Blu Release – 3.5/5
Pet Sematary (1989)
Director – Mary Lambert (Tales from the Crypt, Pet Sematary II_
Starring – Dale Midkiff (The Crow: Salvation, The Outer Limits), Fred Gwynne (The Munsters, The Mysterious Stranger), and Denise Crosby (Itsy Bitsy, Dolly Dearest)
Release Date – 1989
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Sometimes dead is better”
Elementary was when I discovered that horror was my genre that I could embrace. Goosebumps, as I stated prior to, is what opened my mind to horror and soon I found myself reading the works of Stephen King, cryptozoology, and Appalachian ghost stories. I was already aware of King’s work before my horror obsession after watching the films Maximum Overdrive and Pet Sematary with my grandmother when I was much younger but I never read his works until after I discovered Goosebumps.
Pet Sematary was one of my comfort horror films growing up that I would often spin when I was having a bad day or just needed something to watch when television was boring. I recently received a blu set of several of King’s adaptations. After watching The Dead Zone for the first time I went ahead and revisited this tale from my childhood.
**spoiler Alert** The film follows the Creed family that recently moved to the small town. There is an old path leading away from their home that leads to an old pet cemetery. However, there is a legend that if you continue through the cemetery you will find yourself in an old Native American burial ground. The family face some strange occurrences after moving in. The father Louise (Midkiff) is the doctor at the university and lost a patient his first day at work and soon finds himself haunted by the young man that passed away.
Soon their pet cat Church dies after it is struck by a vehicle. Afraid of how heartbroken his daughter will be, he turns to his neighbor Jud (Gywnne) who tells him about the burial ground. They bury the cat and the next day Church reappears but not acting like it’s usual self. Things go back to normal but another tragedy strikes with their youngest child is struck by a truck and dies. Heartbroken and grieving, Louise buries him in the burial ground and sparking the end of his family as he knows it. **Spoiler Alert**
Pet Sematary is one of the most popular horror films to come out of the 90s and has went on to become one of the biggest horror titles in horror history. Even if you don’t like the film you’ve still seen it and know exactly how iconic it is. It has inspired other horror films, novels, and artwork for the last 30 years and no one can deny it doesn’t deserve it’s spot in horror history. Honestly, I love the film and I am still shocked that I was sent a copy of it to review.
The acting in this one is top notch. Midkiff and Gywnne are fantastic together. Their characters feed off each other and their acting skill in front of the camera really works for both characters. The newest PS film is a fantastic film but the characters are not as entertaining as this one. The supporting cast is fantastic as well with the child actors not getting as much credit as deserve.
The story for this one terrified me a s child and still gives me chills at times. turning a Native American burial ground into a horror legend has always fascinated people but twisting it into a way to bring the dead back to life is fucking genius and unique. Some of the scenes are dry but they don’t take away from the overall film.
Finally, the film has some great practical effects. It’s not as bloody as it could have been but the deaths we do get and the practical effects are fucking great. The first kill is the best in the film but it does not set the tone for future deaths. Overall, Pet Sematary is a fantastic watch especially late at night or during the Halloween season. I’ve seen this movie so many times and it usually gets a re-release around Halloween with different artwork. The blu looks great but so did the DVD I bought several years back with no real noticeable difference between the two.
Director – Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers, Critters 2)
Starring – Gary Sinise (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Green Mile), Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club), and Jamey Sheridan (Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories, CBS Children’s Mystery Theatre)
Release Date – 1994
Rating – 4/5
Tagline – “The end of the world is just the beginning”
When I was growing up I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s. My dad would often leave town a lot and I would stay with her. She absolutely loved the Sy-Fy Channel, which was Sci-Fi back then, and we would watch shows like Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, Lexx, The X-Files, and so on. When a Stephen King adaptation would get released she would often ask my dad to pick up the tape at the video store before he dropped us off.
I remember as a kid and The Stand miniseries was airing on television. I remember watching it with her but I don’t remember a lot about the show itself. When I caught wind of the blu release I remembered all the fun I had watching shows and movies with my grandmother so I reached out for a review copy and was lucky enough to get one. Thank you guys so much for allowing myself and Horror Society the opportunity to check this one out!
**Spoiler Alert**The film begins when a deadly virus is accidentally released in a testing facility. One of the guards panics and flees across country with his family finding himself in Texas spreading the virus along the way. Now everyone that has come in contact with it is suffering from flu like symptoms before dying. The remaining survivors of the plague are visited by two entities. The first is an elderly woman who shoes them the way of God while the other is a man dressed in denim who is the embodiment of evil. They are forced to choose which side of the coin they are on in a game much bigger than any of them suspected.**Spoiler Alert**
I honestly don’t remember a lot about The Stand when I watched it as a kid. I was around 8 when it aired but after revisiting it I have to say that the show is fucking fantastic. If I was a little older when it was released I would have appreciated it a lot more. It’s rare that I come across something with Mick Garris’ name on it and enjoy it so kudos to him.
The acting in this is great. There is so many amazing characters and performances in this one. If I wanted to be detailed about how amazing the performances in the film were I would be here all day mentioning each and every cast member. My favorite performances belonged to Matt Frewer and Bill Fagerbakke. Their characters were easily my favorite and their performances were so much fun.
The story for this one holds your attention in each and every scene. Religious horror can be very effective or extremely goofy. This mini-series teeters on that line between series dramatic horror and cheesy daytime gospels. I liked the approach the film had to the story with the slow build up and character development. Garris’ goofy approach to King’s stories does slip through in several scenes but it’s not enough to damper the overall mini-series. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was very disappointed when the last episode ended.
Finally, this show has some seriously awesome practical effects and some of the worst 90s CGI I’ve ever seen. I loved the practical effects. The corpses and sick humans were fantastic. As the show progresses you get to really see the bodies decay over time. I also liked the way Flag looked once he transformed into the demon. Sadly, the CGI in the later scenes were completely laughable and almost ruins the power of the ending of the show. Whoever thought that was a good idea was clearly not paying attention. Overall, The Stand is a fantastic King adaptation that is enticing and engrossing. The blu release is beautifully restored and full of some great extras. Check it out now because it deserves your attention.
Pet Sematary (2019)
Director(s) – Kevin Kolsch (Starry Eyes, Scream: The TV Series) and Dennis Widmyer (Holidays, Scream: Resurrection)
Starring – Jason Clarke (Winchester, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Amy Seimetz (Alien:Covenant, The Sacrament), and John Lithgow (Drunk History, The Campaign)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Sometimes dead is better”
When I was younger I would watch horror and sci-fi films with my grandmother while my dad was out of town. I stayed with her every Wednesday and Friday night so we would get a lot of stuff watched. On Wednesdays we would watch Lexx, Rosewell, and anything the Sci-Fi Channel, now Syfy, would air. On Fridays we would watch anything I rented for the weekend. One day I rented Pet Sematary II when I saw it and she already had the first on tape.
We watched them both and I was surprised by how much I liked them. They both were highly entertaining and still hold up well over the years. When news of another adaptation of the Stephen King novel was announced I was excited especially after John Lithgow was attached. When it was released in theaters I ran to see it and I loved it. The next day I thought I wrote a review for it but apparently I did not. When the physical release was announced I had to jump on it to review it and now I’m revisiting it for the Stephen King 5 movie collection.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows the Creed family who move into a country home. They are near an old pet cemetery which draws the interest of their oldest daughter. Their elderly neighbor tries to steer them clear of venturing too far into it but when the young girl loses her beloved cat to a semi he decided to show Louis, the father, a special spot in the cemetery that can bring the dead back to life but at a cost. The cat is not itself once it is reanimated but things change for the worse when the cat lures the little girl into the road with a semi approaching. Her death rips the family apart and they return to Boston while Louis sets out to bury her in the special portion of the cemetery which sets in motion the end of his family…or is it?**spoiler Alert**
Everyone and their mother has seen the original adaptation of Pet Sematary. It is one of the more popular horror films to come out of the end of the 80s. I remember reading the story in elementary school but I don’t recall enough about it to remember how faithful either adaption is but both films are fantastic. With that being said, this one really struck a nerve with me and left me feeling uneasy.
The acting in this one is great. Jason Clarke is a solid lead. I often joke that Clarke is who they cast when Patrick Wilson is unavailable but Clarke really is a phenomenal actor. He does a great job in the lead and really brings a wide range of emotion to the film. The same can be said or John Lithgow. In the original Jud was portrayed by legendary actor Fred Gwynne but if anyone could fill those shoes it was Lithgow and he does a fantastic job. With that being said, I was not feeling Amy Seimetz in her role. Her character was very unlikable for me and her scenes were almost awkward to watch. The supporting cast is solid but the characters don’t really stand out like these three.
The story for this one did not go as one would expect after watching the original adaption. The movie tricks you into believing the same scenarios are about to unfold only to switch it up on you. With that being said, this one did hit me hard. I haven’t told many people about this but when my wife was pregnant with our second child I had a dream that our oldest daughter, who was 2 at the time, had died. In my dream I became extremely unstable and lost my mind. I woke up in a panic and cried pretty much the entire day. It really hit me hard. The way the story unfolds gave me the same heartache and anxiety. The movie is able to build tension and suspense before ripping our hearts out. I love the atmosphere and how dark the film is. My only real complaint about the film is that some of the scenes are painfully slow. It has meaningless dialogue that leaves the viewer rolling their eyes.
Finally, we get some solid practical effects throughout the film along with some somewhat decent CGI. The deaths have some blood or take place off camera and we get consistent effects throughout. Overall, Pet Sematary is a great popcorn horror flick. The deaths are easily forgettable but some of the scenes pack a punch for any parent. Fans of the original film or wanting a big budget horror film should really check this one out.
Director – Daniel Attias (True Blood, The Walking Dead)
Starring – Gary Busey (The Gingerdead Man, The Buddy Holly Story), Corey Haim (The Lost Boys, Big Wolf on Campus), and Megan Follows (The X-Files, Wynonna Earp)
Release Date – 1985
Rating – 3.5/5
Tagline – “Part human. Part wolf. Total terror”
It’s not often that I get a werewolf flick in to review and it’s even more rarer to get one in that is such a classic. When I was in high school October was my Christmas. My birthday was in October and as a horror fan I always looked forward to the Halloween DVD displays at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Rite Aid, and so on. I would make my rounds each week looking for the new releases.
It was during this time that I picked up a copy of Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf and Silver Bullet at a Wal-Mart display. I read the short on the way home and immediately watched the movie. This is one of the few werewolf movies that I could rewatch and never tire of. It is, like most of my favorites, one of the many movies I never have time to revisit in recent years. A few months back Scream Factory released the film on blu and was kind enough to send it my way and now I’m giving it another watch for this set.
**spoiler Alert** The film follows wheelchair bound Marty (Haim) and his sister Jane (Follows) who suspect that the local priest is a werewolf after Marty was attacked one night. He was able to save himself by firing a rocket in the eye of the beast. They convince their uncle Red (Busey) to help them. He is reluctant at first but when parts of Marty’s story adds up he agrees and soon finds himself face to face with an one eye’d werewolf. **spoiler Alert**
Silver Bullet is one of the movies where people often criticize the look of the werewolf but refuse to look passed it and see the movie. Honesty, I don’t mind the look of the werewolf and it doesn’t take that much away from the film for me.
The acting in this one is solid but some stars shine brighter than others. The film centers, so to speak, around Marty who is portrayed by Corey Haim. Haim does a solid job but he does come across as underwhelming when sharing a scene with Busey and Follows. Gary Busey and Megan Follows deliver top notch performances. Their characters really makes the film as fun as it is and they give the film the best they have. The supporting cast is great as well but these two are front and center most of the film.
The story for this one is a Stephen King spin on the boy that cries wolf. A story like that could become repetitive and boring but King made it interesting. Attias adapts that story very well for the most part and makes the story interesting enough to keep you watching and not annoy you.
Finally, the film has several deaths. Some are what you would expect with a werewolf flick along with a few more that makes great use of practical effects. The film is rather bloody and the kills are very memorable. Sadly, the werewolf costume is not the best. I’ve seen worst but it is lacking. Overall, Silver Bullet may not be the most popular Stephen King adaptation or the most popular werewolf flicks but it still has it’s place in horror history. The blu is a great addition to any collection and Scream Factory did an amazing job with this release and the images on this release is fantastic. Check it out.
The Dead Zone
Director – David Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Fly)
Starring – Christopher Walken (The Prophecy, Sleepy Hollow), Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Stuff), and Tom Skerritt (Alien, Contact)
Release Date – 1983
Rating – 4/5
Tagline – “He can see the future. But can he escape it?”
I grew up reading Stephen King and watching his film adaptations. His movies, like Maximum Overdrive and Pet Sematary, were movies I often watched growing up years before I was a horror fan. Several weeks ago I was sent the Stephen King blu set that featured Pet Sematary, Pet Sematary (2019), The Stand, Silver Bullet, and 1983’s The Dead Zone. I had seen everything in this set prior to getting it to review except The Dead Zone. I had heard great things about it over the years but I had never seen it before. I did watch the show when I was in high school but I knew it would be nothing like the original film. Once I got the set in for review I knew exactly which film I would be starting with.
**spoiler Alert** The film follows Johnny Smith (Walken) who falls into a coma after suffering an automobile accident. He awakens five years later. His body has deteriorated over those long 5 years but he is slowly getting his strength back but he also discovers that he gets a second sight from touching people and objects. He is able to save several people from catastrophes but when he shakes the hand of a local politician he sees that he will be the cause of suffering in the future. He takes it upon himself to rid the world of this evil. **Spoiler Alert**
I hate when I hear people praise a movie for years, even decades, and I never take the time to watch it only to find out for myself that the movie is damn near perfect. I knew The Dead Zone would be amazing. A film directed by David Cronenberg and starring Christopher Walken couldn’t be bad but I wasn’t expecting it to be as much fun as it was.
The acting in this one is absolutely perfect. Walken, Adams, Skerritt, and so on were perfectly cast for the film. Walken is a pop culture icon for hos now famous mannerisms and tone but in The Dead Zone he showcases his fantastic acting. His character carries the film and he does an amazing job. The supporting cast is just as entertaining but Walken is the center of attention.
The story for this one is a great mesh of sci-fi para-science and horror. The psychic helping the police and others find a serial killer and using his powers to stop the mass suffering is a pretty entertaining and clever spin on the genre. Sure, it’s not that original by the 80s but King’s writing style makes it fun. The movie does slow down at times but the character and story keeps the viewer following along.
Finally, this is not a bloody flick. We do get a little blood but the film itself is more focused on the characters and the story instead of the blood. The practical effects we get work for what they are but gorehounds will be disappointed. Overall, The Dead Zone Is an absolutely amazing sci-fi/horror mashup that really works. I fucking loved the story and the acting is top notch. This blu release is a crystal clear transfer but far from the best I’ve seen. If you have never seen this film I would highly suggest checking it out.