Published by Pocket Books on November 14, 1983
Genres: Horror, Paranormal
Also by this author: Doctor Sleep, Cujo, Mr. Mercedes
Don't miss the classic tale from King of Horror and #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, described by Publishers Weekly as "the most frightening novel Stephen King has ever written."
When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son—and now an idyllic home. As a family, they've got it all...right down to the friendly car.
But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth—more terrifying than death itself—and hideously more powerful.
The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.
“And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.”
After Louis Creed gets hired on at The University of Maine, he moves his family from Chicago, Illinois to the small town of Ludlow, Maine. Their house is built on the edge of a distressing wilderness that their local neighbor, Jud, advises they never traverse which only manages to stir their curiosity. The months steadily fly by living in Ludlow until one day his daughters cat Church is killed and Jud decides to ‘help him’ by showing him the Pet Sematary. The one on the far side of the deadfall.
“You do it because it gets hold of you. You do it because that burial place is a secret place, and you want to share the secret… you make up reasons… they seem like good reasons… mostly you do it because you want to. Or because you have to.”
According to Stephen King, Pet Sematary is the most frightening book he’s ever written. And while it was frightening, it wasn’t exactly the type of horror I was expecting. The intended fright was also full of a paralyzing despair because it was regarding the loss of a loved one and the horrors that accompany it. Throw in a supernatural flair and an ancient Indian burial ground that brings the dead back to (a form of) living and that’s Pet Sematary in a nutshell. The burial grounds and the unseen horrors that possessed an individual was what unsettled me the most though. Louis Creed was a perfectly rational individual yet the combination of loss and the influence of the burial grounds caused him to do irrational and horrible things. He became infected by an ancient evil.
“His plan kept unreeling in his mind. he looked at it from all angles, poked it, prodded it, looked for holes or soft places. And he felt that in truth he was walking along a narrow beam over a gulf of insanity. Madness was all around him, softly fluttering as the wings of night-hunting owls with great golden eyes: he was heading into madness.”
King’s stories of average people always end up transforming into something truly malevolent. Is that because of King’s devious imagination or is it a showcase of truth in how closely horror lurks waiting for its opportune moment to pounce and mutate even the most ordinary of lives? One thing I’ve learned is that there are most definitely worse things than dying.
“What you buy is what you own, and sooner or later what you own will come back to you.”