Man oh man, I am falling behind in these, kiddies! Sorry about that, turns out trying to have a life and write these unnecessarily in-depth horror movie recaps don’t mix! But I’m excited for this one because today we are diving into one of my all-time favourites: Pet Sematary.
I have been a Stephen King fan for the majority of my life. I started reading his books when I was 11 or 12 and I never stopped. It took me awhile to work up the courage to read “Pet Sematary” though, mostly because in my mind I associated the title with dead animals and there was just no way I could handle that. I eventually worked up the nerve though and of course, the book was fantastic so I immediately sought out the film. It was love at first sight, folks.
I’m not sure why I love it so much. Maybe because it’s one of, if not the best adaptation of a Stephen King book thus far – I love The Shining, we will be visiting The Shining I promise, but Kubrick didn’t so much “adapt” the book as he just “took the very bare bones of it, scoop out all the insides, and filled it with his own”; maybe it’s because it’s one of the very few adaptations where Uncle Stevie himself wrote the screenplay, and it shows; maybe it’s because it’s directed by a woman, a rarity in horror film that even as a young teen, I appreciated; maybe it’s the stellar cast (Fred Gwynne and Brad Greenquist steal the show), the spooky atmosphere (seriously, Stephen King makes me scared to ever go to Maine), the superbly cast kid-of-my-dreams/nightmares (Miko Hughes is perfection) or just that bitchin’ Ramones song. Whatever it is, I love this flick to death. It still gives me the willies.
So, in case you’re worried about dead animals too, let me break it down for you: Pet Sematary is not about dying animals. At least, not exclusively. It’s about death in general, really. Which, as you might guess, means it’s still pretty fucking sad. It is about dead creatures coming back to life as evil shells of their former selves, hence why I felt it belonged in Zombie Week. While nothing brought back to life seems intent on eating people so much as just murdering them or being evil, they are still more or less the walking undead, so as far as I’m concerned, it qualifies. Let’s begin!
We start off with the opening credits over shots of a pet cemetery, while the creepiest music ever plays – children’s voices vocalizing. Is there any sound scarier? Answer: NO. We hear the echoed recitations of various kids narrating the gravestones and monuments. “This is where my kitty lays, no more he screams and hollers; he lived for five and twenty days, he cost me fifty dollars.” Ummmm… cute? Some aren’t read, merely shown:
Ok, that one makes me chuckle.
As the horrifying children vocalizing grows louder (OH GOD PLEASE MAKE IT STOP) we see there is a lot of underbrush and bric-a-brac at the edge of the “sematary” – what could be beyond there? Only good things, I bet…
Nothing ominous there!
Cut to! A nice looking family moving into a lovely new house. Meet the Creed family! Louis, Rachel, their precocious daughter Ellie and the CUTEST EFFING KID EVER OMG GAGE I WANT TO HUG THE CRAP OUT OF YOU.
Oh, and for the record, I have a crush on Louis and Rachel drives me nuts. Just a heads up before we get too invested.
Ellie gets out of the car and immediately starts swinging on a tire swing, which almost immediately has its rope snap. She screams like a banshee and so her parents go running, leaving that adorable baby just standing there, unattended. Parents of the year, folks. Gage toddles over to say hi to the family cat (“Church!” he chirps and I die a little) and we see a MASSIVE tanker truck come barreling down the road in front of their house. GUYS. GUYS. THE BABY, GUYS. NO ONE IS WATCHING THE BABY. GUYS? GUYS!
No worries, everyone, Judd is here! And Judd is wonderful and saves the baby and has the best Maine accent ever! I don’t even know how to write it out phonetically for you, it’s just awesome. He says things like “heah” instead of “hear” and “bettuh” instead of “better”. Rachel asks him if he knows where the mysterious path behind their house goes. “Oh, ayuh. (AYUH. I LOVE IT!) That’s a good story, a good walk. I’ll take you up there sometime, tell you the story too,” he says mysteriously. Well I don’t know about the Creeds, but I’m certainly looking forward to that!
Later that night, Louis is wandering the grounds and he stops and stares at the path for awhile. Pffffffft, it’s not that spooky –
Stupid cat… PS I love that Louis’ first reaction is to try and PUNCH the cat. Because that’d be my first instinct too.
After calming down, Louis looks across the street and sees Judd chilling on his porch. Time for some bromance! As they share a beer, another massive truck barrels down the road. “Jesus!” Louis mutters. Judd agrees with the sentiment and tells Louis that the path his wife had so innocently asked about before? Well this killer road and those monster trucks are the reason it exists. “Where’s it lead?” Louis wonders. “Pet cemetery,” Judd explains. When Louis mentions that his daughter has a cat, Winston Churchill (Church for short) Judd suggests they get the cat fixed. “Fixed cat don’t tend to wander.” “I’ll take it under advisement,” Louis says like a man who has no intention of doing anything. YOUR CAT IS AS GOOD AS TOAST LOUIS, I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.
Next morning, Gage is running about being adorable and we meet Missy, the Creeds’ cleaning lady, I guess? As she leaves, she runs into Rachel, who tries to make polite small talk with her. “Always thought it’d be lucky, to marry a doctor. Wish I had a doctor around with my stomach pains so bad. Pfffft, guess I’ll never be lucky; hell I ain’t married to anyone.”
Missy is a people person.
Later, Judd is finally taking the family on a hike to see the pet cemetery. This should go very well! They arrive at the entryway. “What does it say, mommy?” Ellie wants to know.
“Pet cemetery, honey. It’s misspelled but that’s what it says.” Rachel is NOT happy to be here. Judd makes a comment about the cemetery being a good thing and Rachel could not disagree more. “How can you call it a good thing? A graveyard for pets killed in the road! Built by broken-hearted children!” “Well, they gotta learn about death somehow, now don’t they Mrs. Creed?” he points out. “WHY?” she snaps coldly. Judd looks at her like she’s crazy on account of she’s ACTING CRAZY. Little Ellie on the other hand, is loving it. “Look daddy! This one’s a goldfishie!” Judd asks her if she knows what a graveyard really is. “Well… I guess not?” she admits. “It’s a place where the dead… SPEAK.”
Let him explain, folks! ” No! Not right out loud! Their stones speak… or their markers. This ain’t a scary place, Ellie. It’s a place of rest and speaking. Can you remember that?” See? Judd’s the best. Though his sentiment ain’t gonna mean much by the end of this flick…
After that little jaunt though, Miss Ellie has some questions. Specifically, what if her cat dies? Louis tries to explain to her that Church could live for a very long time and she shouldn’t worry, but she is worried and starts crying that if God wants a cat he should get his own, not take hers. Rachel listens from the kitchen and she looks troubled. Because she’s a wet blanket and a sourpuss. The next morning, Louis has decided to take the cat in to get fixed anyway, probably because his daughter thinks God is going to steal her cat and, if fixing Church will keep him from getting hit by trucks, and thus keep Louis from having to explain death to his daughter, all the better! Less work for him! “I don’t want Church to get his nuts cut, daddy!” Ellie exclaims in the middle of breakfast. It seems that awkward Missy has a rather colour vocabulary that she’s not above using in front of kids. Louis explains that the operation could keep Church from wandering into the road and that he’ll be fine. “You promise daddy?” Louis hesitates and stupid Rachel immediately jumps in and tells him to promise her.
Louis promises, all while giving stank-eye to his wife, and before he leaves he tells her that if the cat does happen to die on the operating table or something, she can explain it to the kid. Ouch. Outside, Missy pulls up as Louis loads Church into the car. When he asks how her stomach troubles are treating her, she brushes it off. He offers to take a look for her and she immediately shuts him down. “It’ll pass,” she insists. Missy, your Maine stubbornness will be your undoing. Rachel races out to catch Louis before he leaves and apologizes. It doesn’t hurt that she has the cutest kid ever in her arms who, I am absolutely CONVINCED, improv’d the line “I kiss too?” when they kiss goodbye.
GIVE ME THAT BABY DAMMIT.
We cut to the college where a VERY injured young man is being brought into the clinic where Louis works. Through the students’ shouts we learn that his name is Victor Pascow, he had been hit by a truck while riding his bike and a large chunk of his head is, well…
Louis is clearly unable to save him, so he closes his eyes and calls it.
It seems our poor dead Pascow had one last bit of wisdom to impart: “The soil.. of a man’s heart… is… stonier… Louis…”
“I’ll… come… to… you…” He manages to gurgle out before dying. NO THANK YOU, THAT’S FINE, I’M GOOD.
That night, Louis awakens to find Pascow in his bedroom.
“C’mon, Doc! We’ve got places to go!”
Because he figures he’s dreaming, and what else has he got to do, Louis follows him. “Why are you here?” he asks and it’s not an unfair question. “I want to help you because you tried to help me,” is Pascow’s reply. Makes sense. They make their way outside and follow the path to the pet cemetery. “This is the place where the dead speak,” Pascow begins. “I want to wake up.” Louis declares. Pascow’s just getting started though. “Don’t go on, Doc! No matter how much you may feel you have to. Do NOT go on to the place where the dead… walk.”
O-KAY, Louis is officially over this dream now. “The barrier was not meant to be crossed,” Pascow intones as he fades away. “The ground… beyond… is SOUR.”
Louis wakes in his own bed, feeling a little silly and a lot relieved. It was just a dream! Nothing to worry about!
Errrrrrr…. let’s just toss those sheets in the laundry and NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN.
Thanksgiving! Ellie hangs a turkey in the window while Louis plays with Gage and my ovaries explode:
Seems the who fam-damily is going to Rachel’s parents’ place for Thanksgiving. All, that is, except Louis. Rachel’s dad has apparently never cared for Louis and despite being the father of his two grandchildren, does not consider the good doctor a part of the family. Well, that’s not totally messed up or anything! Louis bows out and sends the family off. Later, Judd calls to tell him there’s a dead cat on his lawn, might it be his? Couldn’t be Church! Got that cat fixed so this wouldn’t happen! We’re avoiding death in our house, see? So it really just could not possibly be –
Ok, I don’t know about you guys, but me? I would NEVER live next to a road that is known for hitting animals. With those trucks barreling past all the time?! No thank you. Not only would I be afraid of my pets meeting an untimely demise, I myself am rather afraid of traffic and would be scared to even cross the road. And you can bet your ass no child of mine would be playing out there, that’s for DAMN sure! Alright, rant over, back to the film.
Louis is worried about Ellie’s reaction. He doesn’t want to tell her yet and ruin her holiday. Judd seems to mull this over and suggests that there might be another solution. One that involves trudging up to the pet cemetery and crossing that barrier that Pascow was rather INSISTENT that Louis not cross. That doesn’t seem to bother Louis so much as the prospect of climbing the bric-a-brac.
Hey, if 80 year old Judd can do it, you can do it Louis! Not that you should, Pascow was pretty clear about that… Also, I love that Louis really isn’t questioning Judd much at this point. He’s just put his dead cat in a garbage bag and followed this old man up and over the barrier and further into the woods without much of a fight. You’re kind of a pushover, ain’t ya Louis?
They climb and hike and hike and climb until they reach:
The ancient, Micmac burial ground. “I brought you here to bury Ellie’s cat,” Judd says matter-of-factly. I’m sorry, I love you Judd, but if you made me march all the way there for that, I’d probably slug you. A hike just to see the remarkable historical monument, sure. But to bury my cat? When you won’t even tell me why and won’t help me dig and the soil is impossible and… UGH. We’d be in a fight, Judd. That’s all I’m saying.
Once the cat is buried, the two men trudge home. As they near his house, Louis hears his phone ringing and races to catch it. No dice! Before he can try and call his wife to see if it was her, Judd warns him not to say a word about what they’d done that night. “What did we do, Judd?” It’s a secret! Duh! “The soil of a man’s heart, Louis, is stonier,” Judd says wisely. Wait, where have we heard that before…
Oh right! Your ghost buddy before he died! Well that’s not spooky…
Louis calls his family in Chicago and his daughter immediately asks about Church. Louis fibs a little, telling her he hasn’t seen the cat that evening and immediately feels guilty. Here Louis, here is a an adorable child saying, “Hi daddy, I love you!” into the phone. That should cheer you up!
The next day, Louis heads into the garage after raking the yard to find…
Guess who’s back! Louis is understandably spooked. He inspects the kitty and finds the blood on his fur and the garbage bag in his whiskers to be pretty damning evidence that yes, this is in fact his zombie cat. And his zombie cat isn’t as friendly as he once was, as evidenced by the scratch he gives Louis during inspection.
Time for a heart-to-heart with Judd to figure out what the hell he just witnessed. Louis suggests that maybe he buried Church alive? Judd points out that they had to peel the cat off the lawn on account of the frost; live things don’t do that. Nope, you got yourself a zombie cat, I’m afraid. But how? Judd fills him in: when he was a boy, Judd’s dog Spot died. The rag-man knew how much Judd loved Spot, so he did for Judd what Judd did for Louis last night – took him to the burial ground to bury his pet so it would come back. Well, his dog came back alright – “but he was never quite the same dog I knew,” Judd admits. THEN WHY WOULD YOU SUGGEST BURYING SOMETHING THERE. YOUR DOG CAME BACK MESSED UP, WHY WOULDN’T THE CAT? Poor judgement, Judd. Louis is curious though: Has anyone ever buried a person up there?
WHAT! NO! WHO TOLD YOU THAT? NEVER! WHO WOULD DO SUCH A THING, NO NO NO, NO PEOPLE, NOT EVER.
Judd is way inconspicuous.
Well, we’ve given Louis a lot to think about. Time for a relaxing bath.
GROSS. SO GROSS. I’D DIE. Clearly, Church is not grateful for his new lease on life.
Next day, Louis goes to pick his family up from the airport. Ellie immediately asks after her cat. Seems she had a dream that he got hit by a truck and her dad and Judd had buried him in the pet cemetery. LOUIS. YOUR DAUGHTER IS APPARENTLY PSYCHIC. AND ALL YOU CAN SAY IS, “That was a silly dream, wasn’t it?” I WOULD BE ADDRESSING THE BIGGER ISSUE HERE IF I WERE YOU, SIR. When they get home, Ellie remarks on how bad her cat smells. No one else seems bothered except Louis, who has the guiltiest expressions ever.
Elsewhere, it seems that Missy’s “bellyaches” are more than she’s been letting on.
If I’m reading that right, she’s just assuming she has cancer based on how much pain she’s in. And yet, she WORKS for a doctor, a doctor who OFFERED to check her out for free, but she passed. WELP! RIP Missy. You had issues. But hey, look who’s officiating your funeral!
Love it. Love him.
Judd, Louis and Ellie are in attendance. Rachel is conspicuously absent. Are we sensing that Rachel has some SERIOUS issues when it comes to death? At home that night, Ellie once more has death on the mind. Did Missy go to heaven? Is there an afterlife? Louis does his best to answer her and basically admits that yeah, he believes we go on after death. This isn’t all there is. Ellie seems satisfied with this; Rachel, eavesdropping once more, seems sad.
That night, Rachel finally admits to Louis where all her issues with death come from. Growing up, her sister Zelda had spinal meningitis and was kept in the back bedroom like a dirty secret. Rachel occasionally had to feed and care for her growing up and it really freaked her out. To be fair, it’d freak me out too:
Rachel had been left alone with her sister the day she died and she blamed herself for it because she’d always wished for her sister to die. Ok, yeah, that would mess a person up when it came to issues like death. Louis, king oh the perfect husbands comforts her – it wasn’t her fault, she was a child! And what were her parents doing leaving her alone with her dying sister? Where were the nurses, the doctors, ANY adult? PREACH, LOUIS. Louis and Rachel seem to have worked out these issues with death. Phew!
The next day, we see a giant truck pulling onto the road, while the Ramones blare on the driver’s stereo.
Buckle up, kids. Shit’s about to get heartbreaking.
In the backyard, the Creed family plus Judd are having a picnic. Louis is flying a kite and Gage wants in on the action. “I’m flying it!” He squeals.
The family all laughs. Look at Gage! How heartwarming! Gage drops the kite. He chases it while Louis turns his back to talk to his family sitting at the picnic table. Gage gets closer and closer to the road. And the truck is bearing down… Judd screams. Rachel screams. Louis runs as fast as he can. But it’s just not fast enough.
I… I need a minute, guys.
God, that shot of the shoe. EVERY TIME. I get shivers. God damn you, King.
We’re with Louis in his kitchen now, as he goes through baby pictures of Gage. Clearly, he is a wreck. Judd is there trying to help out, but really what can he do? Ellie comes down clutching a picture of her own that she doesn’t want to let go of:
OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME STOP IT =(
“I’m going to carry this picture, Mr. Crandall. Until God lets Gage come back!” Ellie informs Judd. Judd tries to explain to her that that’s not how it works, but she just bursts into tears and runs out of the room. “Louis, go take care of your little girl. She needs you!” Judd urges.
Louis has CHECKED. OUT.
At the funeral, we meet Rachel’s dad. “I knew something like this would happen. I told her when you were first married ‘you’ll have all the grief you can stand and more,’ I said. And now look at this! I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL!” Clearly, this man is the height of sophistication, screaming obscenities at his son-in-law at his grandson’s funeral. But the fun doesn’t stop there folks, oh no! He then sucker-punches Louis, and kicks him while he’s down. When Louis throws him off, his father-in-law crashes into the coffin, knocking it down. This is one fucked up family, guys.
After the funeral, Judd comes to visit Louis. “You’re thinking things best not thought of, Louis.” Judd confesses that he thinks he might be indirectly responsible for Gage’s death – by showing Louis the burial ground and having him bury the cat there, he showed him the power the land had. But, he also showed the land someone new and corruptible. Whatever force it is that brings those pets back to life, it also may have very well seen to it that little Gage met his maker, so Louis would be forced to bury a person up there. And that is the last thing you want to do, as we learn through the tale of Timmy Baterman that Judd tells Louis. “You asked me if anyone had ever buried a person up there… I lied to you, I said ‘no’. It’s been done. What you’re thinking of? It’s been done.” Apparently dear Timmy was killed on his way home from World War II. His grief-stricken father buried him up in that Micmac burial ground before he could get to the bottom of the truth. And what might the bottom of the truth be, you might ask? “Sometimes… dead is bettuh.”
“The person you put up there ain’t the person that comes back.” Ummmm, that dude is munching on a LEG, I think it’s safe to say he’s no longer a PERSON. Eventually, the “menfolk” in town decided to do something about Timmy and they set his house on fire with him and his dad in it. Is it weird I immediately think of Nightmare on Elm Street? Every horror movies connects in my brain, I swear… Anyway, Timmy burned up and wouldn’t let his dad go, so he burned up too. Judd is hoping this story is going to deter Louis but one look in his eyes should tell you that Louis hasn’t checked back in. Captain crazy is steering this tugboat.
The next day, Louis is sending his wife and daughter to Chicago with the in-laws in an attempt to “patch things up”. Ellie doesn’t want to go, she had a bad dream about her daddy, and Gage, and someone named… Paxcow? This little girl’s latent psychic ability has always bothered me when I watch this. It’s not a major plot point, it seems to exist only to give the kid something to do and to make things seem “spookier?” Like, she seems to know what’s happening as it happens and really isn’t much use in trying to stop these horrible things from happening… I dunno, it bothers me. Bothers me in the book too. Anyway, Ellie begs her dad to come too but he has things to do and won’t be there for three or four days. Yeah, things to do like RAISING THE DEAD.
Next we see Louis creeping into a cemetery with digging equipment and crouching next to Gage’s grave. “Remember, Doc,” he hears, and turns.
“The barrier was not meant to be crossed! The ground… is SOUR.” Yeah, Louis is kinda beyond reason now. “If it doesn’t work… if he comes back, and he’s like Judd said Timmy Baterman was… well I’ll just put him back to sleep!” Sounds like a plan, Louis. Sounds like a crazy, not at all realistic plan.
In Chicago, Ellie is having nightmares. She cries for her mom and tells her that “Paxcow” told her daddy is going to do something really bad. “He’s trying to warn us!” she wails. He mother puts her back to bed but something isn’t sitting right with her… Paxcow… why does that sound familiar…
With a little nudge from Pascow, Rachel starts to get it and now she’s on the “scared shitless for Louis” train too. She tries to call him, but no answer. Now she’s panicked. She calls Judd and now he’s jumping on that train too once he realizes what’s going on. Rachel says she’s coming back, but Judd tells her not to. She ignores him without even once questioning his insistence and hangs up. Sidenote: take a look at this portrait of Zelda behind Rachel:
Tell me if it’s familiar later. Anyway, Judd decides to sit on his porch and wait up for Louis. “You done it, you stupid old man,” he tells himself. “Now you got to undo it!” Let me know how that goes for you, Judd.
Meanwhile, at the graveyard…
LOUIS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. STOP THIS. THIS CAN’T END WELL. DON’T TURN THAT BEAUTIFUL PERFECT BABY INTO A MONSTER, I’M BEGGING YOU.
While we wait and see how the reburial of Gage turns out, let’s take a dip in Rachel’s fucked up, psyche, shall we? Apparently this dead sister thing has haunted her her entire life. Now she’s carrying the guilt of Gage’s death as well, which the nightmare sister throws in her face repeatedly.
LADY, SEEK HELP.
Rachel wakes up on a plane on her way to Boston. Her guardian angel is still tagging along.
He’s even making sure she makes her connecting flights and finds rental cars when none are available. I know he’s trying to help, but considering what’s about to go down wouldn’t she be better off NOT making it? Just a thought… Meanwhile, if a force is helping Rachel along, an opposite force is helping Louis – Judd has passed out and Louis is now calmly carrying his son along the path to the pet cemetary, over the barrier, up the rocks… Oh, and then this happens:
Yeah… I don’t know either.
Racing down the road comes Rachel’s rental car, but mysteriously it gets a flat and she drives into a ditch.”It’s trying to stop you!” Pascow tries to tell her from beyond the grave. “Do you hear me? It’s trying to stop you!” I don’t know why, though, since Louis is finished and Gage is buried and everything is about to get fuuuuuuuuucked upppppp! Louis goes home and passes out. But while Louis is sleeping, someone else wakes up…
Rachel is walking down the highway when a tanker truck starts coming down the road. She manages to flag him down for a ride and while she is thinking this is a good thing, we see no sign of Pascow and the truck has the number “666” stenciled on its door. Uh, Rachel? RUN.
Back at Casa De Creed, guess who’s home?
Well this ain’t good…
Judd finally wakes up. He sees the light across the street and panics, but no time to run over there now, there are tiny shoe prints leading into your house, Judd! He goes in to investigate (DUMBDUMBDUMB) and hears a tiny giggle. “Who’s heah?” Judd calls. “Let’s play hide and go seek!” Gage calls back. Now, an hour ago? That would have melted my heart. Now? TERRIFIED. Judd heads upstairs towards the sound of the giggling. The suspense is kind of unbearable and I already KNOW what happens. Judd thinks he’s figured it out: He’s under the bed! As he goes to investigate though, Church jumps on the desk and distracts him. “Where did you come -” he starts to say but he doesn’t finish because OH MY GOOD GOD:
GUHHHHHHH! I hate it. I hate it so much. Scalpel to your Achilles, are you KIDDING me?! Gage, you went from my favourite ever to my worst nightmare in one fell swoop. Bravo. Gage then SLICES JUDD’S MOUTH (Joker style) and then starts eating his neck when the old man goes down.
This whole death scene horrified me the first time I saw it and it horrifies me still. But what I can’t get over is this adorable child actor, who is truly no more than 2, becoming this horrifying monster. Good acting, sure, but more importantly good directing or coaching on whoever’s part it was to get that kid to make those faces and eat that old man’s neck. I’m thoroughly impressed.
Oh, and RIP Judd. I liked you and I will miss your adorable accent.
Rachel has now made it home, just in time for all the action. She hops out of the truck and thanks the truck driver. Pascow suddenly materializes.
“It’s the end of the line for me too,” Pascow tells her, though she cannot hear. “I’m not allowed any further.” “I’m sure things will be fine,” she tells the driver (and sorta Pascow too). “I’m not.” He states flatly. THEN WHY DID YOU GO TO SO MUCH TROUBLE TO GET HER HERE, PASCOW YOU FRUSTRATE ME SO BAHHHHH!!
Rachel starts to head to her house when she hears Zelda call her name. Then Gage laugh. She turns towards Judd’s house. Was that from inside? Let’s go investigate, shall we? Nothing bad happens when you investigate scary noises! She heads upstairs, where she hears her name being moaned behind a door at the end of the hall.
Here’s why I love Zelda: She is spooky as fuck. And the reason she is spooky as fuck? “She” is played by a “he” in a lot of makeup. That’s it. That’s how they managed to make her so God damn creepy and unsettling and not quite right. Brilliant, Mary Lambert. Just aces. I love it.
While her sister screams, Rachel closes her eyes in the hopes she’ll go away. Her sister’s wails turn into Gage’s giggles and she opens them to see:
Hey, remember that protrait from earlier?
BOOM. FORESHADOWING. DIG IT.
“I brought you something, Mommy!” Gage coos.
Oh… how… sweet?
Rachel is just so legitimately thrilled to see her son, she doesn’t give a shit about the scalpel. She kneels down to hug him. He runs at her with the scalpel. We hear her screams and they meld into the horn of another tanker truck racing past Louis’ house. Hey, Louis! Wake up, your zombie kid is on a murdering spree!
As Louis finally starts to come to and collect his thoughts, he looks about the room.
“Gage!” he sobs happily. Then he sees where the footprints go: to his doctor’s bag, where he finds the empty scalpel holder, then back out the door. Well THAT ain’t good… Louis goes to check the house and finds no sign of him. Suddenly the phone rings – it’s his father-in-law checking in on Rachel. Apparently Ellie is next to hysterical after having a dream that her mother was dead. WE KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS FOLKS. Conveniently psychic Ellie strikes again! Louis, in the most terrifyingly calm and robotic voice tells Rachel’s father that she’s fine, she’s just sleeping, he can’t talk now, goodbye. If I was on the other end of that call I’d be calling the police to their house, seriously. That was the calm detachment of a man who is not altogether right in his head. Louis sees more muddy footprints leading out of the house. He starts to follow, when the phone rings again: “I’m at Judd’s, daddy. Will you come over and play with me? First I played with Judd, and then mommy came and I played with mommy. We played, daddy. We had an awful good time. Now I want to play with you.”
That face? That is the face I make when I watch this part.
So, Louis finally gets it – this thing ain’t his son. And now he’s gotta take care of it. But first – THE CAT. He feeds Church a huge chunk of raw steak while sticking him with a needle of God-knows-what to put him to sleep. “Go on… lie down… play dead…” Louis says crazily. “BE DEAD!!” he shrieks. Louis and sanity are no longer on speaking terms.
With the cat taken care of it’s now time to deal with his zombie son. He walks into Judd’s house which is now, just… I don’t even know what. A swamp, I guess? Louis calls for Gage, but he gets no answer, just creepy creaking noises in the house that is now a swamp, apparently. Or something. Seriously, I don’t know what happened. But apparently zombies from Micmac burial grounds can also cause hallucinations? Sure why not. Anyway, Louis sees Rachel’s abandoned shoe on the staircases and loses it. That seems to snap the hallucination and he hears Gage call, “Scared you, didn’t I?” Louis pulls out his trusty syringe and goes looking for the creature that was once his son. He hunts through the upper floor, playing the most intense game of hide and seek EVER. He finds Rachel’s purse, but still no sign of her. Maybe under the bed?
Nope. Not here.
Well, that was awful. Can’t wait to find Rachel…
Oh. There she is.
OH MY GOD WHY DID I EVER THINK YOU WERE CUTE, YOU ARE SPOOKY AS SHIT.
Gage leaps out of the attic and begins to KICK his father’s ASS. For a two year old, he’s got some pretty sweet moves. He still has his trusty scalpel and once he knocks the syringe outta daddy’s hand, he is getting slice happen on Louis’ arm. Louis takes a slice to the face before he is finally able to overpower THE TODDLER and toss him down the hall. That took far more effort than it should have, Louis. I’m just saying. Louis then reaches into his pocket for his backup syringe – don’t leave home without it! – and beckons Gage towards his for a hug. Gage is coming, but I don’t think it’s a hug he’s looking for.
He’s able to get the kid close enough to jab him with the needle (much gentler than I would have, but ok) and Gage does not like it one bit.
How can you be so damn cute and so scary all at once?!
“No fair!” He chides his father as he stumbles down the hall like a drunken sailor. The drugs do their work. Gage is dead once more. Louis, decides to fix everything by setting Judd’s house on fire. But not before grabbing one thing first…
LOUIS ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS??
Pascow is also unimpressed. “I’m sorry, Louis. I’m so sorry, but don’t make it worse. Don’t!” But Louis is convinced he waited too long with Gage; since Rachel just died, it’ll work this time! Yeah! That’s the ticket!
Farewell, Pascow. You were frustrating, but informative. And oh so very, very gross to look at. I love you.
Louis carries the body back down the path. We see the pile of rocks, as well as shots of the path, the house, the tire swing, etc. all while Judd pontificates from beyond the grave: “The soil of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis. Man grows what he can, and he tends it. because what you buy, is what you own. And what you own… always comes home to you.”
Louis arrives in his kitchen, sits on the floor with a deck of cards, and waits. Eventually, the door opens.
“Darling,” she sighs as OOZE drips out of what was once her eye socket. This apparently turns Louis RIGHT on because he immediately grabs her and starts kissing the shit out of her and it’s totally gross SHE’S STILL OOZING everywhere, ughhhhhhh. As they continue to embrace, she reaches behind her to grab…
Fade to black as we hear Louis’ scream.
And that’s all, folks. Poor Ellie now has to be raised by the worst parental figures in the world, her awful grandparents, and the family that was too scared to talk about death is now death incarnate. Now let’s party with The Ramones!
To end Zombie Week I’ll be finishing with Shaun of the Dead, the incredibly clever and hilarious British zombie comedy that put Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on North American radar. Looking forward to it!