Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Sweet Home (2020) Series Review

The Evil Dead meets Resident Evil in SweetHome, an action-packed horror series from South Korea. As much I despise Netflix as a company - and I do - they actually do a great job of making foreign language shows more accessible.


This review will absolutely have spoilers so head back now if you don't want to know.

The first episode is a slow burner, but it has to be because Sweet Home is an ensemble show with a lot of characters to introduce. You meet the residents of Green Home, a rundown apartment complex, getting small pieces of their puzzles. As the show progresses, the residents - unexpectedly thrown together as the building in put under lockdown - get to know each other and form relationships because... you know, it's no fun killing them off unless it'll make everyone cry, right?

(Or, in the case of Woo Hyun's greedy misogynist, Seok Kim, freaking cheer.)

While most of the story revolves around Cha Hyun-su (SongKang) as he battles the monster growing inside him, many of the other residents have their own trauma, heartbreak, and complicated relationships. Take An Seon-Yeong (KimHyeon-Ok,) the long-suffering wife who eventually gets justice in the nastiest way, and paid killer, Pyeon Sang-Wook (Lee Jin-Uk) who’s more than he seems. My favourite character has to be the cheeky, disabled Han Du-sik (Kim Sang-ho) who whips up badass weapons for the others with whatever he can find laying around while cracking horrible jokes.

Sweet Home has all the post-apocalyptic fun and none of the tedious zombies – although, as usual, what the end of the world shows us is that people are more troublesome than monsters. Speaking of monsters…

You can’t fault the production value of this one. It has a deliberately kooky air that lightens what could be an otherwise depressing atmosphere. The CGI on the monsters, which are born from our desires and can only be killed if they’re incinerated, is well done. The Sweet Home monsters provide good jumps and plenty of gory deaths but can also be downright funny. The Tongue Monster has to be the most disturbing monster for me (because *shudder* fucked up mouths just creep me out,) while The Eyeball Monster earns the biggest chuckle.

Unlike most of the other infected, our hero, Cha Hyun-su, manages to regain control from his monster, which he finally unleashes to save the others. In the webtoon, Hyun-su turns into a “dark knight” figure. In the Netflix adaptation, on the other hand, his transformation is mostly limited to the arm that bears the scars of his self-harm and becomes what looks like a weaponized wing of blades. Instead of a dark knight, he looks more like a dark angel.

Whatever you want to call it, it looks freaking cool.

Sweet Home is a gritty, entertaining ride from start to finish, with characters (who, yes, sometimes border on stereotypical, but) you actually give a damn about. With surprises and monsters galore, it’s more than worth a binge. Even better, there are two more seasons coming (already filmed, in fact) so Sweet Home doesn’t have that one-and-out disappointment that too many Netflix shows are tainted by.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Korean manhwa to find…

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Book Review: Tentacles and Teeth (Consorting with Monsters #1) by Rowan Merrick

When I picked up Tentacles and Teeth (Consorting with Monsters #1) by Rowan Merrick, I thought, ‘It’s not my thing, but it’ll waste some time.’ Turns out… I must have more kinks than I knew ‘cause…


Tentacles and Teeth introduces a world where Fae and otherworldly creatures live side-by-side with humans. Humans, it would appear, they like to fuck and fuck hard. The main character of the novella is a confident, curvaceous human called Katarina who goes to a bar looking for exactly that… and finds it in the tentacled bar owner, Sid.

Gotta admit, when I picked up tentacle porn, I was not expecting one of the Fs in a FFM to be the one with the tentacles... but it works, creating an interesting dynamic between Sid, Katarina, and Fenn, the werewolf who can’t wait to take a bite out of his roommate’s feisty new girlfriend.

Still with me?

Merrick does a surprisingly good job of worldbuilding and character development in such a short time. Her world feels like a place you could step into, a place with history, culture, and rules. The characters were just as developed, well-rounded with individual personalities and goals. Tentacles and Teeth also introduces a myriad of side characters that you just know will get their own stories eventually.

And I’ll be there for every one of those.

Tentacles and Teeth is a fun and sexy little romance (yeah, there’s some wild fucking, but the relationship between Katarina, Sid, and Fenn is still sweet and respectful) that, at times, borders on the taboo when Katarina and Fenn finally get it on – in his werewolf form. Scenes that make me blush aside, Tentacles and Teeth is a good story that, really, could have been fleshed out into something more than quick smut. Although it lets itself down a little in that area, I still recommend this one for a steamy light read.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Book Review: The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action by Kondwani Fidel

The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action by Kondwani Fidel is a poetic memoir loaded with the kind of anguish I couldn't hope (thank the gods) to understand. It is not, however, what it claims to be. There's no call to action, advice, or guidance, which is disappointing. 

I'm happy to be a "woke snowflake." I know the stats, the names, and the dates. I've been paying attention. I'm already angry at the disparities between the way white people and black people, the rich and the poor, are treated in America. I already see how fucked up things are and that they're not getting any better. What I need to know is what, from my place of privilege (as crazy as that sounds,) I can do to help the situation. The Antiracist, despite its title, does not deliver that. 

Although The Antiracist is a powerful read, it isn't what I needed and not at all what the title offers. I would recommend it as a memoir, I suppose, but nothing more. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, 23 February 2023

The Rig (2023) Series Review

The Rig is a six-part series available on Amazon Prime. It focuses on Kinloch Bravo, an oil rig in the North Sea due to be decommissioned by the energy company that owns it, Pictor, that finds itself invaded by a mysterious, seemingly supernatural entity.

(As always, this review is full of spoilers so jump ship now if you don't want to know.)

Oil rigs are made for horror. They’re rough, desolate, isolated places unfamiliar to most of us. They might as well be foreign lands. Add the fact that they’re cramped places, with people living on top of each other for long stretches and you’ve got an environment just begging for disaster. Tensions run high. In tight spaces like that, minor inconveniences grow into lingering grudges – and that’s before anything goes wrong. Throw a monster into the mix…

With references to John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes, you’d be forgiven for expecting a whopping Cthulu-esque, eldritch beastie to be at the heart of the Bravo’s misfortune. I know I was. That’s nowhere near what you get with The Rig, though. It’s a slower, quieter horror but, strangely, I wasn’t disappointed. As these apocalyptic things usually go, the real monster is us. And, of course, monster gets what it deserves at the end of The Rig so, although there aren’t any tentacles or teeth, it’s still satisfying.

How’s it working out?

Not good for us.

Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, The Rig is still good horror. It’s atmospheric as hell, for starters. A lot of shows take a couple of episodes to bed in but this one gets under your skin straight away.

There are small signs of something going wrong long before the shit really hits the fan, with plenty of hints like lost signals to clue in attentive viewers. Then a mysterious fog rolls in, enveloping the Bravo (and making for some great imagery,) in and things kick off. 

I especially love shots of the rig lit up against the darkness of the fog at night. They're like something out of a dystopian hellscape and are particularly chilling. And, of course, having an "infected" member of your crew wandering around in that fog… not knowing where they are… with noises and distances being distorted… It raises the hairs.

It goes back to isolation. To cliques and old grudges. People who’ve already got beef take very little convincing when it comes time to mistrust their colleagues. So, when the fog clears, only to be followed by a shower of ash from the doomed Kinloch Charlie that acts as a carrier for the “attacking” ancient spores whose only mode of communication is… well, joining with the crew members, things get nasty very quickly.

Because people suck at communication when they can use words.

The spores’ (more super nature than supernatural) attempts to communicate, while a complete failure, are valiant. They speak in terms of mass extinction events, using circles to represent the times they’ve had to wipe the slate clean in the past, with a final broken circle to show our time running out. I’m not a total idiot (Honest!) but I didn’t realize what the spores were trying to say until Rose explained it so… yeah, as a species, we’d probably be fucked, lol.

The scary thing is that we talk about it all the time. There are always memes online about how we’re in the middle of an extinction level event, but we still have to pay our taxes, etc. (haha) but we’re obviously not getting it. The Rig challenges us to think harder. To really pay attention for once. Like… what will it take? Will it take the planet physically fighting back for us to change? If the fate of the Bravo is any indication…


Our inability to communicate effectively is just one of the many layers The Rig uncovers in its short but powerful run. That, I think, more than its low-key horror or stunning visual effects, is what I enjoyed most, that there’s so much happening on so many levels, all the time – apropos, given the setting.

I mentioned the relationships already, and that’s definitely part of it. With that thought in mind, I have to mention The Rig’s diversity & inclusivity. There are men and women, gay and straight, young and old. You’ve got strong representation across the board, which was a relief. And, as an added bonus, the women don’t face constant sexual harassment just for being in a “man’s field,” which I’ll admit I was half-expecting.

What can I say? The film & TV industry’s got me jaded as fuck, y’all.

Anyway… I like that you’ve got this traditionally ultra-macho place like an oil rig but no one bats at eye at different sexualities. Like, it’s just normal, yeah? Which it is. But you expect friction from the dinosaurs (which you get about pretty much everything else) but it’s not even an issue. There are queer characters without being queer having to be part of the plot. It’s normalized and thank you very much.

While we’re talking about dinosaurs, though…

The Rig acknowledges how hard the end of oil, steel, coal, etc. will be on older generations, on the folks who’ve never known any different. It shares their pain. But it doesn’t pander to them. It says, we know. We’re sorry that your day is done but this is our future, and we have to protect it. It acknowledges the pain of one side while at the same time one hundred percent making a judgement about the right way forward. There’s no both-sides-are-valid bullshit and I am fucking here for it.

Which might not even be such a bad thing – unless you want to be doing this when you’re 65 and the sky is burning.

You feel for the plight of the Bravo because the character development is so well done. Characters you hate at the beginning, like Emily Hampshire’s Rose, are the ones you’re rooting for at the end. Mostly. Some you still want to chuck off the rig. (Cough, cough, Hutton, cough, cough.) The Rig works because it’s so emotional. So character-driven. And it doesn't hurt that the actors are damn good at their jobs. It’s well cast with a lot of familiar faces from the likes of Line of Duty and Game ofThrones. I want to mention a few standout performances.

Owen Teale’s Hutton walks into frame and it’s easy to spot the asshole. (To be fair, he always plays the asshole.) You know the moment Hutton walks in that he’s going to be a problem and guess what… he is. There’s nothing redeemable about his character. From the beginning, he’s a liability. He’s selfish and delights in stirring shit. It doesn’t matter that they humanize him later on because he’s done so much wrong through the other episodes and I think that’s important. Sometimes, you can try to wipe the slate clean, but there’s no coming back from the damage you’ve done. You have to carry that with you. And I am glad they didn’t try to do that whole earns-his-redemption-through-death crap thing at the end. Massive pet peeve.

I have to mention Rochenda Sandall’s Cat because she’s my new hero. She’s so tough and no-nonsense. You know she’s been through hell, but she doesn’t let it break her. All the way through, you’re waiting for her breaking point and a few times you think she’s reached it, but she keeps pushing through. The old white men crumble around her, but she keeps her shit together. Which is why the end is so, so much more unfair for her.

(Doesn’t hurt that she kicks Hutton’s ass, either…)

And, of course, there’s poor tragic, villainized Baz (Calvin Demba) who just wanted to understand. To listen and protect. At the end, there’s really no need for Baz to die. He knows there’s nothing he can do. He knows that the collective entity made up of spores might not even let him back in. But he stays to try - and fuck if that’s not the  fucking moral of the story. Yeah, we’re all fucked... but shouldn’t we fucking try anyway?

Which is kind of the point, isn’t it? The whole point of The Rig seems to be that it’s too late.

It’s. Too. Late.


Hard truths, y’all. When the Doomsday Clock is just 90 seconds from the end, and you’re watching The Rig, and it’s giving you a visual representation of your own demise – the one you’re drinking and fucking and eating and buying like crazy to ignore – it really hits you. It’s entertaining but also fucking hard. It’s the feels. All the feels.

There are no fans left for shit to hit.

I can’t express how stunning The Rig is to watch. It’s eerily beautiful in places and just straight up enchantingly mesmerizing in others. I could watch the spores dance among the flora they created for hours. At the same time, watching Leck’s (Emun Elliott) tattoos bleed away as his fillings were forced from his teeth evoke a very visceral response. It’s hard to capture both a sense of otherworldly magic and pure body horror, but The Rig does.

If The Rig doesn’t get renewed because it’s too costly to make, you’d understand. That kind of SFX can’t be cheap. But I’d like to see it get another chance. Give us another chance.

Overall? The Rig is sombre but not despairing. It’s dark but not dreary. And it never does what you expect it to do.

I still would have liked a big fuck off monster, though… Maybe next time?

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, 11 February 2023

Sorry About the Demon (2022) Review

Sorry About the Demon (2022) is a tongue-in-cheek horror comedy from writer/director Emily Hagins. It follows recently dumped serial quitter, Will (Jon Michael Simpson) who's duped into renting a house from whiter-than-white Ken and Tammy Sellers (Dave Peniuk and Sarah Cleveland) who see nothing wrong with striking a deal with the demon who inhabits their house: the life of their precious daughter, Grace (Presley Allard,) for the life of an unsuspecting stranger. 

"No money down!"

Too bad the demon in question, the unfortunately named Deomonous, doesn't much care for their choice in sacrifices.

Poor Will... I spent the whole movie waiting for Deomonous to say, "You are a loser, Will." The voice actor, Tony Vespe, has the perfect voice for a sarcastic symbiote. 

My childhood overachiever/adult burnout, neurodivergent TikTokers will feel Will's plight. (Or is that feel attacked by Will's character? Lol.) He's the guy who takes up a million new hobbies - or, you know... intends to... tomorrow, maybe - but never sees anything through. Until Deomonous sets its evil little eye on Will's ex, Amy (Paige Evans.) 

The thing I love most about Sorry About the Demon is how casually Will just copes with the ghosts who inhabit the house and are manipulated by Deomonous. Because, hey, any Millennial knows that living with a couple of ghosts is worth finding a cheap place to rent! Evil demon in the basement? Sharing the telly with a ghost? But look at the size of that house! Sign me the Hell up!

Sorry About the Demon isn't just customer service cringe and light slapstick. There are some genuinely creepy moments and, even though it never presumes to take itself too seriously, it still manages to maintain an eerie ambiance throughout the laughs. There are good fake outs and even better stings. I can't decide if my favourite moment comes when the female ghost reaches out from underneath the bed to grab Will around the throat (gets me every time) or when a kitchen cabinet swings open to wallop Will's annoying hipster friend, Patrick (Jeff McQuitty) in the face...

In addition to droll humour, sympathetic characters (except maybe Patrick, screw that guy,) and decent horror, Sorry About the Demon includes a couple of good nods to horror classics like Poltergeist and The Exorcist and even manages to wind things up with a happily-ever-after. 

Sort of. 

We stumbled across this one after seeing exactly no advertising for it, which is a shame. People need to be out there bigging up Sorry About the Demon because it really is one of those hidden horror gems flying under the radar. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

King of Halloween: Graveyard Shift (1990)

Wondra: I have to say, Graveyard Shift (1990) is probably the closest thing you’ll find to a b-movie on this list. Okay, it's totally a b-movie. Don’t get me wrong… I liked it. It’s a lot of fun – but it doesn’t exactly have the depth that a lot of the others do. It’s more… what was the word you used? Pulp?

Jay: Yeah. It’s not his best story, but it’s not bad. It’s contained to a couple of locations. The cast isn’t… stellar. Nothing wrong with their ability, but they’re not household names, are they?

W: It isn’t a particularly great cast but Andrew Divoff as Danson and Brad Dourif as The Exterminator are absolutely b-movie royalty.

J: Certainly horror film royalty. If you’re aware of horror films, you know their names. I don’t know if I would call myself an aficionado because there’s just too much to remember now. There’s such an influx of horror movies now, it feels impossible to retain. But I remember Graveyard Shift because it was from a time when you weren’t being bombarded by twenty or thirty new films a month.

W: The thing with Graveyard Shift is that if you’re afraid of rats, it becomes a thousand times scarier. If not, it’s just really… yucky. I mean… I can’t watch it without thinking that they all probably have listeria!

J: Rats can be very clean animals. I love rats. They can be the world’s survivors. They adapt. The can live in the worst scenarios. There’s a rat within so many feet of anywhere in Britain. After mankind has polluted the earth, everything will come back. The rat will just carry on adapting. They’ll still be here, probably just be a lot bigger.

W: The social commentary about money, greed, and power are not subtle in this one…

J: No, but that’s Stephen King. That’s why he got on so well with Romero. They’ve always been very aware of social climates. Whenever there’s a republican in the white house, watch how political King’s works get!

W: I’m a little confused about the rats, actually… If there are storm drains that lead to the river, why are they still there? Rats are hellish clever. Wouldn’t they have just scarpered when there was nothing else to eat there?

J: With that thing killing everything that wandered too close? They had a ready made source of food. That bat thing was killing just to get rid of people so there was always plenty to eat. Would you leave?

W: There are so, so many rats you don’t immediately recognize the big bad for what it is. Eventually, you start asking yourself, ‘Is that a wing?’ And then you get the reveal at the end and… what the crap? How does a movie about a rat infestation turn into a battle against a giant bat?

J: That was the downfall with Graveyard Shift. It never explained why one involved into something else. You have to think that it was exposed to chemicals but… you never find out. It’s also weird that the other rats don’t seem to mind it. With as cannibalistic and territorial as rats are, it’s odd that they would just ignore it.

W: In the book, it’s supposed to just be this giant blind rat without any legs. That would have made so much more sense. Do you think it would have worked better if they had stuck with that or do you think it would have been less effective? I like the monster this way… but maybe in a different movie.

J: If it was just this slug rat? It couldn’t have been better. I suppose it’s down to the director, though, isn’t it? The right director can make nothing look scary.

W: Honestly? When it gets to the monster’s nest, it feels like a whole different movie. It goes from gritty modern to massive classic horror. What the heck? The set is impressive, don’t get me wrong… it just feels like an unnecessary shift.

J: It’s been sealed off so it really is from another time. No one has been there – except for its prey. It’s untouched by everything that’s been built on top of it. It’s necessary because it shows how people deal with things. Rather than dealing with it, they just bury it and move on. And with rats, what do they do? You catch one in your bathroom and the first thing they do is straight down the drain.

W: Of course you have the typical pissing contest between the locals, Danson and Brogan (Vic Polizos,) and the Drifter, John Hall (David Andrews.) That insecurity is always there, isn’t it? You’re only the best thing going until some strange comes along… Why does it always seem like the men in these small towns starting shit when someone new shows up?

J: It’s putting people in their place. You don’t know anything about him but you’re making sure you assert your dominance. It starts in school. You remember when the new kid shows up at school. People don’t go up and just make friends, they always go up and show they’re the top dog.

W: Ugh. Warwick (Stephen Macht) is another Entitled White Man piece of shit, isn't he? Anybody who so much as looks at him the wrong way gets sent to the basement. For awhile there, I thought he was working with whatever was down there but, no, he was just an asshole who knew bad shit happened and wanted to punish people who pissed him off.

J: Yeah, he’s as big a killer as the thing. He’s feeding it. He’s getting rid of his competition. Of his problems. He’s a real monster.

W: And you know, of course, the one thing that pissed me off most about the movie… they killed the fucking dog. I hate it when they bring a dog into a film, just to kill it. Was there any need for the dog, except to die?

J: It gets you, though, doesn’t it? Guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings.

W: What was the deal with Warwick losing his mind? Sometimes that feels like a copout in horror. I feel like maybe people live through pretty horrendous shit all the time and they do it without instantly losing it. So, was Warwick just two fries short of a Happy Meal to start with or is it a case of lazy writing?

J: It’s both. If he didn’t get what he wanted, he was off on one anyway. You can never call King a lazy writer, but Warwick’s character was just the bomb, wasn’t he? Tick, tick, tick, waiting to go off. He was a tool, more than a well-rounded character.

W: Once again, women in horror get a shitty deal. Nordello (Ilona Margolis) almost gets assaulted by Warwick in the middle of town and nobody does a damned thing to stop it - presumably because she's a slut - while Jane (Kelly Wolf) tried to report Warwick for sexual harassment and was told to see a therapist. Sheesh. The men are either psychos or assholes and the women are treated like scum. Is that just narrowing down humanity to our worst bits or is it just using stereotypes for convenience?

J: Honestly? I can’t answer that. It’s like a big, flashing arrow. Bad guy! Hero! You find that sometimes. With some movies, you get that Police Academy thing. “I am a bad guy. I am exiting the window. What do you do?” That’s the problem with some films. You’re not allowed to make up your own mind. This is one of those films.

But they’re all frightened of him. Both because he’s a white man with power and because he’s obviously a nutcase.

W: Even though Graveyard Shift is totally a b-movie, it’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s way down the pecking order for a King film, though! What are your final thoughts on it?

W: It’s a good, mindless night’s viewing. You don’t have to think too hard. It’s not his best work, but it’s worth a watch.

Jay’s Rating: 💀💀

Wondra’s Rating: 💀💀

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

King of Halloween: Pet Sematary (1989)

Wondra: The Countdown to Halloween continues, which means another Stephen King adaptation. Today, we’re going to look at Pet Sematary (1989,) which has some really great moments but can be really annoying at times.

I think I’ll start with the setting? The most important place in the movie has got to be the pet sematary itself, although little of the action actually takes place there. The tired, worn graves at the “sematary” look kind of scary – but isn’t it a beautiful idea?

Jay: I love the idea of a pet cemetery. Pets play such a big part of your life – from a goldfish to a horse – especially growing up. The dogs you have growing up, you never forget them. They’re a huge part of who you are, who you become. Growing up, I was lucky. I had dogs, budgies, goldfish – hell, I had a kestrel and a crow. If they told me there was a pet cemetery (cemetery, not sematary) opening… one of those new ones, where you can be buried next to them, absolutely. There are plenty of people who prefer their pets to their families! A dog’s love is unconditional. 

W: Absolutely. I cried harder when Dakota died than when my dad died. I mean... to be fair, it was my dad, but you know what I mean. No matter how far away you are, they’re still your family, your best friends.

Okay, so the movie starts and almost immediately, Gage (Miko Hughes) almost runs out in front of a truck. What the fuck were those people thinking, not putting a fence up – or, I don’t know, teaching their kids road safety? As a non-parent, I’m just watching it thinking what horrible, negligent parents they are!

(By the way, we lived right on a major highway with trucks flying by all the time. We knew not to go anywhere fucking near it.)

J: Let’s be honest. When you’ve got a lethal road – that’s why there’s a pet cemetery in the first place – you put up a fence so your pet or your kid can’t run out in the road. It’s Common Sense 101. You’d have to be off your head to have a two-year-old kid there without any protection.

W: I hate Denise Crosby’s character. She’s such a whiny little princess. Her issue with death and “Why should kids learn about death…” They bought the kid a cat. Didn’t they expect to have to explain death at some point? What was she going to do if the grandparents died? You have to teach kids about death at some point! Is there an age that’s too young, ‘cause that girl doesn’t seem that young…?

J: Well, in their defence, the kids are both very young – the parents were probably thinking that they weren’t going to have to have the conversation for a long time.  After all, cats can live up to, what, twenty years? The kids would be in university by then.

I knew from a young age that death was a thing. I had a Nan and B but my other Nan didn’t have a B. I knew that he was in Heaven. From the age of four, I remember crying when my mom went on holiday because I was terrified her plane would crash and she would die. Would it have been easier if I hadn’t known anything about death? I don’t know.

The quicker kids understand something, when something happens, it’s not a shock. My friend’s mother died when she was six or seven at the age of thirty or so. My parents told me, people die. It won’t happen to you. It happens to you if you’re stupid.

W: Someone should have had that talk with Gage.

Honestly, I didn’t find either of the parents likeable. And the grandparents were just hateful. The mother, Rachel, is neurotic as fuck and the father, Louis (Dale Midkiff,) becomes just as bad as she is the moment things go wrong. Do you think it’s intentional, like a commentary on human nature, or am I just reading too much into it?

J: You can never tell with Stephen King because he’s always had a very interesting view on human nature. Just look at The Mist – talk about commentary on human nature. King has an amazing grasp on human nature. Human natures. There’s not just one. He’s really lived a life and you’ve got to think not wanted to for at least part of it. We’re lucky his wife believed in him when he didn’t.

King’s books are so relatable. Look at It or Tommyknockers. The dynamics between people, between friends, are so intricate, so complicated. You know his childhood was a formidable time because he writes about childhood so much. Growing up in 50s/60s America, dirt poor, with Coke bottle glasses… it couldn’t have been easy.

W: It’s common knowledge that King had a rough childhood so it makes sense that he writes about it a lot.

Oh, I wanted to mention Fred Gwynne as Jude Crandall! I loved seeing him in Pet Sematary! He’s such a horror icon and a lovely character. His death is so awful too!

J: Fred Gwynne didn’t act enough for me. He got kind of pigeonholed into the Herman Munster role and he was so much more than that. It didn’t matter if he was warning you or whatever, it did it with that slow, southern voice. I was always so sad that I never got the chance to meet him.

And his death… it is horrific. To slice his ankle, then slice his mouth open. Brutal. Shocking. For half of Pet Sematary, you don’t really see a lot but, when it gets into its swing, it really goes for it. It does get nasty.

W: In typical King fashion, the sister, Ellie (BlazeBerdahl,) appears to be psychic. Weirdly, neither of the parents are. No one else does, either. And it offers zero explanation for any of it. What’s going on there?

J: Yeah, it doesn’t explain it at all, does it? It makes you wonder if she’s tapped into the ground. Children are much more au fait with spirits than adults are, anyway.

W: There is other supernatural stuff going on, of course, with Rachel’s sister, Zelda (Andrew Hubastek) – who, by the way, I don’t believe looked anything like you would if you had the disease she supposedly had, but that’s beside the point – and with the ghost of the kid who gets killed on Louis’s first day, Pascow (Brad Greenquist.)

You mentioned before that you didn’t think there was any point in the thing with Pascow…?

J: No. I understand why, I suppose… to help the story along, but you didn’t need the ghost telling you. You had Jud doing it. I think it was for shock value more than anything. I don’t know if it was a homage to An American Werewolf in London, but I didn’t there was any need for it.

W: It definitely gave me An American Werewolf in London vibes. The annoying thing about Pascow for me is that he could only go so far… could only help so much. Why? The ghost of Zelda didn’t seem to have the same restrictions. I hate inconsistencies.

Alright. I have to ask. If Jud knew bad things could happen if you buried things in the pet sematary, why the Hell did he take that yuppie there?!

J: Jud does explain his reasoning, doesn’t he? He just didn’t want Ellie’s heart broken. I always thought that he should have done a better job of warning Louis, mind. Especially since, like you said, he knew exactly how bad it could get. Jud had good intentions but the whole thing was still a really bad idea.

W: I love that they had to use 9 different cats during filming for Church because cats can’t be trained. Do you think it would have been a different movie if they’d used a dog instead?

J: You could have ended up with dogs that couldn’t act too. Just look at how obedient our dogs are.

As far as it being a different movie? Well, it depends on which sort of dog they used… if it’s a yorkie or something, no, not really. You’d still get the same kind of vibe. If it’s a German Shepard or something, definitely. If a Doberman growls at you, it’s a different story.

W: And, of course, we already have a King film about a killer dog…  

Okay, talk to me about creepy Gage because he’s the best part of the movie.

J: He was awesome. Dying aged Gage quite a bit, though, didn’t it? He went from one-word sentences to full sentences right after coming back. That’s pretty impressive. His second death is the best. When he gets put down, that “No fair!” is something…

W: Okay… I don’t get it. That mofo saw what happened when he took the cat there. He saw what happened when he took his son there. Why the fuck would he take his wife there?! He knew what would happen!

J: I don’t think he really believed it, that it would happen again. He was just desperate.

You know… after Rachel kills Louis, there’s always the possibility that she takes him up to the sematary and buries him. You’re in zombie territory then. Zombies that can think and reason and know how to spread without eating each other. Now that’s an interesting movie…

W: Okay, last chance to add any thoughts…

J: Pet Sematary is a straightforward, creepy film and it’s all down to Gage. Anything where you’ve got a kid coming back after you – and he doesn’t come back as a dumb shit… that’s terrifying. Gage is cunning. He got Jud and he almost got his father. It’s only by luck that he didn’t. Scary stuff.

Wondra’s Rating: 💀💀💀

Jay’s Rating: 💀💀💀💀