Film Prep: Pet Sematary by Stephen King

As a Stephen King fan, it was inevitable that I read Pet Sematary. I just had to know more about that angry, dirt covered cat from the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation! That said, I was still a little unenthused about the possibility of having to cheer for the destruction of pets risen from the grave. I love King novels, but you better believe I love dogs more. So I put it off and put it off. Until a second trailer was released that spoiled everything… Dammit…

So I have good news and bad. The good news is I was very wrong in regards to the number of soon to be redead zombies roaming the woods around the Pet Sematary. The bad news is the book probably would’ve been more interesting had I been correct…

Don’t get me wrong, Pet Sematary is still a decent book. The problem is when the main event of the story has been spoiled for you, there’s just a lot of waiting around for it to happen. About 300 pages of waning anticipation as we pass time getting to know the family of a doctor who spends an uncomfortable amount of time obsessing over his cat’s ballsack, when he isn’t kicking him for being too stinky. He’s definitely not a favorite protagonist of mine, and it is only thanks to the context of the world crumbling that I am able to sympathize with him at all. To a point, anyway; then he really botches the job and I was done with both him and the book.

But at least there’s the world building, right? Stephen King has always done pretty well building the mythology of his worlds up, and the Pet Sematary is another one of those mystical locations that is more than intriguing in its sanctity to this town. The problem in this book, which I didn’t have in something like The Shining or It, is that he failed to define the powers he gives this place. It’s fine to leave some mystery, and I’m fine for simply describing it as a pull that this graveyard has on the people. It’s existence is enough to weigh on someone, to push their actions one way or the other. But I call foul when King unsteadily adds another presence to this world, like “but what if maybe also this?” And what if it can also mess with car batteries? …Nope. You lost me again, King.

So as you can probably guess, Pet Sematary is far from my favorite Stephen King novel, but at least it doesn’t drag on for over 1000 pages like It does. Just 300, and then we get to the tragedy and suffering the movie trailer, and even the intro of the book, promised us. Ah what an experience this would’ve been had I not known what was coming beforehand…

So what did you think of Pet Sematary? Did you get to read it unspoiled? Excited for the film adaptation releasing tonight? Let me know in the comments below, or over on twitter @bewareoftrees!

And be sure to swing back by Middle of the Row for a spoiler free review of the newest film tomorrow (Zac’s Note* Just the podcast will have to do for this one.), as well as our upcoming podcast episode about the film next week!

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