No, the other word commonly used to describe a graveyard is not spelled “sematary.” But Stephen King’s purposeful misspelling in the title of his iconic novel Pet Sematary makes it all the more creepy. It’s a tale that centers on a haunted burial ground in Maine that terrorizes the surrounding residents. While there have been several King film adaptations and sequels, this latest entry is actually a prequel that centers on an untold chapter of the novel, titled Pet Sematary: Bloodlines.
Co-starring Henry Thomas (The Fall of the House of Usher) and other seasoned Hollywood veterans like David Duchovny and Pam Grier, this latest Pet Sematary installment effectively expands on King’s vision while introducing exciting Indigenous side-plots and characters that add layers to this unique and terrifying universe. We recently caught up with the new film’s co-writer and director, Lindsey Anderson Beer, to learn more about her involvement in Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, her love for King’s work, and other projects in the works.
Obsessed with Stephen King at a Young Age
Co-writer Beer tells us there was actually a script for Bloodlines already drafted when she signed on. But that doesn’t mean her work on the story was finished. “When I came on, it was rewriting and directing,” she told MovieWeb. “There were some really strong story pillars that I responded to, like using Timmy as the way into the movie and setting it in the ’60s, and all of that, I thought, was really interesting. Especially if you could explore the themes of the Vietnam War and kind of use that as a metaphor in Ludlow. I just thought there was a lot of interesting stuff to play with there.”
Beer continued regarding the preproduction process:
“So then I started a lot of rewriting before shooting. But that was mostly just rereading the book and trying to pull whatever I could out of it. And then, there were certain things that I really wanted to make sure were in this movie that weren’t in the original drafts — just kind of beef up the Indigenous storyline characters and really make sure that there were these two pillars in the protagonist’s force and the antagonist’s force, in terms of these two fathers who are on two different sides of something but are really just looking to protect their children in different ways.”
Like many horror lovers out there, it all started with Beer’s affinity for the author who started it all. “I love Stephen King and, I mean, I loved Pet Sematary, too. As a kid, it was the first Stephen King book that I read,” she said. “I was like 9 years old, and I just became obsessed with Stephen King after that.” This begs the question: Would Beer be game for revisiting King’s work in a possible future project? “The ones that stand out to me are already taken,” she told us. “But I’m sure at some point in life, something will come back around.”
In addition to King’s original vision, Bloodlines is also heightened by several big names in Hollywood, including David Duchovny, Henry Thomas, and the wonderful Pam Grier. “The legends that are David and Henry and Pam were so fun on set and so generous always,” said Beer. “And the younger cast, I think, just did a brilliant job and really brought their all and brought really nuanced performances.”
Sleepy Hollow and Exploring Other Genres
Thanks to the talented cast and Beer’s skilled storytelling, Bloodlines has its fair share of memorable frights and scary sequences. “I think my favorite scene to shoot was Manny and Donna in the sunflower field, just talking as brother and sister,” said Beer. “But in terms of the scene that I was filming that felt the most intense to me, that was when Timmy [Jack Mulhern] is drowning. While we did shoot a version of it with stunt people, almost everything you see is them actually doing that. So, watching Jackson White the human drown Jack Mulhern the human was pretty intense.”
Looking ahead for Beer, even if another King project isn’t immediately on the horizon for her, she is continuing to embrace the horror genre — plus others. “I’m working on a Sleepy Hollow reboot that I’m writing and directing for Paramount that I’m excited about,” she told us. “And I am working on some other stuff, but I’m not allowed to talk about it yet… I can say that one of the things I’m working on is a sci-fi thing. My background is in science, and I always thought that I would do mostly kind of science-fiction thriller. I love horror, though, and I want to keep doing horror as well.”
Since Bloodlines features some household Hollywood names, we were curious if there are other heavy hitters she’d especially like to work with. “I can’t say there’s one person that I would single out,” she said. “There are just so many amazingly talented people out there. And I’m excited to work with as many as I can in my career.”
In the meantime, Pet Sematary: Bloodlines is now available on digital and debuts on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on December 19th from Paramount Home Entertainment.