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Things You Missed In Pet Sematary (2019)

Things You Missed In Pet Sematary (2019)

Things You Missed In Pet Sematary (2019)

Stick around to the end of this post to hear about all the references to other Stephen King novels.

The new 2019 adaptation of Pet Sematary takes a lot of inspiration from the 1989 version of the film -- which is kind of surprising to me.

When we covered the original -- you can watch that Things You Missed episode right here I talked about the foreshadowing where Gage is seen crashing red toy truck.

The 2019 Gage offers a similar clue in the car when the family drives to the house -- he smashes a toy truck into the carrying case that they use to transport their cat Church.

As they arrive in Ludlow, Louis drives through the "downtown area," and I'm obviously using that term lightly, but this isn't something that is in the first movie, and it's not really in the book, but it does resemble the downtown Ludlow seen in Pet Sematary II.

It may be that both films are basing this off of a real-life location -- but I wasn't able to find one in quick Google Search.

Louis is seen in a Cape Cod shirt, and the reason for that is that the Creed family is now from Boston as opposed to Chicago.

That may seem like a popular choice now, but we'll see who wins the World Series and Super Bowl this year.

When they first arrive at their new property, Louis makes an off-hand comment about The Great And Terrible.

This line also comes up again when Ellie mentions it during her killing spree at the end of the movie.

But what is The Great And Terrible?

This is a line from the book that becomes a motif that is repeated throughout.

The term originates when Rachel is helping nurse her dying sister Zelda as a child, where she pronounces the classic Wizard of Oz character as "Oz the Gweat and Tewwible."

It serves as a label for Zelda's horrible behavior towards the family in her final days, and it continually pops into Louis's head as a representation of his demons during the story.

The last section of the book is titled Oz the Gweat and Tewwible.

Before Louis starts his job at the University of Maine infirmary, he mentions that his previous occupation was working the graveyard shift at the emergency room, a little nod to Stephen King's short story, "Graveyard Shift," which also became a movie.

"This is a new horror from the mind of Stephen King. Graveyard. Shift."

He also mentions that he had to treat four bloody noses on his first day. This phenomenon is further explained in the book. Basically, the University students would come in with minor issues in order to get out of their exams.

Back at the house, Rachel and Ellie explore their new property when they come across the funeral procession of kids wearing animal masks.

The drumbeat played by these children as they make their way to the Pet Sematary is very tribal, and the ritualistic practices are very reminiscent of a Native American tradition, like perhaps the burial practices of the Mic Mac Indians who buried their dead in the area beyond the Pet Sematary.


Ellie would later go back and check out the Pet Sematary for herself, and when she does there's a little picture frame in the bottom right corner with a photo of a parrot, a reference to a grave Louis notices in the book for a pet named Polynesia, who died in 1953.

The headstone for Trixie appears almost exactly as it is described in the book, right down to the misspelled "kilt on the highway," and only forgoing the date of death.

There's another pet grave marker that King described in the book which appears in the movie, and that is Biffer.

In the book, Biffer is a cocker spaniel belonging to the Dessler's' family, and Biffer was run over by a dumpster truck one year before Louis brings his family to Maine.

But in this movie, Biffer is Jud Crandall's childhood dog who he revived in the Mic Mac grounds before finally laying him to rest in the Pet Sematary.

Jud's dog in the book is named Spot, so I'm not really sure why these were switched, much like a lot of things in this movie.

One more detail on this scene -- Ellie's shirt has a butterfly design on it.

There are a few examples of butterfly imagery associated with Ellie.

There's a picture of a butterfly framed above the family during dinner, and she also draws a picture of a butterfly and a bee later on.

This drawing connects to the scene where Ellie wears the butterfly shirt, where she gets stung by a bee while trying to climb the deadfall that leads to the Mic Mac burial grounds.

But why was she drawn towards the burial grounds? The answer comes later on when Jud is explaining why he showed Louis the burial ground, despite his own dog coming back evil.

He tells Louis that you just find the "sweetest smelling reasons to go back to the burial ground."

So if Ellie represents a butterfly, I think she is attracted to the sweet-smelling flower that is the Mic Mac grounds.

When Ellie returns from the Pet Sematary, she has some questions for her father about death, which brings up an argument between Louis and Rachel about how it should be explained to their children.

This triggers a flashback to Rachel's childhood, where she had to tend to her sister Zelda. In the 1989 movie, Zelda's wardrobe matches that of this creepy painting seen in the house.

In this 2019 film, she wears the same gown as the Grady Twins from The Shining. A patient named Victor Pascow is brought in to Louis at the University after being struck by a car.

Louis has no chance to save him, and after his death, the lights flicker as he comes back to give Louis a warning.

The flickering lights seem to be a side effect of the appearance of ghosts because when Pascow comes back later to give Louis a second warning, the lights flicker in Louis's basement.

Ellie goes over to bring some cookies to Jud Crandall, who they still don't really know at that point, so I'm kind of surprised that Rachel would have let her go inside of this guy's house alone.

But luckily for Ellie, this is the Pet Sematary movie, not Romeo Lacoste's YouTube channel. But there are noteworthy details in Jud's house.

He's a hunter in this movie, and he's even got the typical deer mount on his wall.

You have to wonder if he became a hunter to try to get revenge on The Wendigo, the deity that revives the corpses buried in the Mic Mac grounds and possessed his dog Biffer.

The Wendigo legends tell of a creature with a stag's head, so maybe Jud was searching for The Wendigo when he acquired this mount.

There are a couple of other references to Wendigo. We hear it's call at the very beginning of the movie. 

And as Jud exits the forest for the first time, you hear the bugs go crazy, and I think this has something to do with the Wendigo's influence.

After burying Church, Jud explains the curse of the Wendigo to Louis and how he first found out about it from a boy named Stanny B, and finally, Louis researches the mythos in this book on Northeastern tribes.

Jud also tells Ellie about his wife Norma, who got sick and passed away years ago.

Norma is actually a character who doesn't pass away until three months into the novel. Louis saves her life when she has a heart attack on Halloween, which is part of the reason that Jud feels he has to help Louis revive his daughter's cat as kind of a thank you of sorts.

But in both movie adaptations now, Norma is already dead before the story begins.

At least she is mentioned in the 2019 film, and when Jud faces Ellie's zombie in the final act, she seems to take the form of Norma momentarily to mess with Jud.

Ellie's favorite pastime is dancing.

She can be seen doing "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," from the ballet The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker is a ballet about a toy Nutcracker that comes to life as a prince and battles with the Queen of Mice.

In the story, the family's cat is brought back to life and acquires a habit of killing small animals like mice and birds, although the only example I think we see in this film, is Church bringing home the dead bird.

Victor Pascow tries to give another warning to Louis by taking him to the Pet Sematary and showing him the barrier that should not be broken.

At the end of this sequence, a hand comes out of the ground and grabs him. This could be a reference to an iconic scene from Carrie, or at the very least, a clue to Louis that is going to the land beyond the Pet Sematary could put him in danger of being attacked by zombies.

The next major event comes on Halloween.

Ellie is dressed as a witch, and she jokingly threatens to put a spell on Jud, to which he replies you already have.

This could be a subtle reference to the fact that Wendigo already cast an influence on Jud all those years ago when he buried his dog.

In fact, later that night, when they go to bury Church, Jud takes Louis to the Pet Sematary, and unlike the book and the original movie, it looks like Jud's original intention is to let Louis bury Church in the Pet Sematary.

But if you watch the scene, there's a noticeable moment where something gets Jud's attention, and he stares off at the deadfall in the direction of the cursed burial ground.

It's like I mentioned earlier, the Wendigo traps him with the sweet smell of the burial ground, and there's nothing he can do to resist it.

Ellie goes trick-or-treating with two other kids dressed as ghosts, which may represent Pascow and Church, the two deaths that have occurred up to that point.

When Jud tells Louis about his cat being killed, he mentions it was "one of those Orinoco trucks."

The Orinoco is a truck company most prominently seen in the Pet Sematary novel, where they run down Church and Gage, and they also make smaller appearances in some other Stephen King works.

When they are going to bury Church, Louis notices this spiral image on the trees.

When they are later researching the burial ground, they see more imagery of this spiral.

What does this mean?

In King's novel, the spiral serves as a symbol of the bridge between the world of the living and the gulf.

Then he shocks himself by looking down and realizing that he has drawn the spiral with his finger in the dirt subconsciously.

When he goes back to the burial ground to re-bury Gage, he notices that the rock cairns knocked over by the revived corpses escaping their tombs come together to form a gigantic spiral when seen from above.

So Louis and Jud successfully bury Church, and the next night, Church returns from the dead and goes back to Ellie's room.

Rachel tells Louis, "good thing you're not a vet," which is another little nod to the 1991 film Pet Sematary II, which is not based on any Stephen King writing but features the main character who is a vet.

Louis goes to confront Jud, who explains everything about the Wendigo.

They look at a map where you can spot that they are in close proximity to Little God Swamp, the area in between the Pet Sematary and Mic Mac burial ground in the book where Louis has his encounter with the Wendigo.

The Wendigo isn't shown in either movie, but there is a moment where he hears a branch snap and looks into the distance -- where, based on his reaction, it is implied that something moved.

He also looks up old headlines from the Ludlow Tribune that report on the incident with Hanratty the Bull.

This is another small easter egg pointing to events in the novel, where a man named Zack McGovern tried to revive his prized bull using the Mic Mac burial ground, and the beast came back as one of the evilest creatures ever to be restored.

It would charge at small animals, people, and even trees swaying in the breeze.

It caused a ton of damage around town, nearly destroying itself before being put back down.

There's also a brief glimpse at a headline about Timmy Bateman, the son of Bill Bateman. Timmy died in World War II, and his grief-stricken father tried to bring him back by burying him in the Indian burial ground.

If you've seen the original movie, you know a bit more about this story, as it's only mentioned in passing in the new one.

So with Church being back, Ellie tries to comb his fur, but she has a hard time, exclaiming, "Church, you're so sticky!

There's something gross!"

Well, you shouldn't have let Shane Dawson babysit your cat, should you?

But in all seriousness, this serves as a setup for when Louis tries to comb Ellie's hair in the bath after her death and discovers the staples still in the back of her head, that was used to hold her together for the funeral.

But before we get to that, I want to highlight the scene where Louis notices Ellie drawing pictures.

I already mentioned the significance of the butterfly and bee drawing, but there are two other drawings that may be significant.

Ellie's other drawing is a picture of what appears to be a whale in front of a rainbow. Now this one, I admit this could be a stretch, but I'll just say it and let you decide how intentional it actually was.

So the zombie version of Ellie would later use the form of Zelda as a psychological attack on Rachel, and The Legend of Zelda video game franchise has three flying Leviathan creatures that resemble whales known as Levias, The Wind Fish and Oshun.

Again, I'm not saying this was an intentional connection, but it seems like a strange thing for a child to draw.

The other picture is drawn by Gage, and it appears as a disturbing image of a monster, which is implied to be a warning about the Wendigo.

But since Ellie and Gage's roles are switched for some reason in this movie, I think this confirms that Gage is now the resident psychic.

He is also the one who later has the dream about Pascow that then sends Rachel rushing back to Maine to try and stop Louis from re-burying their daughter -- so if you thought Rachel taking a cross country flight based on the dream of a child was a bit much, in this movie she's going back based on the idea of a two-year-old.

Maybe that's why they switched Rachel's family is from Chicago to Boston in this one, it's a bit of shorter trip and perhaps more believable.

But before we get to that part, there's a scare with Church possibly attacking Gage in his crib, which leads Louis to release the cat just before Ellie's 9th birthday party.

They invite some of their friends from Boston to this party, and one of them can be overheard in the background muttering something about a big St. Bernard with rabies.

This is a reference to another Stephen King book, Cujo, about a St. Bernard dog who gets bit by a bat and turns into a dangerous beast.

This reference also exists in different forms in both the novel and 80s movie, but there's also a direct reference to the 80s film itself; in that one, the truck driver is listening to a song called "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" by The Ramones when he runs over Gage.

In the new movie, he gets distracted by a phone call from a contact named Sheena right before he hits Ellie.

Ellie goes into the coffin wearing white, as a symbol for her purity and child-like innocence.

When she later returns as a zombie, she changes into the dirty clothes that she wore during the accident, signifying that she's now tainted by the evil influence of the Wendigo.

When Louis returns from relocating his daughter's burial place to the Mic Mac grounds, I spotted a height measurement chart for the kids in the Creed's house.

This might be shown to make us think of the heights Ellie will never reach having met an early death, or it could be about the fact that Louis had to dig her up.

The maximum height on the chart goes up to 6ft; actually, six feet isn't down there, it's more like, right here.

But 6 feet is typically the depth at which coffins are buried.

When Louis wakes up the next day, he hears Ellie once again dancing to the Sugar Plum Fairy song from the Nutcracker, but this time her gracefulness is gone, and she's wrecking the house and just basically being a brat.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family is staying with Rachel's dad in Boston. As I mentioned earlier, Gage has the Shine and senses something is wrong.

A lot of characters throughout Stephen King's entire body of work have "shining" moments, but this one is particularly emphasized by the fact that Gage wakes up from his nap and starts screaming "Pascow" over and over in the same manner that Danny yells out "Redrum" in The Shining.

So this dream causes Rachel to drive back to Maine with Gage, where she gets stuck in traffic on the highway.

On the side of the road, there's a sign saying they are 20 miles from the exit for Derry, which is a fictional town in Stephen King's books, most notably, the setting of IT, Insomnia, and Dreamcatcher.

The rest of the movie plays out very similarly to the original. Ellie brings a scalpel to a gunfight and somehow wins, then returns to her own house to try to kill Rachel.

At this point in the movie, you can spot a painting of Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz, another low-key reference to Oz the Gweat and Tewwible.

It makes sense to see the painting at this point in the movie because Oz represents the evil entities that all the characters are starting to become.

When Rachel makes it home and sees that Louis has used this cursed magic to bring back their daughter, she disagrees with the decision because she realizes that it's not natural.

Louis has his own reasoning for doing it, though.

He argues, "Let God take his own kid." This is a reference to something Ellie says near the beginning of the book after first

Discovering the Pet Sematary and learning about death. The movie ends with Louis getting impaled by a cross and Gage being the only one left, with his three zombie family members (four if we count Church) coming for him.

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