With the new version of Pet Sematary now playing in theaters, Stephen King is talking more freely about the remake of his beloved horror novel from 1983. It seems he actually was consulted on the feature's ending, although his idea didn't end up getting used.
WARNING! The following contains major spoilers for the new Pet Sematary!
“Producers and filmmakers always get really nervous when it gets down to the ending of the movie, because they understand, and I understand, that how people go out is going to affect what the word of mouth is,” the author told Entertainment Weekly.
As the trailers have already revealed, it is not Gage Creed (Hugo Lavoie and Lucas Lavoie) who gets run over by a truck and subsequently resurrected, but his older sister, Ellie (Jeté Laurence). Even so, that big deviation sets the film's story on a much darker path than we see in either the book or the 1989 film adaptation.
As the story reaches its conclusion, Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) places Gage in the family car for safe-keeping, telling the boy to stay put and not to open the door for anyone. With that settled, Louis goes to face his now-evil daughter, who doesn't have any qualms about slicing out a person's heel with a sharp medical scalpel.
And there Gage remains until the movie's end, but if King's suggestion had been put into action, the original victim of that truck accident would have gone off on his own like toddlers often do.
“I talked about an ending where Gage is walking up the middle of the road. We see dawn, and we hear a truck coming, and think, ‘Oh my God, he’s gonna get greased in the road. That’s how this is gonna end!’" King said. "Then at the last second, this woman pulls him out of the road and rescues him, and says, ‘Where’s your mommy and daddy?' “And that’s how you end the thing. But … that isn’t what they show.”
While the remake still pays homage to Gage's death in the sequence where Ellie is killed instead, the actual ending proves that it may have been kinder if directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer had killed him off in the traditional way. At least King's idea had a twinge of hope to it, something you wouldn't expect from the master of the macabre.
“We chose [the] darkest [ending],” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told EW.
Pet Sematary is now playing in theaters everywhere.