Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Horror Movie Review #1 - Pet Sematary (1989)

I wasn't sure which movie to review first this month.  I want to do a lot of new horror movie reviews, but there's no way to tell which ones are going to be stinkers, and which aren't.  I picked an older movie to review because I wanted a solid start to my month of horror movie reviews, and because I just saw pet Sematary 2 last night, due to Netflix removing it from their instant watch.  Which blows for you guys who might have wanted to watch a double-Pet-Sematary feature, but meh, what can you do.

On to the summation!  Pet Sematary (1989) is the story of a small-town doctor who falls in love with a woman who owns a pig, and..  wait.  No, that's Doc Hollywood with Michael j Fox.  Right.  So, this movie stars Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, a guy who moves his family to the country to become the town doctor.  With him are his wife (Denise Crosby), his daughter and his small son.  And Fred Gwynne stars as the old creepy neighbor!  So Louis' cat dies, which is regrettable, because his daughter loves the cat, and wouldn't you know it, but there's this old micmac indian graveyard nearby, behind the Pet Sematary (misspelled because kids wrote the name of it on the sign before there was Spell-check), where Louis can go and bury his cat and the cat will come back to life!  Wow, that sure is handy.  Only thing is, once the cat comes back from the dead, well...  It's not quite the same cat anymore.  Sure it looks similar, but it's still got the wounds it had when it died, and it smells bad, either from rotting or just things inside of it going bad, who knows.  And then things get worse.  They always get worse.

I'm going to take an aside here and talk about Fred Gwynne.  One, the man was a very underrated actor.  One of the reviewers on netflix used his "herman Munster" days as an example of how bad the acting is in this movie, but it really wasn't bad acting, and Fred Gwynne is certainly not the one to use as an example of bad acting.  Frankly, I would think Dale Midkiff was a worse actor, because while Fred Gwynne had roles all his life, with one of his final movies being "My Cousin Vinny" with Joe Pesci, I haven't heard of "dale Midkiff" since Pet Sematary.  In any case, Fred Gwynne's character as the neighbor in this movie is so pivotal to what's going on that he may as well have been the star of the film.  Look at it from his point of view.  You live near a road that takes the lives of many a local pet.  You see new neighbors moving in, and you know there was one time, many years back, when someone buried a human being in the micmac burial ground behind the pet sematary, and you don't want something evil like that coming back to haunt the town anytime soon.  Do you warn the neighbor?  Do you not warn him in the hope that he won't ever find out about the indian burial ground?  is it even your responsibility?  What happens if you DON'T warn him, and something bad happens?  Like Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) says early on in the movie...  "The soil of a man's heart is stonier, Louis.  A man grows what he can there...  and tends it."  So Jud knows he has to do what he can to warn Louis NOT to use the pet sematary to raise up a human being.  because Louis is a Doctor, and doctors always think they know better.  Just like Moms, but don't get me started.  So Jud Crandall KNOWS that Louis is going to want to bring back the dead at some point.  He's a doctor.  Doctors think they should have that kind of power.  And sometimes, they do.  Which makes it even worse, because when you have access to a place like the micmac burial ground, and you know about it, well....  you just KNOW the doctor is going to try and use it at some point.  It wouldn't surprise me one bit if old Jud Crandall had purposely lured the Creed's cat out into the road so it could get run over in the first place.  Or, maybe he even broke the cat's neck himself so he could use it as an example.  NEVER use the Pet Sematary to bring back a human.  Crazy-evil pets are bad enough, but crazy-evil humans?  Well.  We have enough of those in Congress.

So inevitably, and I'm not ruining anything here because the movie is like 25 years old, Louis decides to bring back a human being after one dies.  And it's not even the first one that dies, because the first one that dies tries to warn him.  Some young kid named pascal dies right on the new doc's first day, and warns him.  Warns him never to use the Pet Sematary.  But does the doctor listen?  Nope.  Did you ever think about how many horror movies would have ended tons better if those young whippersnappers actually LISTENED when the crazy old guy told them to turn back, don't do that, or to go home?  Yea, pretty much all of them.  lol

Pet Sematary was actually a pretty decent movie.  The effects are a little dated, mostly there's some gory makeup and stuff, and a few disappearing ghosts, but honestly, they work.  The disappearing ghosts are never really seen by most of the cast anyways, so it doesn't matter.  I especially liked how Pascal kept trying, over and over, to warn the doc off trying to use the burial ground, and finally just disappeared after having failed completely.  I thought that part was very well done.  I honestly can't remember ever reading the book written by Stephen King, so I can't compare it to the movie, but it's hard to go wrong with the so-called Master of Horror, and by all accounts, this movie followed the script very closely.  A lot of the reviewers found the performance of the dead kid to be a little creepy, but I find live kids to be much creepier, so dead kids really don't bother me.  The rest of the movie, on the other hand, was generally pretty frightening, and I like the idea that there's a creepy old indian burial ground just off the edge of human civilization where strange shit happens and old ghosts linger.  Makes you wonder just how many other places are out there like that.  I mean, there's a LOT of unexplored countryside, and there's a LOT of places that people have lived in before us, that aren't lived in anymore.  Most of the time, it's just human progress.  We live, we move, we wander.  Other times, well...  we all die, or we all move away from something bad.  Sometimes, the something bad is, well...  Something BAD.  Makes you wonder just how many times that happens, eh?  Well, I wonder.  I wonder a LOT.

Pet Sematary is available on netflix if you want to catch it.  A quick glance over my previous reviews assures me I didn't review this before, but if I have already, you have my apologies.  The sequel, Pet Sematary 2, just wasn't as good, even if it did have the menacing Clancy Brown, now appearing in Sleepy Hollow in the fall TV season.

In other news, the fall TV season looks promising.  Marvel's Agents of SHIELD appears to be the one good show I've seen so far.  Sleepy Hollow isn't bad, but time will tell.  I'm looking forward to seeing a few other shows.  I honestly haven't seen a single episode of American Horror Story, but this season promises to focus on Covens of Witches, so hopefully that will entice me to take in an episode or two.  I'll let you know if I find a kernel of goodness somewhere in all the probably-going-to-fail mix of new shows.  Mostly, I'm watching Sleepy Hollow, Agents of SHIELD, Person of Interest, and ...  well, I am sure there are other good shows in there somewhere.  I've already crossed Blacklist and Hostages off my list of things to watch.  Why?  No monsters.  Yep, that's the only qualification, and honestly, I really don't want to watch another doomed cop show.  There's too many as it is.  I'm waiting for Blue Bloods to fail so Tom Selleck can get back to making more Jesse Stone movies.  Or maybe a Jesse Stone series? :-D  Time will tell...

Catch you guys tomorrow night with another review!  One down, 30 to go!  I have a whole list of unseen horror movies in my netflix queue, so hopefully I can review a bunch of the newer, maybe-poor-quality movies and let you know just how bad they are.  lol  Til next time!

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