• Jules-Pierre Malartre

A peek into the Pet Sematary shoot


PHOTO COURTESY PARAMOUNT PICTURES

After filming in Hudson and the surrounding region earlier this year, the Stephen King thriller Pet Sematary is now in post-production and will hit the screens in April, 2019.

Even though most did not know it, last Summer was an exciting time for local fans of horror novelist Stephen King since the remake of the movie based on one of the author’s seminal works, Pet Sematary, was being shot right here in Hudson.

The shoot was kept under tight wraps but Paramount Pictures was kind enough to invite the local press on location in July. Journalists were embargoed not to tell readers anything about it – until now.

Short of actually meeting Stephen King, this was the experience of a lifetime for a diehard fan to visit the movie that portrays a family’s life when they move to a new town to a property that abuts onto a pet graveyard. When I walked in on the set, it was buzzing with activity – and this was just lunch break. Several dozen crew members walked by, talked animatedly or moved equipment around while others sat down to eat. I had a chance to talk to the location manager, Benoît Mathieu, who was responsible for making Hudson look like Maine as much as possible, all the way down to stop signs.

“The priority was to find a location for the Creed house. We shortlisted three, one in Saint-Paul-de-l’Île-aux-Noix, one in Oka, and one here, in Hudson.” Obviously, Hudson made the final cut, not only for the Creed household, but also for a number of other sets. Most of King’s stories take place in Maine, and having read Pet Sematary way back when it came out in 1983, I totally agree with Hudson as the setting for the film adaptation of the novel taking place in Maine. Both locations share similar idyllic qualities that King can expertly use as backdrop for his horror and supernatural tales.

Pet Sematary is one of Stephen King’s most popular books. (Most of them are!) Unfortunately, King is one of those writers whose work is often bastardized when it gets adapted for television or cinema. It’s always hit-or-miss when it comes to King’s books being adapted for the screen. For example, King was allegedly so displeased with how Sleepwalkers turned out that he worked to have his name removed from the production.

The original movie adaptation of Pet Sematary that came out in 1989 is considered by many to be one of the better adaptations of King’s work. It’s not The Shining, or Misery, but it’s not Sleepwalkers or Maximum Overdrive either. The trend in Hollywood nowadays is to reboot, remake or reimagine classic movies, and King’s movies are not immune. Last year saw the release of the rebooted It, which received rave reviews for the most part (although I still prefer the original TV adaptation, no matter how campy it seems to have gotten with age).

The Pet Sematary reboot, presently in post-production, is the brain child of directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. Both directors are most notably known for Postcards from the Future: The Chuck Palahniuk Documentary and the horror anthology Holidays. They recently collaborated on two episodes of the Scream TV series.

Will the Pet Sematary remake live up to the source material and the original movie adaptation? As I walked on the set of the Creed household, dozens of crew members were busy setting up for a scene. The buzz of activity was even more intense here, but everything was running like a well-oiled machine, unlike the chaos that is often ascribed to film sets. I immediately felt a deep reverence for the source material, not only in the careful planning of the set, but also emanating from the cast and crew. When the “rolling” call sounded, a hush fell over the entire house and crew. As I watched the scene being shot over a monitor, the next thing I heard was the ominous creaking sound of a door opening as one of the actors entered the scene, and I suddenly realized... I had just stepped into Stephen King’s world, and I couldn’t help but smile and be scared at the same time – just like when I’m reading one of King’s best.

Pet Sematary opens in April, 2019.

For more photos from the set visit, see our Facebook page.

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