Sometimes Dead is Better

2019 vs 1989

2019 vs 1989

Savannah Henslee, Staff Writer

In 1983 Stephen King wrote a novel that even he, at one point, admitted may have gone too far. Even decades later Pet Sematary is known as one of King’s best and scariest books. This book was made into a movie in 1989 and remade as a movie again this year.

All three versions of Pet Sematary Start with the Creed family. They move to Maine to a rural town called Ludlow because Dr. Louis Creed lands a job at the University of Maine as the director of the campus health service. The other members of the family include: Dr. Creed’s wife, Rachel; and the children Ellie and Gabe. The family also has a cut named Winston Churchill that they call Church for short. In King’s novel as well as the first movie from 1989 the family moves from Chicago but, in the 2019 version they move from Boston. This move is supposed to help the Creeds get a fresh, new start. Although this is true for all three versions, the 2019 movie makes it more obvious when Dr. Creed says that he took up this new position to spend more time with his family that his long hours in the E.R. did not allow.

The Creeds’ new house is relatively isolated with the exception of the Crandall’s home. In the book the Crandall’s is right across from the Creeds’ while in the 2019 movie it is located slightly behind the Creeds’ house.  In the book the house is home to Jud and Norma Crandall, who are an elderly couple who have lived in Ludlow forever. Jud is 83 in the book yet he is very energetic and full of life for his age causing Dr. Creed to think him to be older. Norma, unfortunately suffers from a bad case of arthritis, and as the book progresses, she grows increasingly unhealthy. The Creeds and Crandalls become friendly, with Dr. Creed heading over to Jud’s porch nearly every night to have a couple beers. On Halloween night, Norma has a heart attack, but Dr. Creed is able to treat her quickly. Dr. Creed saving Norma’s life is an important part in King’s novel, because it is part of the reason Jud makes the terrible choices he does further down the line. Or so he tries to convince himself. A little after Christmas and New Years, Norma dies. In the 1989 movie Norma does not exist. There is no mention of her and as far as we know Jud is just a lifelong bachelor. Since Norma is not a part of the movie some of the important details that involve her such as the arthritis and somewhat sudden death are placed on Missy Dandridge, the Creeds’ housekeeper. She is in the novel as well but instead of dying like in the movie she lives. The 2019 version though has Norma mentioned but she is already dead when the Creeds meet Jud.

The Creeds have a path on their land that they later find out leads to a pet cemetery where local kids went to bury their pets.  Later in the story after they Dr. Creed receives a warning about the pet cemetery by a patient who recently died because of an accident, the cat, Church, is hit by a vehicle and dies. Jud, not telling Dr. Creed that the place he is taking him and the dead cat has the power to bring back the dead, takes them past the pet cemetery that Creed was warned about. And that is where it all goes downhill and dead start coming back to life.