Pet Sematary, the bestselling novel Stephen King was once too scared to publish, just turned 35. Here are 16 killer facts to celebrate
- Pet Sematary was first published on November 14, 1983.
- An unprecedented 700,000 hard copies were put out in print.
- It spent 32 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.
- By this point, in 1983, Stephen King had seen more of his novels adapted into movies than Charles Dickens.
- Ironically, given that Pet Sematary was by far his biggest hit at the time, Stephen King originally didn’t ever want to see it published.
- Instead, after he’d written it, he hid the novel in a drawer for three years, because he said it was too horrifying to see the light of day.
- King only agreed to publish the novel when he was persuaded to by his wife, Tabitha, to do so, to meet a contract agreement.
- The reason for his reticence was that it was his most personal novel to date, based on a year his family spent in Orrington, Maine, when King was teaching at his old university.
- There, the house the Kings rented was on a road so busy that the local children had made their own pet cemetery for the pets that kept falling victim to it.
- The idea for Pet Sematary came from a personal experience when King’s daughter’s pet cat, Smucky, was killed on the road outside their house. Later another truck came close to killing his two-year-old son, Owen, on the same road.
- “If things had changed by just five seconds, we’d have lost one of our kids,” said King in 1983 about the moment he grabbed Owen just before he ran onto the road.
- Not surprisingly, the novel is very personal to King. For years, he had just three key pieces of movie memorabilia in his office: A hand-drawn ‘REDRUM’ sign from The Shining, a director’s chair from The Green Mile and a rug from Pet Sematary.
- The novel has many famous fans. Dee Dee Ramone wrote the Ramones track ‘Pet Sematary’ after reading the book in King’s basement.
- The novel has been seen by some as a sister-piece to It, with the two novels both being Maine-set stories about the loss of childhood innocence.
- The writer and directors of this new movie adaptation are huge King fans. They think Pet Sematary is his greatest ever work.
- This new movie’s producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, has overseen more than 80 big-screen book adaptations before this, including another based on a Stephen King novel, 1408.