Ink to Film Podcast: Ep 83-Pet Sematary (1983 novel, Part 2)
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This episode aired on March 28, 2019 and was made possible by our generous patrons.
Luke: Welcome to the Ink to Film podcast, where we read the book…
James: …and then see the movie.
Luke: I’m Luke.
James: And I’m James.
Luke: And this week, we discuss the second half of Stephen King’s 1983 novel, Pet Sematary. <music plays>
So, here we are. Second half of the book. This is…doing Stephen King always makes me feel, like, comfortable. This is our comfort zone, right?
James: It’s always surprising to me how the second half of his novels always feel similar but still different enough to where you feel like you have something entirely new.
Luke: Similar to what?
James: So, I felt that Pet Sematary had a similar vibe in its ending to The Shining and It.
James: With one major difference.
Luke: Yeah, I was going to say, there is a major difference. At the end especially. But, yeah, we can get into that. But yeah, man, I’ve just enjoyed covering this, and I’m glad we’re going to go see this movie now, and I’m very, very excited for it. So, just in case it isn’t clear, the second half of the novel here, and then we’re going to go see the new movie this weekend, and then our episode about the movie will come out next Thursday.
James: And this is going to be full spoilers.
Luke: Yeah, full spoilers for the rest of the book, probably for the movie, too, because it’s going to be mostly the same material. Before we get into it, we are doing a give-away. We’re very excited. We did this one other time back for Ready Player One. But we want to start doing stuff like this more often. And we are partnering with Scribner, who is the publisher for Pet Sematary, and they provided us with three copies of the novel with the movie tie-in cover for it, and we are going to be giving those away on our social media platforms. One each for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure to follow us on there, and you can find out how to enter on each. Basically, you’re going to interact with each post in a certain way, retweet it, whatever, and then it will give you an entry. And you can enter on all three platforms. You can only win one book, but you can enter three times.
James: And the books look great. I was really…when you sent me a picture, they looked awesome.
Luke: Yeah, it’s like…honestly, I like the cover better than my current cover. I like my current cover on my copy, but I like these new ones better, because the movie poster-looking cover is just really cool.
James: Do you have your copy right next to you?
Luke: Yeah. It’s the one with the cat eyes.
James: Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s like the new-ish one.
Luke: Yeah. It’s new-ish. It looks all right.
Luke: But it’s not as cool as the silhouette of Louis Creed standing against the slate gray sky on top of the deadfall. It looks really cool.
Luke: At least that’s my interpretation of the cover.
James: I think you’re right. <laughing>
Luke: I guess instead of doing general thoughts, let’s just progress through it and kind of react to it as it goes. So, let me give you a little summary here. So, last we left off, Church was back, it was the end of part 1, and it seemed like shit was about to hit the fan. We made some predictions, and I think they had foreshadowed Gage was going to get hit by the truck, but it hadn’t happened yet.
James: Right. We were left with that massive cliffhanger. Now, going into this next part right here, you’re expecting to at least see the scene, right?
James: Stephen King does something interesting here.
Luke: I should say, one of the only memories I have of the original movie is the scene of the toddler standing in the road and a semi-truck bearing down on them. That was something that scared the piss out of me when I was a little kid.
Luke: So, yeah, I was assuming that we were going to get the scene in full detail, but…we kinda do, but we just get it in a weird way. Let me give the summary. Two-year-old Gage is killed by a speeding truck in a horrible accident. Overcome with despair, Louis considers bringing his son back to life with the help of the burial ground. Jud, guessing what Louis is planning, attempts to dissuade him by telling him the gruesome story of the last person who was resurrected by the burial ground, Timmy Baterman. Baterman died while coming home from World War II. His father, Bill, buried Timmy in that cemetery. Timmy came back as a malevolent zombie, terrorizing the townsfolk before the men of the town realized they must kill him again for good. Jud, along with three of his friends, later went to the Baterman home to kill Timmy, only for him to haunt the men with indiscretions from their personal lives that Timmy had no way of knowing. Jud and the men quickly fled in horror while the mentally unstable Bill killed Timmy and burned their home down, killing himself. Jud states that he believes that whatever came back was not Timmy, but a demon who had possessed his corpse. He then concludes that sometimes dead is better and states that the place has a power, its own evil purpose, and may have even caused Gage’s death because Jud introduced Louis to it.
So, let’s stop there. Basically, let’s back up to Gage getting hit. You were about to say that Stephen King does it in kind of a unique way.
James: Yeah, we shoot to, basically, the funeral.
James: We’re reliving everything as flashback. Which is different, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily what I would have done. Like, I understand that’s not the typical thing to do. Which is why he was doing that. He was trying to do something different. But it also felt like it took away a lot of the impact of losing Gage, and we just dealt with the guilt of it. And, like I said, maybe that was his plan all along.
Luke: I think it was a deliberate choice made for…you know, certain reasons. Honestly, outside of King himself, it can be hard to nail him down. But what I suspect is that he felt like the scene was almost too shocking to just give straight-up. And it’s kind of too much.
James: Well, we do get it, basically.
Luke: We do.
James: It’s just that he…it’s the way that he decided to give it to us later…
Luke: He kind of reveals it in stages, right? We know that…the first thing is him telling us it’s going to happen eventually.
Luke: The second thing is, like, it’s happened now, and we’re seeing the awful kind of repercussions of it. And we get, like a taste of a little bit of a memory of it, right?
Luke: And then we get a more developed memory of it. It’s like he’s building up to actually giving us the scene. I think it’s because King identifies that this is such a powerful moment that to just give it to us straight would perhaps be overwhelming, or perhaps not even feel weighty enough. Whereas this gives it so much weight because we’re getting it multiple times through different lenses. So, it almost grants it more weight in a way. I don’t know, it’s just like a very interesting way of dealing with a moment where, honestly, if you’re sitting down to write fiction, and you’re like, “I’m going to write a scene where a toddler gets run over by a truck,” how do you do that? Because that’s going to be so upsetting and so crazy, and that’s a tall task. And I think King found a way to do it that maintains the horror but doesn’t make it feel cheap and some sort of flashy surprise.
James: Yeah, like I said, he does give it to us. We still do get it in pretty decent detail, but it’s the idea of going through the funeral. And I think even the punching of the father and…Louis is replaying it in his mind over and over, and he’s thinking of alternate times that he, likes, grabs the edge of his shirt and dives and catches him just in time. And I do see how thinking about it and then eventually revealing how specifically it happened was building up to it, but I felt like a lot of this second part here was just tiptoeing around the things that happened. And, yeah, I don’t know, maybe if he hadn’t left us with that cliffhanger at the end of part 1, where he was like, “And then Gage would be dead…”
James: …however long, a couple weeks later or whatever it was. If he hadn’t given us that, then I wouldn’t have been expecting the scene. But because of that, I felt like we didn’t get the scene until close to the end of part 2, which was close to the end of the book, and I was like, “Wow.” I didn’t expect to not have it revealed for so long.
Luke: Right. So, I guess…I guess I didn’t have a problem with it. And I think here’s why. So, for me, this story is being told by Louis Creed in the future, right? We’ve talked about him. He’s sort of remembering things. Now, it’s also semi-omniscient because we do get other POVs outside of his, especially more in the second half of this book. But for the most part, we’re very close to Louis’s POV. And to me, this feels like how you remember things, especially traumatic events. Because the moment itself of the really traumatic thing can sometimes be such an intense experience that your memory of it just becomes really hazy.
Luke: And this is like a notorious problem with trying to interview witnesses to crimes. They’ll all remember different things. The people are notoriously unreliable in actually remembering what a person looks like or the order things occurred in. And I think in doing it this way, it feels more like we’re a distant Louis remembering, because he focuses more on what came after—the funeral—which I can absolutely see. Some of those memories are going to stand out a lot more. And it’s one of those things where I think your mind kind of tries to protect you from pain. So, often you’ll only half-remember things. And, so to me, he was approaching it from a psychological memory standpoint, which is quite different…like, you can’t do that in a movie, obviously. You just have to give the scene in the movie. But in a book you can do that. You can say, like, “I’m going to write this in a way that a human remembers an event.” Right? So, I think that is something you can do in a book that makes it kind of unique, and I think that’s what he’s trying to do here, in my opinion. And, like I said, it’s that combined with the fact that it’s such a weighty moment, and he understands what would happen if he worded it that way. I don’t know. I mean, he could have just written it that way. He could have written the scene as is, but I kind of think this was the more interesting route to go. And I agree that it was unexpected.
Luke: But I guess that I liked that it happened in an unexpected way.
James: It was different. It was definitely different, and I think that’s ultimately where I landed on it, that Stephen King was trying to do something different than another author might do with the scene. And give it in a way that, maybe like you’re saying, dealt with it in the way that an actual human would. But with all that said, I did want to say that when we get the backstory of Timmy…
Luke: Wait, wait, wait. Before we get to Timmy, let’s talk about the funeral. Because I don’t want to just glaze over that. There’s a couple things with the funeral, too. But the funeral…the bizarreness of the funeral and him focusing on people bringing food and the things that…I think they’re called aphorisms, that people say. Like these…these little saying like, “Oh, they’re in a better place.” You know, things like that. And there’s also a moment where someone says, “At least it was quick,” right? And he gets enraged by it. And a lot of these things really feel true to me. And on both sides. Because I’ve been on both sides of this. And on one hand, you don’t know what to say to people when this kind of stuff happens, so you tend to go for the things that are always said (A), or (B) you try and find a silver lining of any kind. And something like “At least it was quick” is you trying to find a silver lining, right?
James: But it’s super morbid and, like…yeah, it’s awful.
Luke: Yeah, it’s still an awful thing to say, but people do this all the time.
Luke: Like when I was in my car accident, I was in a hospital for like a month, and I was really, really badly injured, and I was in a wheelchair and all this stuff. People would say, “Well, at least you weren’t killed.” And like, absolutely, at least I wasn’t killed. That is absolutely a silver lining. At least I’m still alive. And I agree with that. But sometimes it would be really frustrating, because it’s like…it feels kind of like it’s negating the terrible thing that did happen.
Luke: It’s like, yeah, that didn’t happen, but this did still happen, and this really sucks.
James: I feel like what I’ve realized and what I try to do if somebody is going through something is just tell them you’re sorry it’s happening, and say, “I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.” If you can’t imagine it, just say…
James: …I’m really sorry that this is happening, and leave it simple, and it sounds like you don’t care…you know what I mean? When you’re thinking of saying it, it doesn’t sound like you’re saying very much, but as soon as you try to say anything more, I feel like you’re delving into an area where somebody’s going to be, you know, you’re not going to be helping.
Luke: I agree. And just being there for someone and saying, “If you need anything” or “If you need anyone to talk to, I’m here for you.” That kind of thing. I think that’s always good. It’s when you start…when people start trying to make themselves feel better…
Luke: Because I think that’s what it is. Because that’s when it becomes kind of transparent. It’s like you’re telling yourself that so you don’t have to feel as bad about what happened.
Luke: And, so that can be frustrating. I just like that King wrote all that. I think he did a lot of really smart analysis of grief in this novel, and the power it has over us. And also just the bizarre way that humans deal with it, and how it is kind of like this bad thing we don’t talk about. And that’s all cut up in our burial rituals that we go through. I think it’s also a way for people to try and make sense of the world. If something tragic happens, everyone wants to find, like, the reason it happened.
Luke: You know, if someone dies of a heart attack, but you know they were a drug addict earlier in their life. Maybe they recovered later in life, but they were earlier, people will point to that and say, “Well, they did do a lot of drugs.” You know. And, so I think people always want to point to some explanation because the randomness of the universe is terrifying.
Luke: And, so often I think that impetus in people can be really frustrating, too. Because…it can be really frustrating for someone who’s saying, like, “No, this is a tragedy. It has no meaning.”
Luke: Yet, people desperately want to find meaning.
James: Yeah. And, again, I think that’s about making themselves feel better or trying to make others feel better, when really I think the thing that has to happen is that you have to realize what’s happening and grieve and move on from there. If possible.
Luke: So, the other thing you pointed out that I thought was really clever was there’s a whole chapter where Louis basically has a dream…where he says, “It was all a dream,” and it actually didn’t go down that way. And you hinted at it. He says, “Actually, I caught him, and I saved him.” And it’s presented as this, like, actually it’s all a twist. This didn’t happen. Everything’s okay. And I like it because it’s this reverse twist, because that’s the opposite of what we normally get.
Luke: And instead, it’s a twist, everything was okay but then the rug is pulled out from under that and actually, no it’s not. I don’t know, it just felt so true to life, too. It was more like he’s having a dream, and then he wakes back up to the horrible reality. Right?
Luke: So, you…it’s an inversion of that, like, everything you just saw was a dream cliché.
James: Yeah. The whole time we knew, clearly, this isn’t actually what’s happening. It’s him trying to cope with it, but it did seem true to life. It seemed like something you would do. Because, like I was saying before, he’s fantasizing about catching the tail of the shirt as he’s trying to run out there, or catching him just at the last second. And how can a moment like that not run through your mind a million times? And he was barely ahead of him. You know, he just outpaced him. And it was just this game. And I really like the detail that he eventually gives…I think this is when he actually gives the details of the actual accident. He says something about Gage’s demeanor changing and realizing that his parents were screaming at him, and it wasn’t a game anymore, right before he was hit.
James: And that’s really affecting. How can you not…even that two-year-old kid realized, at the last second, that he messed up.
Luke: Yeah. And I think it’s safe to say that Gage was under the influence of the pet cemetery/being/creature/Wendigo…whatever you want to call it.
James: Yeah. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about that, but you’re probably right. Because it’s influencing everyone else.
Luke: He does say later that it feels like this creature is doing all of this. Like, it pulled Church into the road, it pulled Gage into the road, it made him want to bury…
James: …people fall asleep.
Luke: Like, yeah, it’s making people fall asleep. So, that’s the big supernatural force that does remind me of other King novels.
Luke: Like we talked about in The Shining…The Shining is not only a story about a man losing his mind, but in our opinion, a story about…the book, at least…a story about a hotel or a place that’s haunted driving a man insane. Who maybe was already at the edge. And that’s the same thing here, where it’s like maybe you could resist it, but if you even remotely want to do a thing, this place is sort of pushing you and egging you on and making you want to do it even more.
James: And that’s kind of like It, as well. Pennywise and Derry is influencing the townsfolk to act a certain way. Like, he’s pushing…people feel a certain way, and then he kind of…
Luke: Makes it worse.
James: Yeah, makes it worse. And exacerbates it and pushes them down that path.
Luke: You’re right. Like that opening…the murder. The opening is like a hate crime, very early in the novel.
Luke: We definitely saw that, there was already racism and hate, but it was being driven even more and even more and even more by this outside force. That is something that does seem to be very consistent in King’s work.
James: Well, I know he writes other novels that aren’t necessarily in this kind of structure that he has here, but these three that we’ve read, there are very much two stories going on, and you can read It as a story of a town that doesn’t pay attention, doesn’t…you know, they’re blissfully unaware, and they’re constantly being influenced. And you can read it as that, or you can read it as this is a great town where Pennywise has just invaded and influenced. Or a mixture of both, which I think we agree with. And I think that’s the same thing with The Shining and with Pet Sematary here.
James: And he’s written other things that wouldn’t fit in with that kind of formula, to pick a word.
Luke: Right. He’s written non-horror novels.
James: Right. Like Shawshank Redemption clearly isn’t going to have some sort of supernatural, like, Cthulhu-like monster at the end of it.
Luke: No. No, that would make it a very different book. And movie. But yeah, I think I see what your point is with that. It will be something interesting to track, I think, as we continue to cover more King. Because we definitely will, down the road.
Luke: You know. But, like we hinted at earlier, this novel definitely ends in a different way than the other two. But let’s save that for the very end, because if we’re going to talk about the ending of The Shining and It, I think that is going to be a big spoiler for those two projects. So, maybe we’ll save it and we’ll give a warning, and we’ll save it for the very end or something.
James: So, the next thing is this Timmy story that we get from Jud.
James: Which I felt was one of the strongest parts of the second half of the novel.
Luke: I agree. I mean, I think there were a lot of strong parts of this, but this was a standout. This was a great moment.
Luke: And a great story.
James: Did this feel to you kind of like getting the stories in Derry in It? Getting some of the backstory, like lore stories from the town? Because, to me it felt like we were getting…you know, there’s four or five stories that we get in It…
James: …that are telling about the lore and, like, the horrors that have happened. And this was kind of in keeping with that. I loved getting, like, younger Jud and all the other townsfolk together to…
James: I think it was just really well set up.
Luke: I guess I didn’t think of that, but I can see why you would. For me, I was thinking more of…honestly, another project that we might be doing here coming up, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Luke: And this was just, like…it reminded me of the kind of stories that make it into that book, about just the zombie that’s walking down the street. And I can almost see, like, a gruesome art of it. I think there is some that looks kind of like that.
Luke: And this went a lot farther than those stories ever go, but it just reminded me of a classic campfire story that you would hear, that you would think was totally not true, but was very scary, right?
Luke: Yeah, man, the Timmy Baterman story is very good. And it totally sets up the end of this novel. It provides a stark story to tell Louis not to do the thing he’s considering, yet, as we see Louis start to do the thing, it also tells us, like, this is going to be really bad when he goes through with this.
James: Yeah, and well, I have a question, speaking of that.
James: What do you think it is that makes Timmy not as violent and threatening as, like, Gage was when he came back. Do you think Gage was like this chosen…why was Gage the one where, as soon as it took him over, it didn’t come back and act docile at all?
James: Like the cat did or like Timmy did? Immediately, Gage is on a warpath.
Luke: I think Timmy was more like how Church is. Until they were getting ready to kill Timmy, and then this other-worldly being, the Wendigo, kind of like takes control over him. And then when he starts speaking about things he shouldn’t know…
Luke: I think that’s the Wendigo coming through. I don’t know if that means it’s always in there somewhere and is just dormant, and then it comes forward, or if it’s like there’s a zombie kind of off, and he can just kind of pop into it?
Luke: I’m not really sure how it works. But yeah, to me it wasn’t…it was just kind of a zombie. And I do like the…Stephen King zombies are different. They’re not like, Romero zombies. They actually do think, just more slowly, and they have…they’re similar to how they were but different, and they have different appetites. But…
James: Which is creepier. I think it’s creepier.
Luke: It’s much creepier, yeah.
James: That’s not to say that, like, I don’t find Romero’s zombies creepy, I’m just saying in this context, for a zombie to have a personality and for it to have the characteristics still…
Luke: Well, and we’ve had a lot less saturation of this kind of zombie in pop culture.
Luke: Whereas, we’ve seen the other kind of zombie many times now.
Luke: But, yeah, so that’s my reading of it. So, I think with Gage, the Wendigo had been waiting a long time to get back at another person. Like, that was his one chance. It was angry that it didn’t work out, and then it was waiting for its opportunity to get back into a person. And, so Gage presented that opportunity. Because it seemed like Jud and the creature had this history, right? And it immediately came for Jud. It had unfinished business.
James: Right. And this is reminding me of something else that’s jumping a little bit ahead, but I think we should touch on it now.
James: We’re getting this back and forth in Louis’s head, where he’s kind of talking to himself, and one of his voices will be like, “Just do it. Stop complaining, just do it.” And I feel like that’s the Wendigo penetrated into his mind. And it’s like we’re getting, on the page, the Wendigo’s influence literally within his own mind.
James: Which I find really interesting. And we even get a bit of it when Rachael’s trying to come back, and he’s like, “Stay out of it,” and she’s just like…it’s on the page, and it goes by so quickly, and if you keep reading past that, you won’t stop to really realize that, like, she’s being influenced in such a blatant way…
James: But I think it works really well.
Luke: It’s creepy too, because we see…we’re skipping ahead a little bit…but we see all of our human characters, other than Louis, trying to fight against it. And, you know, the Wendigo’s supernatural power is forcing them to not be able to.
Luke: And, to me, this elevates this Wendigo up to a really powerful status, as much as anything from The Shining or even Pennywise himself, perhaps. It’s quite a powerful force.
James: That would be something to think about, the battle royale of these three creatures…which one is more powerful in the…
Luke: I have a feeling if we read all The Dark Tower, we might get some of this.
James: Yeah, true.
Luke: Because I don’t know how much…I don’t know if there are Wendigos in there, and I don’t see…don’t tell us if there are, because we will probably be covering Dark Tower, perhaps, when the new adaptation comes out. But I know that’s what kind of connects all of this macroverse stuff, and I am curious. Maybe it’s blasphemy to say this seems like it could be as powerful as Pennywise. So, I don’t know. Because I think the Wendigo is also like, that’s just what people call it. I don’t think that’s what it is. You know? Like, it’s something greater than that.
James: Well, I think all three of these—The Shining monster, the—all three of the monsters we’ve seen are clearly…we should save this for the end, but the last thing I want to say about it is all three of them are clearly more than meets the eye. It’s not just the Wendigo. It’s clearly something from somewhere else, or…
Luke: Pennywise isn’t just a clown.
James: Exactly. So, I don’t think we’re supposed to think that the Wendigo is just this massive creature walking through the woods. I think it’s from somewhere else, and I think it’s…we don’t know its true form.
Luke: All right, let me give a little more summary in here. So, just a little piece here, and then we can react to it. Despite Jud’s warning and his own reservations about the idea, Louis’s grief and guilt spur him to carry out his plan. Louis exhumes Gage’s body from his grave and inters him in the pet cemetery. Or the burial ground beyond the deadfall of the pet cemetery.
Yeah, so I wanted to give this its own reaction area, because there’s so much work by King done in the parts we just talked about establishing the level of grief that Louis is feeling and then walking him through the steps in his own mind that he takes to get to the point where he’s willing to try this thing.
Luke: And it’s so well done, because on the surface of it, it’s like why would he ever do that? He would never do it. It’s clear that he shouldn’t do it.
Luke: But he sells us on the grief, and then he sells us on the idea of this sliver of hope he has of, like, maybe it will be okay. If I do it while my family is not here. And he comes up with this plan, and he’s like, “I’ll kill Gage if it doesn’t work out. And it will just be something I have to deal with, but I want to try it just to see what happens,” and then we also know there’s the influence, and I think he probably wouldn’t have done it without the influence. But there’s enough there to kind of convince us that a person could try this.
Luke: Might try this, even in these circumstances.
James: Knowing where it ends, we see that Louis is clearly losing it. He’s going crazy, he’s going insane.
James: And it’s…I like to look at where the line is blurred between influence of the Wendigo and him going insane, because when he’s in the graveyard is a big moment of the influence laying off a little bit, I think. Like, he clearly went to the graveyard because of the…
Luke: The original graveyard? That Gage’s body was originally interred…
James: Yes. Yes.
James: So, when he’s in that graveyard that night, I think the Wendigo’s influence got him there, but I think once he was there, it was his own…he’d already decided that this was his plan, and I think the Wendigo kind of let it go from there. I think it wasn’t until he was taking Gage to the pet cemetery that he was even doubting his plan. And the Wendigo’s influence came back in a little bit. I feel like I can safely say that Louis had lost it by the time he…when he was digging up Gage, it was…he was gone.
Luke: Right. And for us to believe that this man is losing his mind, we have to be shown the uncontrollable grief he’s dealing with.
Luke: And that’s why I think all of this funeral stuff, and all of this, and like, selling the closeness to his family and the love for his son. All of this has to pay off for us to buy this moment. And then I also want to give King huge props for the most realistic, I think, grave digging/grave robbing scene, right? Like, that goes on for a while. It’s this big operation. He has to climb over the fence. He keeps thinking he’s going to get seen. He loses his keys, but then they’re in his pocket…or they’re in the ignition or whatever. I think that’s what it was. The ignition. I don’t know, there’s so many great details in that. And it makes it seem extremely difficult. And it feels different than what we see in movies, right? Where it always seems like it’s the easiest thing in the world to just go in and grave-rob. And here, it’s like, no. This is a really hard thing to do.
James: Because of the extreme amount of detail that we get and the way that…the struggles that he goes through, and how long this actual portion is, it evokes the idea that you’re actually there in a way that…
James: I don’t think many grave-robbing scenes have ever done, because you…there’s so many little details. Like, when he goes to the gate and he tries the gate, and he’s like, “I can’t believe I would have been so stupid to think that the gate would be open at 11:00 at a graveyard in a city.” And he’s like, “Well, maybe I should put it off until tomorrow.” And then he’s like, “No, it’s too late. You’re already here. It has to go down tonight.” So, it’s just like he’s hitting these walls that he has to overcome, and he’s constantly pushing through them, and I think…I don’t know. Again, I don’t know if that’s the Wendigo’s influence…
Luke: How exhausting it is to…
Luke: …to dig up the grave, and…
James: …and it’s hours. It’s hours and hours of him there trying to figure out how to do it. How to get…because once he realizes the gate is locked, he has to get over a nine-foot spiked fence.
Luke: Yeah. And the horrific moment of him actually opening up his son’s coffin, right?
Luke: And, God, King does such a good job of building, building anticipation. Because that also…because this whole scene serves for that, too. Because we know at the end of this scene, he’s opening up the coffin of his son.
Luke: And, man, it’s just so well done, and then it delivers the scares. It delivers the disgust and horror.
James: And the tense nature of everything with the cops potentially showing up and shining their flashlights, and people…dogs barking and people nearby.
Luke: And it’s such a great detail that he has to put his son in the passenger seat instead of in the trunk, and…
James: I mean, how amazing was that moment when he was arguing with himself about whether…that was the Wendigo again…the inner monologue. He had to see if Gage was facing forward in the passenger seat, because he was horrified to think that maybe his knees and everything were bending the wrong way…
James: …in the passenger seat. And the Wendigo’s like, “Who cares?” I mean, my interpretation of the Wendigo as the inner monologue he’s having…
James: He’s like, “Who cares? It doesn’t matter.” He’s like, “I have to know.”
Luke: You know what’s also interesting is I think there was kind of another voice that would sometimes come into his head, and it was like the voice of reason.
James: Mmhmm. Well, I thought that was him. Fighting the influence.
Luke: It could be. Yeah, but you could also read it as another outside influence.
James: Okay. A little turtle action?
Luke: I think you could look at…it could look like there’s maybe a little turtle in here. There’s a little bit of some sort of, like, force of goodness or something that isn’t as powerful? Um, I don’t know that that’s what’s happening, but there were times when I felt like that’s might be what’s going on. I don’t know.
Luke: Like, if you wanted to attribute certain thoughts to an outside force, it could be that. But it could be just himself. And I think the ambiguity of it is what makes it brilliant, right? Like, it’s impossible to say.
James: And something I wanted to say about the pet cemetery, and what another author may have written into the story. I was predicting that this may have played a part. The initial pet cemetery, where kids are taking care of their pets, and like going in and making sure that is kept tidy, I felt that was going to be a force of good. I felt like that idea of the children still grieving over their lost pets and the way that they take care of them was going to somehow be a force for good that was going to fight against some sort of force for evil. But it wasn’t written into the story. I just felt like that was maybe layered in there. It could have potentially been.
Luke: Yeah. That’s a good point. So yeah, and then we get the actual process of him bringing Gage’s body past the deadfall and into the actual burial grounds.
Luke: And we see, man, this is like walking into the upside-down or crossing into another dimension or something. He’s hearing noises and…it seems like he sees everything more clearly now.
Luke: He doesn’t have Jud there to, like, tell him it’s just like, you know, swamp gas. Or just balloons from somewhere else you’re hearing. He hears laughter. He sees this crazy face in the mist. And then he sees a tree that’s been knocked over by a giant, and he sees, at the very end of it, the Wendigo, essentially, right? Or what we think is the Wendigo. And it’s such a cool scene. It’s really cleverly done. It builds to this moment, and it delivers.
James: And genuinely, the Wendigo scene, that little sliver of Wendigo that we get, and the way that King describes it, is horrifying.
James: Like, I did not remember that the Wendigo is 60 feet tall. And like, this forest massive giant creature that is knocking over trees easily, and the way that he describes the atmosphere when it’s nearby, and all of the birds stop singing.
Luke: Yeah. And the clearest look at it, correct me if I’m wrong, is he has a dream about it when he gets back, right? And he has a dream about it, and in the dream, multiple people are standing underneath it, including Rachel covered in blood, and he doesn’t know why?
Luke: And all the people that have died, and the bull, and Church, and all this stuff. And they’re all looking up at this looming giant with…it’s like reptilian, and it has these horns on its head, and it has fog-lamp eyes that are described creepily, like…
James: Yeah, a specific detail was the tongue. There was a scaly tongue…
James: And a scale, like, opens, and a worm comes out. And I was like, “Oh, God.”
Luke: Yeah. It is very Lovecraftian. It’s almost beyond imagining, and the size of it, and the power behind it. And then the fact that, in the dream, that one detail of having Rachel be there covered in blood lends credence to the dream as it not just being a dream. Like it’s actually something more. And that said a lot. I mean, through Ellie, we see that multiple times, right? Where her dreams are predicting things, or she’s reacting to things that are actually happening.
James: She’s gotta be…if we’re talking just in terms of the Stephen King universe here, she’s gotta be shining.
Luke: You think?
James: She’s predicting things exactly how Halloran or Danny did in The Shining.
Luke: Hmm. I like that. Okay, let me get some more summary here. Gage returns from the dead as a monstrous, demonic shadow of his former self and kills both Jud and Rachel. After killing Church, Louis confronts his son and sends him back to the grave with a lethal injection of chemicals from his medical supply stock.
James: Now, did you expect this to go so quickly? I will say the Jud killing scene and the Rachel killing scene were pretty wild.
Luke: Let’s take each of those as they happen. So, Jud…he goes for a cleaver and he’s like, “I’m going to take care of this thing once and for all.” And Jud feels guilty. Like, he knows that he sort of caused this through his actions. And he did, because he’s the one who told Louis about the pet cemetery. But he decides he’s going to face it. He feels ownership over it, right? With the whole, like, you know, the ground is…the soil is stonier…I can’t remember the exact quote.
James: Well, and also, what you buy, you own. Or whatever. You pay for it, you own it.
Luke: What you pay for, you own, and all that, yeah. We’re getting those probably wrong.
James: Yeah, I’m sure. Slightly, yeah. <laughing>
Luke: Regardless, he feels ownership, he feels this is his thing to take care of, so he goes after it, and then Church is the one that darts out, trips him up, and then…yeah, we get the stabbing. And I just love when Gage starts speaking to him with, like, Norma’s voice and all this stuff. And the voice of the Wendigo itself. It’s so creepy, and it’s a little kid, little zombie kid talking. It’s dark and effective.
James: Something about, I think it was in The Shining as well, something about kids talking about sex and very specifically, like…in Nora’s voice, he was saying that Nora had sex with all of his friends…
James: I think that there’s something in The Shining that’s similar, but it’s…King knows that if a kid is saying something like that, it’s gotta be so…it’s horrifying and also so wrong.
Luke: It’s so wrong, yeah. It’s so taboo, because a kid shouldn’t be saying that. Yeah. It’s very effective. And then the Rachel scene, I just wanted to also highlight. I think it’s brilliantly done because we see Rachel…she finally arrives, and she thinks that Jud’s hurt, so she goes in, and then there’s all these horrific things building up to tell her that what’s going on here is wrong, and then she finally sees Gage, and he is wrong. And he’s rotten, and she can smell him, and she can see that he is like off-color, and something is terribly wrong with him, right? Leading all the way up to that, you’re like, “Okay, she’s going to run.” She’s going to run, she’s going to scream, whatever. But she doesn’t. She, like, literally embraces him. And says, like, “Gage…” And that’s such a smart move because that speaks to the power of grief, and like, ultimately, no matter what…all that stuff he just told you, this is her son she is seeing again. So, that’s her reaction.
James: How did you feel about Gage basically becoming Zelda and, like, face-changing.
Luke: Yeah! And even after that, she’s still hugged him.
Luke: Because that’s like…that was the ultimate. That, to me, was very Pennywise. That was, like, this creature knows what you’re afraid of. You know what I mean?
James: Right. Well, also The Shining. Remember how its face changes a bunch of times when…at the very end?
Luke: Yeah, so I guess these supernatural forces in King books you could say one of the things is that they can perceive your fears and use them against you.
Luke: Which is powerful.
James: And become them. Become your fears.
Luke: Yeah, yeah, embody them. That’s true. Yeah, so I just thought that was really well done, and we don’t see her die, but later when Louis finds her, and her eyes are all bulged out, we just know that she horrifically got stabbed to death by her son…like, this is way darker in my opinion than It was or The Shining. This is a darker novel.
James: And I think that’s the big difference. It’s very…that’s why I think it’s…in addition to the subject matter, it’s King’s scariest book in his perspective. As well as, I think, a lot of people’s just because it doesn’t pull anything. I don’t think it really leaves room for happiness.
James: There’s a lot of struggles and then a lot of failures.
Luke: Yeah. For sure. So, also, let’s react to Louis. He gets his medical bag, he gets his…I do like that it is, like morphine. Because it makes sense that a doctor would go to the thing he knows. Like, he doesn’t get a gun. He doesn’t get an ax. He gets syringes full of morphine.
Luke: And he goes in, and it’s very, like, he’s euthanizing them almost. So, he goes and he kills Church. Which is like, even though Church is a zombie cat who I’ve seen do terrible things, I still feel so bad for this cat in this moment.
Luke: I don’t know. It’s impossible for me not to, I guess.
James: Well, I do want to say about Jud, ultimately he goes down because he kind of…he’s egged on by the Wendigo and Gage by those things that I was saying, and he…
Luke: Yeah, manipulates him.
James: And he lunges at him, and that’s the moment that Church jumps out to trip him. And I thought it was…with everything he knows and everything he’s been through, he ultimately can’t fight the influence of the Wendigo.
Luke: Yeah, that’s true. So, once Louis gets inside, we see him…he has a battle with Gage here. And I thought, actually, I was sort of impressed that Louis was able to go for Gage and not be…because he wasn’t really taken in by Gage’s influence, it felt like to me. He kind of just went for it.
James: I think it’s because he saw Rachel…
Luke: He saw Rachel. I agree. And it’s also like he had been steeling himself for this possibility, and when he sees Rachel, it confirms his worst fear that, like…so now it’s like…that whole thing about taking ownership? I think he has fully taken that on now and says, like, “Okay, I’ve taken ownership. I’m going to do the thing I have to do.”
James: Which is interesting, because ultimately some different stuff goes on a couple scenes from now.
Luke: Right. Well, we can do it here.
James: But he uses this moment to do the right thing, which doesn’t really jibe with what he does in a couple more scenes. Which, I don’t know…where do you see this turn coming from? Because he actually does kill Gage?
Luke: So, I like that…it was written in such a way that hints at him taking Rachel’s body out, right? Because it mentions him going to her body and, I think, grabbing her up.
Luke: And then it cuts to him, like, dowsing everything in gasoline.
James: Oh, I just figured it out, actually. I think I know why, specifically…
James: …he was okay with killing Gage and then going to get... Why don’t you just finish it, and I’ll say it. Finish the story.
Luke: Okay, so let me just read the rest of the summary. After burning the Crandall house down, Louis returns to the burial ground with his wife’s corpse, thinking that if he buries the body faster than he did Gage’s body, there will be a different result. The book ends with Louis sitting with his back to the door playing solitaire, listening for Rachel’s reanimated corpse walk up behind him and drop a cold hand on his shoulder with her voice rasping, “Darling.”
James: So, this is what I was just talking about. King cleverly plays with the audience here, and we think that he’s doing the right thing in taking Gage down, but ultimately he’s just justified to himself that if he takes out Gage and then quickly gets Rachel into the pet cemetery and buries her there, then she will come back, and she will be more normal and not tainted by something. Because Gage sat for so long, and something was able to taint him in that time. That’s his justification.
Luke: Yeah. So, yeah, I guess…I read it a similar way, and I see what you’re saying. For me, it’s like, when he takes down Gage, he’s doing the right thing. Like you said. But Rachel dying is another moment of that acute, almost mind-breaking grief that he felt with Gage’s death. And even as he’s dealing with the responsibility of taking care of Gage, he’s faced with a new round of acute grief. I mean, literally, it’s driving him insane. On top of everything else. And…I guess he’s operating on two levels. Like, on one level, he’s taking care of his business, but on another level, once again, the temptation is too strong, and just the idea that he could…maybe if the body was fresher, it would work out...that idea alone is enough to give the Wendigo hooks to influence him again. Because I think this is the Wendigo who dies and then immediately starts to influence him again to come back again.
Luke: So, to me, when Rachel comes back at the end, it’s not just Rachel coming back, that’s the Wendigo coming back.
James: For sure. I definitely agree with that. I just think that King played with the audience expectations, the reader expectations…
Luke: Yeah, because you think you’re getting a happy ending, right?
James: The result of bringing Gage back…is there any world where you thought maybe he would bring Rachel back after…
Luke: So, I actually did. So, I thought like, “Okay, he’s doing it.” Especially when it said something about wrapping the body. Because it didn’t make sense for him to do that. I was like, “Oh, he’s going to try and bring her back.” But then, when we cut…because we actually get another POV. It’s through, like, his name is like Steve or something?
James: I think so, yeah.
Luke: At the end?
James: His friend Steve from the clinic.
Luke: From the clinic. Steve comes, and he encounters Louis taking the body over the deadfall to go back to the gravesite, and I thought we were going to get Steve somehow causing him to bring…now it doesn’t make sense narratively in retrospect, because Steve was a nobody. He was not even like a side character, so it makes no sense to play a major role in the end here. So, what ends up happening does make sense, in that he doesn’t do anything. But he just bears witness for us, I guess, is the one thing he does.
James: What I was thinking is, we talked about last episode, is this kind of cyclical nature of it where…
James: …when you bring a pet there, when you bring someone there, and you know of it, eventually you influence someone else to go back in there. And I thought we were going to see him bringing his friend Steve in there and then Steve would see all of this go on, and then the audience would think that somewhere down the line, Steve would carry on the tradition and bring something that he loved or someone that he loved there to bring them back, and the cycle would continue.
Luke: But he doesn’t. He does say that he never returns. So, I think Steve…maybe because he doesn’t actually go with him into there. He almost does, but he doesn’t. Then he says he felt like he was very close to get brushed by something mysterious and horrible, right?
James: Well, he saw the yellow eyes.
Luke: He saw the yellow eyes, yeah.
James: And he dreams of…we get that little section where he talks about only in his dreams does he really remember that day at all. And he sees the Wendigo and wakes up in a cold sweat. And it’s really a great detail there at the end.
Luke: Oh, also, last time I remember we were theorizing about what the Oz Great and Terrible thing was about. And it’s definitely, that’s the Wendigo. Which, the Wendigo is also kind of equated to death itself. And those two are kind of interchangeable, I think, in this story. Like, if death was a force, and that force was malevolent, then that force would also be the Wendigo. I guess.
Luke: So, that keeps coming back. We also get these Bible quotes. We get a Bible quote at the start of part 3, a Bible summary or something where its, you know, Lazarus commands him to come forth and all this stuff. There’s also a really brilliant breakdown of, like, spirals, and how that symbol has appeared in ancient Egypt, and throughout time, and in nature and all this stuff, and that’s all absolutely true.
James: Well, I love the actual…they’re talking about the chaotic nature of a spiral, the beginning and the end, and where does it start and where does it end?
James: I love that.
Luke: And connecting it to where it’s all leading somewhere and, you know, to the other side of, perhaps, the veil or something. So, all of that leads to…it justifies what’s happening, and it sells it, right? And it sells it in a way…this is in our Bible. This is in our history. This is in the universe itself. So, believe this thing. This is real.
Luke: Even when we know it’s fiction, when King is telling us all these…giving us all this proof, it’s selling it to where you have just an ounce of doubt about, like, could something like this actually happen? And it just makes it all the more terrifying.
James: Uh, you brought up the Bible stories and Bible…allegories, I guess, that he puts throughout. And the one that really stuck out to me was when Jud was trying to stay awake under the influence of the Wendigo, and they compare it to Paul falling asleep when the Romans come to take Jesus.
James: And how Paul fell asleep, and Jud fell asleep, and I thought that was a really interesting comparison that he was making.
Luke: Yeah, I think it’s all for the same reason, right? It’s like…that’s kind of hinting that this force has been around for a long time, and maybe it was influencing things throughout history, right? Or forces like it, I guess.
James: Right. And there was a moment where something was even said about Christianity and, I can’t remember if it’s Louis in his inner monologue thinking about something, but he…they’re talking about Jesus, and they’re talking about the Bible, and they’re talking about Christianity, and then Louis thinks about how something far more ancient and far more terrifying has always been there, and he’s sensing the presence of this and how, like, small, these other religions feel in comparison to that. Something along those lines. Remember that?
Luke: Yeah, that’s all serving the same effect, right?
Luke: As we’re getting to the end here, we also see Louis insane. Hair is white. He looks aged. And he’s mad, right? And he’s carrying his wife’s corpse. I thought that was a really cool detail. Showed that, like, he’s gone through hell, and it’s affected him, and it’s changed him. I’m wondering, do you think we’ll see a white-haired Louis Creed in the adaptation?
James: I don’t think we get the epilogue here. I don’t think we get it in the movie.
Luke: Whoa. You don’t think he brings back his wife in the movie?
James: No, I do think we get that. I just don’t think we get the scene where he’s talking to the cops with the hat on and the gloves on and all that, before his wife comes back.
Luke: Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know.
James: Yeah. His wife’s definitely coming back. I definitely think that’s happening.
Luke: Well, let’s save some more predictions for the very end of the episode, but…just to get back to the book itself, the monster in this book, to me, is a monster…I guess it’s kind of a spoiler for It. So, I want to give a light spoiler warning for It, but if you could say that Pennywise is sort of like fear…like a god of fear, or like a fear incarnate. Now, I don’t even know if that’s true, but I feel like it kind of it. To me, this monster is more like grief. Like grief incarnate.
James: Or death.
Luke: Or just death, yeah. But I think specifically like the grief we feel towards death.
Luke: And maybe that’s a facet of death. I like to think that King was contemplating the grief he would feel over the loss of his son, which we know, we talked about it in the first episode. He had a close call with Owen.
Luke: And in contemplating what that grief would feel like, he attributed it to, like, what if there was a creature that could embody that grief, and that was its power, right? Like he’s giving symbolic substance to an idea.
Luke: And I feel like Pennywise is kind of that for fear and here the Wendigo is kind of that for grief over the loss of someone near and dear to you.
Luke: And in that way, I think it’s really cool, right? It’s…when I encounter something that’s such a big, wild idea, I want to try and figure out, like, how did that start? And I’m wondering if maybe it was something like that.
James: Also, light spoiler for The Shining, since we’re doing It, The Shining, and Pet Sematary, I wanted to know what you thought…what would The Shining boil down to, and what would the monster represent if it was a god of something?
Luke: That’s a great question. For The Shining, if I had to try and pick something, I think it’s more like…it’s a little different, but it’s more like man’s capacity for evil against his fellow man. To me, it goes back to the eradication of the Native Americans in that area. We see a lot of crime going on in the hotel. And, you know, there’s definitely a chicken and egg thing about what’s causing what, but to me it’s all about kind of senseless violence that people are capable of, and the senselessness of it also lends itself to insanity, so I think that’s why we see Jack Torrance lose his mind. So, to me, I guess, it’s just less targeted and more just kind of like a free…the senseless violence that humans are capable of given form. In the form of the hotel? How does that sound? I don’t know. I’m just pulling something out of my ass.
James: No. I mean, I think you’re right. It’s hard to boil it down to one word for The Shining, because this is also a kind of a character going insane over time.
Luke: Yeah, but for a specific reason.
James: Right. And with Jack Torrance, it’s specifically like, the family that he loves, eventually he grows to hate.
Luke: Yeah. He just starts hating them. Yeah.
James: He hates them. Under the influence, but also maybe with some feelings of…he’s not able to accomplish or be successful or be the person he wants to be because of his family. But yeah, there’s also that stuff that’s baked in with the actual hotel, and the reason why the hotel is the way that it is because of the cycle of violence.
Luke: So, yeah, the ending here, now that we’re doing some spoilers, and spoilers…a full-on spoiler for the ending of It and The Shining. Those stories both have happy endings, ultimately. Bad shit goes down, people die, but the thing is defeated.
Luke: In stark contrast, this novel, the thing is not defeated. The Wendigo is back at the end. Louis has given in to its power, and we’re not left with a feeling of, like, you could face all this terrible stuff, but at the end you come out the other side, and you’re okay, which the other two books give you. This book doesn’t give you that. This book gives you that…the other way that a lot of horror goes, and that’s…you’re just left with the horror of it. You have to sit with it, and there is no silver lining at the ending.
James: That gives, I think, some credence to the idea that maybe the Wendigo is death. Because, I’m thinking of It. Fear can be overcome. And maybe with The Shining, maybe like a cycle of violence could be overcome, but you can’t overcome death. It’s eternal. It’s going to happen.
James: And maybe that has something to do with it. The hopeless nature of it. And the way that you can’t beat it.
Luke: Yeah. Or you could also say maybe grief itself being an even more powerful emotion. Right? Like it’s…because grief over losing someone…you know, a lot of people tell you, it never really goes away. It changes, or it can soften over time in certain ways, but often it never goes away. And, whereas fear can sometimes be conquered. Completely and driven out. And, I guess in that sense, maybe you’re right. Maybe that is why he chose not to have that happy ending here. And honestly, I think this is just the more appropriate narrative ending for this story, too. Just because all of the things we talked about. You know, like…and Louis makes so many mistakes that it doesn’t feel right for him to get away scot-free at the end or something. Or even not get away scot-free, but like to survive this thing and be okay. Like, he needs to have really bad repercussions, and that’s what we’re seeing.
James: Yeah, and I guess with that being said, Jack Torrance still succumbs to what he is dealing with, and he makes a lot of mistakes along the way, too, so both of them kind of get their comeuppance.
Luke: Yeah, but Rachel dies in this book. Wendy does not in The Shining.
Luke: You know what I mean? So, I think in more ways…because Rachel didn’t deserve any of this. Gage didn’t deserve it. This is all darker, in my opinion. So, Louis needs to have an even worse fate, I guess, and Louis’s family gets caught up in it.
Luke: Ellie, I guess, we can assume, survives and is okay. Perhaps haunted by it, but…
James: With her grandparents.
Luke: But she’s with her grandparents, so she’s not there for it. Which, you know, if you want to look for the one character that maybe escapes and is okay. I wonder if…I would love to hear from people who have read all of King’s work. Does Ellie Creed ever show up again or get mentioned again in any of his other novels? I’d be really interested to know.
James: I think there was a…I think there were sequels to Pet Sematary, and maybe her story was told in Pet Sematary 2 or, like, if there was…
Luke: I don’t think there’s another novel, so that would be a movie thing.
James: No, a movie.
Luke: Movie-specific, yeah.
James: I don’t know if that’s actually true. I think that I hear something about Pet Sematary 3, maybe. I don’t think that ever came out, but that would have been the plot of it or something.
Luke: Okay, we have to look into that, for sure. Okay, so I think…let’s save for the very end some predictions for what we’re going to get out of this adaptation. Now, you’ve seen the other 80s adaptation. I haven’t. So, it will be interesting to see how you think they might stay the same or they might try something different. But, yeah, I’m going to just throw out random shit. I’ll probably be wrong. But we’ll save that for the very end.
James: I’ll probably be wrong.
Luke: Okay, well that was fun, man. So, we wanted to thank a brand-new patron, Sean L. Thank you so much for signing up to support us. He’s going to get access to all the bonus content we have out now. We have a new episode, a new bonus content episode that just came out. It’s us giving our Game of Thrones houses and reacting to the short story, “Loserow,” which was written by Andy Weir. Canonical fan fiction for Ready Player One. Complicated, but if you’re a Ready Player One fan at all, you might want to check that out. In order to get access to that, visit Patreon.com/InkToFilm, and you can find all the stuff we’re offering our patrons.
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Luke: Yeah, that’s right, man. We got three novels. They’re looking great. I want to give them out, so make sure you enter. You can enter up to three times on those platforms. It’s all explained in the post itself. You’ll see all the rules and what you gotta do, but definitely enter. And, yeah, if you liked this episode, please give us a rating or review wherever you download podcasts, and you know, that helps us immensely to get recognition and get the word out.
James: If you want to leave feedback, you can write in to InkToFilm@gmail.com. And we wanted to say thank you to Jennifer Della’Zanna for providing our transcripts. And thank you to Ross Bugden for the use of our intro and outro music.
Luke: All right, man, so let’s get some Pet Sematary movie predictions. I’m realizing that I’m probably going to have to go see this movie alone. It’s going to be added creep, right? Like you don’t have anyone there to help you. Other than some strangers. Because my wife is not going to see this movie. I can tell you that much right now. She does not do this kind of scary stuff, and I don’t really know anyone else in town who would be interested in this sort of thing, I don’t think.
Luke: If anybody I know is listening to this, and you want to go see Pet Sematary, let me know. <laughing> Because I don’t really want to go see it alone, but I will if I have to.
James: What I want you to do is, if you end up going alone, I want you to go to like a 2am show, or like a 1am show. Really late at night, by yourself, in the theater by yourself.
Luke: But, yeah, let’s go over some predictions, man. What’s your predictions? How do you think this…because this adaptation is getting good reviews, right? And so it feels to me that they must have done something better than the original, smarter maybe. I don’t know if it’s through adding stuff through their adaptations, or maybe addressing things that the other movie failed to address in the adaptation process?
Luke: But I haven’t seen the other ones, so I don’t know.
James: So, my theory of kind of what we can expect from this movie is, I think, with the success of It, we’re going to see a very similar toned film. Maybe not quite as Goonies-esque with the children. This will be more adult, maybe.
Luke: Yeah, I was going to say, I don’t know if we’ll get that.
James: I just mean, in terms of an adaptation. In terms of the overall vibe of the scariness. I think that it’s going to be a scary movie, but I don’t think it’s going to be like something that…I don’t know. Then again, I have no idea. But my prediction for it are…
Luke: Different director.
James: Oh, yeah.
James: I just think that they’ve seen a King adaptation. I think you have to lean into the things that make the movie…that made the book popular. Because if you shy away from some of those things because you feel like audiences aren’t interested, you’re probably not going to hit the same people the same way. So, I think we’re definitely seeing the Wendigo. Yeah.
Luke: I was going to say, are we going to see the Wendigo. You think we are.
James: Yeah. We see the Wendigo for sure, in my opinion.
Luke: See, I kinda don’t think we’re going to see it.
James: I think we have to. In order to get that sort of dread and scariness that people are talking about, and people are like, “It’s so good.” It can’t just be this force that’s bringing things back.
Luke: Yeah. Because I was thinking it might be more like a possession. Like one of those…I haven’t seen all these movies, but there’s all these, like, possession movies that are really popular and, like, haunting movies, and I need to see more of them, because some of them are apparently really good. But I feel like we’re going to get a creepy kid. We’re going to get creepy kind of ghost-like hauntings through the sister. I don’t know. Are we going to get this supernatural being? Are we going to see a 60-foot Wendigo walking through a forest?
James: It’s not going to be like broad daylight seeing a 60-foot Wendigo. I think there’s going to be something lurking in the woods, for sure.
Luke: Yeah, cool. I hope so. The one thing that I know for a fact is that there’s a bunch of kids wearing animal masks, because that was in the trailer. So, what function are they going to serve? Because we have Jud who is already going to tell him about the pet cemetery. So, who are these kids, and what is their narrative function?
James: I think those are the kids that are taking care of the original pet cemetery, not the one that brings people back. I think they’re just like…
Luke: You don’t think they have any greater function than that? They’re not going to, like…
James: I don’t think so.
Luke: …they’re not going to harass Louis Creed’s family in some way or…who knows what?
James: Maybe. Could be, but I don’t think so, personally. I think that’s just an interesting-looking shot for the trailer that gets people in, and I think it will be cool to see them in the actual pet cemetery. Maybe it will make it feel more ritualistic, and it will get that across to audiences, that there’s some ritual, like, weird stuff going on.
Luke: So, I feel like we are…we’re kind of saying we think it’s going to be a pretty faithful adaptation, but with the track record of how these adaptations go, it’s probably going to be a lot different. We’re probably dead wrong. It’s probably going to be reimagined in multiple ways, because that’s what often happens to adaptations. Not always, but often happens. So, yeah, it’s so hard to predict, because you’re getting a director and screen writer’s vision of another bit of material. And it’s also like, hey, by the way, people keep saying that this is a remake of the 1989 movie. That always annoys me, because it’s not. Whenever you’re adapting from a source material, to me, you’re just getting a new adaptation of the source material. Not a remake of the movie. Know what I mean? That’s a distinction that I like to point out. Because I don’t think they’re watching the old movie and going, “What do we want to take from the old movie, and what do we want to get rid of?” I think they’re going back to the novel and ignoring the old movie as if it didn’t exist. They might have…
James: Yeah, and that’s something I constantly feel needs to be talked about, too. Because there’s so much of that going on, where you’re basically saying this movie came out and some people love it, but let’s tell the story that was trying to be told down to a T. And I think we got that with It. If you think about the mini-series, and we got the movie. The movie is a lot more faithful.
Luke: We’ll see with Chapter 2, if it delivers.
James: Yeah, that’s true. But I think that you can see that. You can see that a lot.
Luke: I mean, it was faithful in some ways, but in other ways, they did change a lot. We didn’t get…I mean we’re getting into It now, but we didn’t get a lot of those classic horror monsters that were in the novel, so still it was reimagined in some ways. And I think we’ll continue to see more of that. But yeah, man, I’m just excited. I’m very amped up to see this movie now. I’m so glad I read this. To me, this feels like a classic King novel. I think it’s a must-read if you want to consider yourself a King fan, which I do. And I feel like I can finally say that for real now, because I’ve read this novel.
James: Yeah, it’s definitely one of the ones to catch. I feel like we’re going to end up covering a lot of those on the podcast, so if you want more Stephen King, come back next time.
Luke: Yeah, if you want us to keep covering King, send us suggestions for what King project you really want to hear us talk about. Because I know we might do some of the new ones that are going to be adapted, like The Dark Tower. But also, we want to revisit older ones, like Carrie and, you know, Cujo, and there’s a million other adaptations we could touch on. So, let us know which ones you’re most interested in, and we’ll keep a tally of what we hear, and that will affect what we do in the future, for sure.
James: I gotta say, selfishly, I really want to do The Dark Tower. Because I really…even if it’s to do just the book because…and I’m really excited for the new mini-series that’s coming out. But even if it’s just to do the book, because I’m dying to know how he threads all this stuff together in a satisfying way.
James: Because what I know of The Dark Tower is the gunslinger stuff. So, how does that tie in with this multiverse stuff and…
Luke: The man in black being pursued by the gunslinger.
James: Yeah. Who is the man in black? I don’t know! I don’t know any of that stuff.
Luke: I also have read The Stand, and you haven’t. Right?
James: Right, yeah.
Luke: Yeah, and so that’s another big one that probably connects directly to all of this, and to The Dark Tower.
James: I’m really excited to cover that one because…only just to know, can he pull off this…you know what I mean? Does it live up to all of these other books?
Luke: Yeah. I don’t know. People absolutely love The Dark Tower series, so…but I feel like I kind of needed to read a lot of these other novels to make me want to read that now. Because now I want to know how it all connects, and I want to be able to catch little references and stuff. But, anyway, I think we’ve gone on long enough about our other King stuff we want to do in the future. Definitely make sure to come back next week when we talk about this new movie. Make sure to follow us on all of our social media to see how to win that book, because we’re going to be announcing the winners on April 12th. So, stay tuned for that. Until next time.
James: Thanks for listening.