Stephen King Looks Back on His Pet Sematary Book: This Is Awful
This weekend we will finally see the release of co-directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s remake of Stephen King’s scariest novel Pet Sematary starring Jason Clarke and John Lithgow. Like most people out there on this planet Earth, I consider King’s source novel to be one of the greats of the genre, but what does King himself think of his 1983 book? Well, it turns out the master of horror doesn’t care for it. Like, at all. In fact, King recently let it be known loud and clear that he doesn’t like the novel, going so far as to call it “awful” and “really f—ing terrible.” Don’t hold back now, Mr. King, tell us how you really feel.
“No, I mean it’s true. I listened to it last year when I was down here in Florida walking on the beach with the dog. Michael C. Hall [of Dexter and Six Feet Under] did the audiobook. I was curious about it. You know, I hadn’t been near it in 20, 25 years. So I listened to it, and thought, “My God, this is just awful. It’s just as dark as can be.”
Stephen King continues with this.
“When I read it over, I thought, “There’s such grief in this book.” Just awful.”
He then goes on to say this.
“I just had the greatest time writing the book until I was done with it. And I read it over, and I said to myself, “This is awful. This is really f-ing terrible.” Not that it was badly written, necessarily. But all that stuff about the death of kids. It was close to me because my kids lived on that road.”
For those who might not know, the original novel was inspired by King’s life back in 1978 when he moved his family into a house on a busy road in Orrington, Maine. The neighborhood children had created a cemetery for pets in the woods behind the house, and King’s daughter buried her cat “Smucky” in the graveyard after a truck struck it down. Not only that, more tragically, the death of little Gage Creed was inspired by the near-death of his son Owen King. Feeling he had gone too far with the subject matter of the book, King discarded having it published. Eventually, King allowed Doubleday to publish the book. Thank God.
On a side note, don’t worry about King’s son Owen King, who as mentioned above, almost met his fate on the road outside King’s rented home. Owen is all grown up now and doing just fine. In fact, the son of King has his own career as a writer picking up steam with works such as Sleeping Beauties (which he co-wrote along with his father) available now. Not only that but Owen has secured a chair in the writer’s room for director Josh Boone and CBS All Access’ upcoming 10-episode limited series adaptation of Stephen King’s magnum opus The Stand.
Sure it kind of sucks that King doesn’t seem to like his novel Pet Sematary much. But it’s all good considering the reasons he cites for his dislike of the material all stem from the book being too dark and, you know, scary. Which is what it was supposed to be in the first place, right? So, yeah, this update doesn’t bother me so much. Pet Sematary is a dark trip. It comes with the territory. This story comes to us from an interview King just conducted over at Entertainment Weekly.