It can be difficult finding horror films of quality, so allow me to welcome you to your salvation from frustration. “Zena’s Period Blood” is here to guide you to the horror films that will make you say, “This is a good horror. Point blank. PERIOD.”
“Zena’s Period Blood” focuses on under-appreciated and hidden horror films.
In 1989, director Mary Lambert and author Stephen King blessed us with the film Pet Sematary, a horror that exhibited undying love, literally. Paramount Pictures, determined to capitalize on this success, pinned writer Richard Outten to construct the sequel’s screenplay. The cast populated with big names of the time: Edward Furlong (Terminator 2), Anthony Edwards (Revenge of the Nerds), Clancy Brown (Highlander), and Darlane Fluegal (Once Upon a Time in America). The result was a sequel that Stephen King detached his name from, but that I attached my young existence to. For me, Pet Sematary II does exactly what its poster claims: Raises some hell.
After actress Renee Hallow (Darlane Fluegel) is accidentally electrocuted to death on the set of her movie, husband Anthony Edwards (Chase Matthews) moves with his teenage son Jeff (Edward Furlong) to Ludlow, Maine, Renee’s hometown. Here, Jeff befriends schoolmate Drew (Jason McGuire) but tries to avoid Clyde (Jared Rushton). Wielding all the makings of a jerk, Clyde hosts a get-together at Micmac burial ground and gabs about an ancient Indian ritual believed to bring any deceased buried here back to life. Skepticism spreads. But after the resurrection of Drew’s dog, Zowie, and Drew’s stepfather, Gus (Clancy Brown), Jeff attempts to revive his mother. Her resurrection, regrettably, comes with her new credence: Dead is BETTER!
Solid performances enriched the predictable screenplay. Furlong was notorious in the 90s as the child actor who effortlessly embodied a troubled adolescent. Here, he pulled it off again, brilliant even across Clancy Brown, who steals spotlights wherever and whenever he pleases. Recently, I discovered that Furlong and Brown’s character might not have been part of the original idea for the sequel. A rumor surfaced that director Lambert conceptualized Ellie Creed (sole survivor from the original Pet Sematary) to be the central character. However, the studio nixed the idea, skeptical at the time that a teenage female lead could allure high ticket sales. I hope to see that version one day.
Russell Carpenter excelled as the cinematographer, cascading daylight over adrenaline filled scenes or casting moonlight on the silhouettes of forlorn characters. Above all, his close-ups appealed to the heart, bestowing insights into the character’s thoughts (or lack thereof). Through the years, Carpenter has grown as a cinematographer with films such as Ant-man, Avatar 2 and 3, Charlie’s Angels, Titanic, and xXx: Return of Xander Cage. In Pet Sematary II, a hint of his talent is revealed in one wide-angle shot where Jeff reaches for his mother but misses her hand as an unknown force hauls his bed back.
Although Pet Sematary II failed to deliver the emotional punch of its predecessor, the film revisited different aspects of a family’s loss. We witnessed a boy in love with his mother—and the distance he would go to express that love again. Along with feeling this child’s emotional scars, we experienced the peace a parent tries to offer during times of loss. Furthermore, we observed the requirement for that peace to be entwined with sternness, directed at preventing the child from self-inflicted harm in the present or future. These dynamics are summed up in a bar from the film’s main theme song Fading Away by Jan King. “Who do I tell? What can I do? Your soul is lost somewhere. Why can’t mine be there, too?”
Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch’s Pet Sematary releases April 5th, 2019, but I recommend that you view the original versions beforehand. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Pet Sematary II for the Halloween season. So, grab a boo, and enjoy all the thrills this movie has to offer. Point Blank. Period.
In addition to contributing to Dread Central, Zena Dixon has been writing about all things creepy and horrific for over six years at RealQueenofHorror.com. She has always loved horror films and will soon be known directing her own feature-length horror. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @LovelyZena.