361 user 120 critic

Pet Sematary (1989)

0:31 | Trailer
After tragedy strikes, a grieving father discovers an ancient burial ground behind his home with the power to raise the dead.


Mary Lambert


Stephen King (novel), Stephen King (screenplay)
3,020 ( 542)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dale Midkiff ... Louis Creed
Fred Gwynne ... Jud Crandall
Denise Crosby ... Rachel Creed
Brad Greenquist ... Victor Pascow
Michael Lombard ... Irwin Goldman
Miko Hughes ... Gage Creed
Blaze Berdahl ... Ellie Creed
Susan Blommaert ... Missy Dandridge
Mara Clark Mara Clark ... Marcy Charlton
Kavi Raz ... Steve Masterton
Mary Louise Wilson ... Dory Goldman
Andrew Hubatsek ... Zelda
Liz Davies ... Girl at Infirmary
Kara Dalke Kara Dalke ... Candystriper
Matthew August Ferrell Matthew August Ferrell ... Jud as a Child


Eager to start afresh, the young doctor, Louis Creed, and his family--his wife, Rachel, their daughter, Ellie, and their three-year-old toddler, Gage--move to their new home in the small rural town of Ludlow, Maine, alarmingly close to a busy highway. However, after the inadvertent death of Rachel's cherished tomcat in an awful accident, reluctantly, a desperate Louis will take his friendly neighbour's advice to bury it in an ancient Micmac graveyard: a mystical burial ground imbued with alleged reanimating powers. Now, despite the terrible results and the insistent warnings from a recently deceased, tragedy-stricken Louis has no other choice but to go back to the Indian cemetery, in high hopes that, this time, things will be different. Nevertheless, can the dead truly return from the grave? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Don't forget to put out the cat...Before the cat puts out YOU. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Louis says to Jud regarding Church's condition, "I'm not a vet", coincidentally in the sequel, Pet Sematary II (1992), Chase Matthews (Anthony Edwards) is a veterinarian. See more »


(at around 5 mins) When the family first arrives and Gage walks to the back of the station wagon to see their cat Church, his bowl is on the right side of the carrier in front of him. In the next shot of Church in the carrier (immediately after they show Gage's face looking at him), the bowl is on the left side, behind the cat. See more »


[first lines]
Broken Hearted Child 1: [the voices of broken hearted children burying their pets at the Pet Sematary, voice-over] Bye, old Shep. See you in heaven. Yeah?
Broken Hearted Child 2: [voice over] This is where my kitty lays. No more he screams and hollers.
Broken Hearted Child 3: [voice-over] He lived for 5 and 20 days. He cost me $50.
Young Jud: [voice-over] Spot - A good fella. We love you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Television censors of some of the films gorier moments included alternate shots from different angles that hide the more graphic images. This especially came into play with the Timmy Baterman scenes and the films finale in the Creed's kitchen. See more »


Spoofed in South Park: The Wacky Molestation Adventure (2000) See more »


Pet Sematary
By Dee Dee Ramone & Daniel Rey
Performed by Ramones
Produced by Jean Beauvoir & Daniel Rey
Courtesy of Sire Records Company
See more »

User Reviews

The better version.
22 August 2019 | by tpkrause1See all my reviews

It's older, and maybe stylistically a bit dated, but it's the better version of the two, imo.

First, it doesn't mess with the story, which is great because you don't need to mess with the story. The book is good. Aside from the obvious (no spoilers) character switch, it was structurally better. Like the book, it's not a scary-right-off-the-bat horror story, like a slasher movie would be, kill scene at the top. Rather, it's structured more like a campfire story. It starts pretty normal and then, piece-by-piece, the horror builds. This is not very common for horror these days, but I don't think it is non-existant. More experimental films have been using it - Midsomer or Hereditary, for example, or Aronofsky movies. Wish either of those filmmakers would have tackled the remake, gone Kubrick and pushed King "artfully" as opposed to "pop," but I digress. King said this was the first the he really wrote which disturbed him due to the major 180-degree plot point mid-way, and this movie has a strong sense of that devastation. The best horror is often about family.

Second, the cast is better in this version, probably more due to the directing than the actual actors. Mary Lambert let the actors tell the story, Kevin Kolsch, like they do these days, told the story with camera work, editing, and modern horror tropes - the unnecessary masks and the juxtaposition of "cute innocence" (ballet dancing) with "evil," for example. Jason Clarke and John Lithgow didn't get to flex. Dale Midkiff was a BABE and we had enough time with him to see the progression of his character. Fred Gwynne is unbeatable. And Denise Crosby, who bravely chose an often unflattering portrayal of Rachel, is hard to forget. The Zelda stuff, although less developed than the new, overdeveloped stuff in the new film, is just scarier. Her hardness early on really works against her crumbling development later - it's a hard choice for an actress' popularity but better storytelling. (Denise Crosby is an interesting actress - I think only one season in Next Generation? And still unforgettable. She makes an impact in whatever she's in, but again I digress.)

As an English teacher, I'd say read the book! Then watch the movies and choose your favorite version, and let us know what you think! Happy watching!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

21 April 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pet Cemetery See more »

Filming Locations:

Bucksport, Maine, USA See more »


Box Office


$11,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,046,179, 23 April 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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