rosary are on the frontline in the eternal war between good and evil. Whether it’s repelling demonic possession, judging the authenticity of supposed miracles or having the final say on the colour of bunting at church fetes, the organisation's members sacrifice their own freedom to keep the world safe.
Father Flynn, the top operative in the UK, has been responsible for a number of recent high profile gaffs. Given an ultimatum, he must choose between returning to his old job of preserving the last microfiche machine in the church’s library, or submit himself for rehabilitation.
Yet evil doesn’t take a ticket and wait in line, as the dreaded cannibal nuns from outer space land to begin their annual harvest. Can Flynn get himself sober enough to repel their evil machinations? Or will another idyllic British village become the nun’s latest buffet?
One thing’s for certain, to beat them, Father Flynn is going to have to kick the habit.
Cannibal Nuns From Outer Space will be available on Kindle, Paperback and Hardback from Amazon and the Sinister Horror Company website from the 26th July 2019.
Pre-orders for Paperback currently available via Amazon. Other formats to follow shortly.
Cover art by the incredible Adrian Stone.
For any enquiries or further information visit:
Egypt has always been a good source of inspiration for many different reasons. With the pyramids, mummies, tombs, and the general history Egypt is steeped in, it makes it one of the most interesting countries in the world today, as well as a great inspiration source. We have all benefited from this mysterious country, from learning about surgery and toothpaste to being the inspiration for games like Book of Dead slot game to epic screen plays. In fact, this is one of the reasons why some fantastic movies have an Egyptian flavour to them, with Egyptian horror movies world renowned. With so many scary Egyptian horror movies to pick from, we’ve dug out some of the best below.
The Mummy is probably the most well-known set of Egyptian horror movies of all time, spanning way back to 1932 when the original was first made. Between then and now there have been close to ten instalments, with The Mummy also spawning spin-offs such as The Scorpion King. The 1932 original is an all time classic with Boris Karloff playing the lead, while in 1999 Egyptian horror was perfectly combined with action and adventure when Rick O’Connell, Jon Carnahan and Evy Carnahan were all being chased down by the mummy. It’s an all-time classic horror story, with similarities in the plot being included in each instalment.
The 1980 version of the Awakening is a British horror flick that is set in Egypt from the outset. Matthew Corbeck, an archaeologist, sets out on a dig in 1961 where he discovers the tomb of an ancient Egyptian queen. Little does he know that by opening the ancient Egyptian queen’s tomb, he will release the spirit trapped within, which then goes on to possess his baby daughter. Corbeck’s new born baby daughter is then left with powers thanks to the spirit possessing her, evil ones that could go on to threaten humanity like nothing ever been seen before. Corbeck in a way becomes obsesses with the ancient Egyptian queen, which sees lives taken as a result.
122 is one of the latest Egyptian horror movies to hit the screens and even from when the film was rumoured to be in production, there was real anticipation surrounding it. In terms of the plot, the story centres on a doctor who has been accused of murder and has since gone on a mission to prove his innocence to everyone. The horror side of 122 comes into play brilliantly when the doctor and his partner go on the run, but they’re on the run from what is supposedly the safest place around, the hospital. This Egyptian horror movie received critical acclaim and was nominated for various awards, making it one of the finest of its type for some time.
It’s the Phantom Flan Flingers fault. If it hadn’t been for him, I probably wouldn’t have been watching Tiswas that Saturday morning and would never have even heard of Iron Maiden or their music. Okay, so Sally James might also have had something to do with me tuning into ITV’s anarchic, anything goes answer to the BBC’s far more sedate and well-mannered Swap Shop as well, but that is almost certainly another conversation for another time.
So, there I was, diligently watching all manner of foam flying around the Tiswas studio and in the direction of the various minor celebrities who had agreed to be caged and humiliated in order to shill their latest whatever it was they were selling that week when it appeared on the screen in all its unfettered glory; The Number of the Beast. It was a revelation; I’d never seen anything like it before. The haunting introductory narration that I, at the time, assumed was Vincent Price* who had become my favourite actor after I’d been allowed to watch Theatre of Blood and The Abominable Doctor Phibes which then fed into a devastatingly catchy riff and haunting vocals immediately dug their claws into my imagination and refused to let go.
For four minutes and fifty something seconds I was transfixed and dumbfounded. Held in thrall by a group of musicians who were unlike anything I’d ever seen before who weren’t singing about being in love with the girl next door or being cast aside in favour of a much better looking chap whose financial future was guaranteed and having their hearts broken in the process. My journey to the dark side was completed in less time than it takes to prepare a half decent hard-boiled egg.
Before that video began, ten year old me spent his time immersed in the adventures of the Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators, reading 2000AD and whatever Marvel Comics he could get his hands on, reliving the plots of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back with his ever expanding collection of Kenner and Palitoy figures and watching Tom Baker and Peter Davison travelling through time and space, battling the monster of the week. I hadn’t give music much thought and apart from the odd Disco number, Boney M and the occasional two tone tune that popped up on the radio, music didn’t really play any part in my life. After it finished, my life was all about music; it became my everything.
I can’t even pinpoint or single out what it was, and is, about The Number of the Beast that touched my soul so deeply and profoundly. Maybe it was because it was about the devil and I’d just finished reading the novelisation of The Omen and Satan and all of his deliciously evil plans, machinations and schemes were weighing heavily on my mind. Maybe it appealed to me as I was a small, ginger child with a funny accent who loved all of the things that normal kids hated and immediately realised that this was the music of ‘outsiders’, those “unfortunate” individuals who were either shunned by, or for some reason chose to live their lives on the fringes of, the mainstream and like always attracts, speaks to and reaches out for like. Or maybe it was just that ten year old me needed something to hold on to and Iron Maiden and heavy metal provided a tangible buoy that I could embrace and retreat to whenever I was being beaten like a garishly coloured piñata at a drunken student soiree for looking different, talking funny and not exactly being great at anything that involved physical activity.
Whatever it was, that song and that moment changed my life forever. It set in motion the chain of events that have shaped my existence. It’s the reason that I started going to shows and gigs and was responsible for me failing my army physical***. It’s why I spent too many wasted years**** playing in bands that never really went anywhere or did anything***** and ultimately why I became a journalist and later, a writer. Everything that I became, and am, is due to The Number of the Beast and Iron Maiden.
Blame Tiswas. I do.
*It isn’t Vincent Price. It’s a chap called Barry Clayton who was considerably cheaper, and asked for far less money, than Vincent Price.
** Boney M are vastly underrated. It’s true and I’ll argue that point with anyone who thinks otherwise. Because they’re wrong.
*** I fractured my coccyx stage diving at a Napalm Death show when I was fifteen years old and as I was young, dumb and drunk at the time didn’t realise what had happened until the next day. Cue five months of agony and a relatively short lived love affair with opiates and painkillers.
****It’s an Iron Maiden in joke. If you know the band and their music, you’ll get it and if you don’t… Well, never mind.
*****Mainly due to a lack of talent and the delusional belief that attitude and hard work were enough to “make it”. They weren’t, aren’t and never will be.
Tim Cundle is the editor of Mass Movement, a counter culture site dedicated to punk rock, Hardcore, comics, genre literature and film and professional wrestling.
He also writes reviews and interviews writers, artists and interesting people for Tripwire and is the author of Compression and What Would Gary Gygax Do?