THE MAINE ATTRACTION
Six reasons why Pet Sematary is a spiritual sister-piece to It, 2017’s monster smash
- Pet Sematary and It are two of Stephen King’s most beloved novels, born out of his creative explosion in an era that is currently experiencing a massive genre rebirth: the 1980s.
- Both novels are about the loss of childhood innocence and are set in King’s home state, Maine. In real life, King lives in Bangor, Maine. The fictional town of Derry, Maine, is the setting for It. And in Pet Sematary, the Creed family make the fatal mistake of moving to the fictional town of Ludlow, Maine, for a supposedly quieter life.
- Just as Pennywise haunts Derry, Pet Sematary’s Ludlow lives under the shadow of its own terrible and malevolent manifestation: the Wendigo, a demonic presence that lives deep in the woods.
- “There’s no alien or clown in our movie,” says producer Mark Vahradian about the comparisons to It. “And it’s not a kid-driven story. It’s a very different thing, but what it shares is that it’s an elevated, really smart and mature version of a Stephen King classic.”
- Both novels have held a particularly sinister power over a generation of filmmakers who read them and were terrified by them as a kid – everyone from Guillermo del Toro to It director Andy Muschietti has toyed with bringing Pet Sematary to life over the years.
- Speaking of Muschietti: “The way he treated [making] It definitely re-opened doors. So, we owe Muschietti a great deal of gratitude for that,” says Pet Sematary’s co-director Dennis Widmyer. “You know, Stephen King has gone through previous renaissances. He went through one in the ‘70s, one in the mid-‘80s, the ‘90s not so much. But I think Muschietti’s movie reminded people that the guy writes great literary horror. And it treated it like prestige horror, not like schlock. It really respected the material. And I think that’s what woke people up.”