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Ok, I've definitely thought this title out well. I cannot find a single dictionary (E2, www.dictionary.com, two volume Funk and Wagnall) that has "sematary" spelled like this, but everything I'm writing about here is spelled like this. In fact, if you do a google search on "sematary" you'll get almost nothing but links to "Pet Sematary". So, it's quite possible that the obvious definition of "A place to bury pets" doesn't even apply here. That's a pet cemetery. Ok, I'm a moron: I just stumbled onto something about it being spelled that way because of the sign above the cemetery which has it spelled wrong because it was written by a child. I wonder if Stephen King knew he was condemning thousands to bad spelling when he made that the title.

In 1983 Stephen King released the novel Pet Sematary. Supposedly he put off the release since this one was so gruesome/scary/disturbing. To some degree this is true. It is one of the more tragic King novels. In the novel, a family moves into small Maine town (but not Castle Rock) and quickly finds out about the cemetery. When their cat "Church" dies, the father, Louis, is led by Old Man Jud beyond the kid's version of the Pet Sematary to the real spooky Indian Burial Ground version. The cat gets buried, comes back to life and does some minor terrorizing. Even though it's obvious that cat has had some evil injected into it, it doesn't stop Louis from burying his own son, Gage, there when he gets hit by a truck. The son comes back to life, murders his mother and Jud and loses in a battle royale to his father. Having completely gone bonkers by now, Louis decides to bury his wife at the Sematary. The book only hints at what this macabre decision yielded.

In 1989 a movie version of the book was released. The screenplay was by King, and it was directed by Mary Lambert. The story was hacked up about as badly as any other movie based on a book. I remember it being rather creepy and sometimes gory. The pale-faced back-from-the-dead child, Gage, wielding a scalpel (I think) was enough to make my skin crawl. Later, when I read Jude the Obscure I always thought of Jude's oldest son looking just like Gage in this movie. You know, the one that does the hangin' because "we were too much" or whatever. Anyways, the movie featured wooden acting, but in the end is an ok horror flick.

I guess it's worth mentioning that a sequel was created in 1992 starring Edward Furlong and directed by Lambart again. It looks like this fits into the "Well, it's ok if you have absolutely nothing else to do, and maybe you're stoned." I don't think Stephen King had much to do with this.

And, finally, The Ramones appeared on the soundtrack to the original movie with a song entitled "Pet Sematary". This song also appears on their album Brain Drain. I really don't know if the song was written before the movie, or made specifically for the movie. It seems that Stephen King is a Ramone's fan though. The song mentions "Victor", who was a character in the novel/movie. He shows up at the hospital where Louis works with a crushed skull and dies. If I remember right, he then haunts Louis throughout the rest of the film/book. Here are the lyrics, written by Dee Dee Ramone:

Under the arc of a weather stained boards,
ancient goblins and warlords
come out of the ground not making a sound
the smell of death is all around

and the night when the cold wind blows
no one cares, nobody knows

I don't wanna be buried 
in a Pet Sematary 
I don't want to live my life again

Follow Victor to the sacred place
this ain't a dream I can't escape
Molars and fangs the clicking of bones
Spirits moaning among the tombstones

and the night when the moon is bright
someone crys somethin' ain't right

The moon is full the air is still
all of asudden I feel a chill
Victor is grinning, flesh is rotting away
skeletons dance, I curse this day

and the night when the wolves cry out
listen close and you can hear me shout

I don't wanna be buried 
in a Pet Sematary 
I don't want to live my life again

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