The Way Back Trailer Machine: Pet Sematary

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With the new Pet Sematary releasing next year, and the trailer dropping about a month ago, it seemed like it was time to revisit the original trailer to see how it compares.

I’ll admit, I may be skeptical of the new film, but this is definitely an example of the new trailer surpassing the old. The original is not helped by the heavy emphasis put on Blaze Berdahl’s Ellie, who is annoying at best and downright obnoxious the rest of the time.

Many modern trailers suffer from giving too much away, but that isn’t an exclusively modern phenomena. The new trailer may be heavy handed, but the original leaves almost nothing to the imagination.

We take it for granted that fans already know all the twists and turns of a famous story, but the fact is there’s a whole generation who doesn’t know the story of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary beyond being mystified that the word “cemetery” is so grievously misspelled.

As soon as viewers hear Dale Midkiff’s, Louis Creed murmur, “Has anyone ever buried a person up there?” it doesn’t matter if you’ve never even heard the name Stephen King before, you know what’s gonna happen.

Perhaps part of my surprise at how underwhelming the original trailer is stems from nostalgia for the movie as a whole. It’s hard for me to judge if the original is actually a good movie or not because it was one of my early horror memories. As many of my generation may remember, Pet Sematary (1989) used to run repeatedly on USA. I watched it on TV dozens of times and love it, flaws and all. I love it so much that even the promise of John Lithgow has me eyeing the remake with thinly veiled disdain. Yet the creepiness of Zelda, the horror at little Gage Creed being hit by the car, even the comforting lull of Fred Gwynne’s borderline ridiculous Maine accent are done no justice.

The new film’s trailer may be heavy handed, but it does lay out a whole lot of atmosphere. The original one feels more like the trailer for a TV movie, which given how often King has been adapted for the small screen, is not unheard of.

If it came down to a comparison between old and new, reluctantly I’ll admit the new is the stronger of the two trailers. If I wanted to use this to convince one of my non-horror friends they may like to watch this movie, I doubt it would entice them.

Sometimes newer is better.








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