Sometimes Dead is Better(?): Revisiting and Remaking Pet Sematary

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The intention of this paper is to revisit Pet Sematary (1989), and to explore the connective tissues between this film and the recent remake, Pet Sematary (2019) in addition to the relationship of each film to the 1983 source novel.

With the release of Pet Sematary (2019) following closely after ‘The Year of Stephen King’ (Donaldson, 2017), this paper will explore the overarchingly negative reception the film received, and the critical revisitations of Pet Sematary (1989) that it inspired. Some noted that even when viewed through the rose-tinted lens of 80s horror nostalgia, the original film is ‘little more than gross, stupid, and incompetently made garbage’ (Sobczynski, 2019), while others argued that Pet Sematary (1989) ‘feels more violent’ (Cohen, 2019) than the remake, which is – in comparison - ‘less personal, and less engaging’ (Adkins, 2019).

After contextualising both films within their respective horror genre contexts in 1989 and 2019, this paper will investigate how they both endeavour to capture the nihilistic tone of the source novel and the rawness of the story of grief within it. This paper will then move on to examine the different positions that the two films occupy in the corpus of Stephen King cinematic adaptations, with the 1989 film using Stephen King’s screenplay, but the 2019 version being both an adaptation of the novel in addition to being a remake of the 1989 film.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021
EventScreening Stephen King - University of Portsmouth
Duration: 5 May 2021 → …


ConferenceScreening Stephen King
Period5/05/21 → …


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