There is something rather seemingly dysfunctional about watching and reading Pet Sematary repeatedly. Or maybe it’s just a matter of curiosity for those who have very thin skin. I think I do it to explore the unknown which in this particular case, only spirals into darkness. Take the subsequence of events leading to the ultimate and unfathomable horror; the Creeds moving into their beautiful house right across the Pet Sematary, Victor Pascow being brought in to the University Hospital with his brain matter exposed after being hit by an Orinco Truck, the dying man beckoning to Louis about the Micmac Burial grounds behind the graveyard for dead pets, Church turning into road kill then resurrected after being buried in the Micmac Burial Grounds, Gage then turning into road kill only to be resurrected converting a father’s loving will and intention into it’s own diabolical purpose, Rachel leaving Ellie in Chicago with her parents, to fly back home to check in on Louis. Of course as a reader and a fan, you can fill in the blanks from here. This is where the resolution if there ever was supposed to be one, fades out completely. And you wonder why and how can we be so drawn to this story as if it’s real and we are somehow connected to all the chain of events.
The unknown is what frightens any human being in their right mind. But many times in REALITY, the unknown is not nearly as bad as the fear we create with our ego. Take for instance, the first day of school. We all remember the dreadful nights before school. The one time out of every year children don’t sleep well because they are so raddled with anxiety over weather Butch the Bully will be in their class yet again, what if only his friends are in my class, what if the teachers are mean, etc. But once that dreaded day arrives and we walk to our first class, we are only greeted by a warm smile and a bunch of curious but sweet kids who are eager to make a new friend in you. However, this is a bad analogy because the first day of school is nowhere near as traumatic as losing your entire family upon moving into a beautiful home. This is exactly what Pet Sematary does to you. It serves as your tour guide into the depths of the unknown. However, it is just a one way ticket.
The love you feel for your pet is not as strong as the love you feel for your child. Animals are prone to getting run over by vehicles. Toddlers are accident prone as well, however, nobody in their wildest imagination can see their child turning into road kill for the birds. At least we don’t think about such things on the surface. We do in our subconscious though, and that is what is stored in the base of our minds, the fear of what if. When a close friend confides in you about a death in his/her immediate family, you think "what if it was my family"? When you read about a house fire that consumes an entire family with the exception of one survivor, you think the same thing, and then suppress it when you realize it is not your name in the news. We see the onset of that fear when Rachel confides in Louis about the death of her sister Zelda and how traumatic it was for her to see her own sister turn into this evil and vindictive creature on her death bed. Now anybody who has seen Pet Sematary cannot forget Zelda. She plagued the nightmares of every horror and non horror fan. The frightening thing for me was not just Zelda but how I could identify with Rachel’s phobia of death. Death is certain, life is not. Easier said than accepted but it’s nonetheless true, and at some point, you have no choice but to accept what has happened. The following day, Gage gets killed by a raging Orinco Truck while flying his kite, as his family watches in shock. In a flash, life turns black, and then everything you have ever feared yet suppressed, comes back in full retreat. It comes back with a vengeance, and in my honest opinion, I think that is what the story intends to do. To scare you yes, but to also benefit you in its own convoluted way. It makes you dig deep into the root of your subconscious and explore what’s really there. Of course you can always put the book down or stop the movie. But if you continue to read the book and watch the movie as if though you are trying to find some clue, maybe even a resolution, then you are gradually stretching your emotional rubber band. When you stretch it all the way, it springs back with more elasticity and more power. Isn’t that parallel to life? Every failure, setback, trauma, or tragedy only makes you more immune and practical about life. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. Nothing can be worse than a dirty death of your innocent pride and joy and witnessing it. Nothing can be worse than your once pride and joy coming back from the dead only to kill your mother and neighbor, then your mother being resurrected only to kill your father. And of course all while you are away from the action only to have Victor Pascow, with his brain exposed, giving you the inside scoop in your nightmares. This is from little Ellie’s perspective now. This story gives you every character’s perspective. It makes us wonder, what would we do? If our wise old neighbor who has seen the bad and the ugly of what the Micmac Burial grounds do to the deceased, and passes that wisdom onto us as a warning, would we heed it? If it was OUR flesh and blood, wouldn’t we want to bring it back to life again so we can be one big happy family? What if it was MY family who got consumed by the Pet Sematary? How could I ever recover from that? Would I go insane? Commit suicide? Or thicken my skin, have faith and choose to live to tell the story to anybody who will listen?
NOW, from MY perspective, as a fan, a reader, and blogger, I want to know, "what if"?