“Pet Sematary: Bloodlines” premieres on Paramount+ on October 6th. It is based on the classic novel by Stephen King and is a prequel to 2019’s “Pet Sematary.” The film also marks the feature film directorial debut of author Lindsey Anderson Beer (“Sierra Burgess Is a Loser”).
What is the plot of Pet Sematary: Bloodlines?
In 1969, young Jud Crandall (Jackson White) dreams of leaving his hometown of Ludlow, Maine, behind, but soon discovers dark secrets hidden within him and must confront a dark family history that will haunt him forever will connect with Ludlow. Together, Jud and his childhood friends must fight against an ancient evil that has had Ludlow’s grip since its inception and that, once unearthed, has the power to destroy everything in its path.
“Death is different here”
In 1969, young Jud Crandall dreams of leaving his hometown of Ludlow, Maine, behind, but soon discovers dark secrets hidden within and must confront… Read the plot
Who is in the cast of Pet Sematary: Bloodlines?
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with filmmaker Lindsey Anderson Beer about her work on Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, the new story, creating a Pet Sematary prequel, balancing her dual roles as writer and director, and her previous work as… The author filled her in on the direction, shifting the story’s timeline, Stephen King Easter eggs, and what King himself thought of the new film.
You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch the interview.
Moviefone: How would you first describe the plot of this prequel to our audience?
Lindsey Anderson Beer: Pet Sematary: Bloodlines is a prequel to Stephen King’s book Pet Sematary. Set in 1969, it tells the origin story of Jud Crandall, the beloved character brilliantly played by Fred Gwynne in the original and by John Lithgow in the latest film. It’s also an origin story for (the town of) Ludlow itself. We learn a lot more about where this spooky evil comes from.
MF: Not only did you co-write the film, but it also marks your directorial debut. Have you ever had the experience of writing a sequence that you were very happy with on paper, but then had difficulty executing on set?
LABORATORY: “Direct me,” similar to “Run me in a show,” now takes much more into account what’s great on the page than what’s actually practical and realistic. So yeah, I would say that anything I started writing after directing, I’m much more aware of what it actually takes to get it done.
MF: Can you talk about how your previous experiences as a writer and showrunner prepared you for directing this film?
LABORATORY: I think in terms of writing, just being open to an iterative process. I know there are some directors who are like, “Okay, what I have planned and what’s on the page, this is exactly what we need to shoot.” But for me, I’m always wondering, “What is?” the more interesting and beautiful perspective on this place?” Or: “What is the more interesting moment, considering how this actor delivers this sentence?” The iterative, almost alchemical reaction that you have in a real scenario, in a real place Real people, experienced, really inspires me. I think it’s exciting to give the actors and crew the opportunity to change things a little and look for the best, not just what was previously agreed upon.
Related Article: David Duchovny, Pam Grier and More Appear in First Images from ‘Pet Sematary: Bloodlines’
MF: The film contains a flashback that serves as the origin story of the town of Ludlow. Can you talk about the development of this sequence? Were there any other scenes you shot that you couldn’t include?
LABORATORY: I shot so much that we could do a 16th century prequel. I actually keep trying to get Paramount to release a featurette or something because we have so much great material from that period and it was some of my favorite filming because that forest was so beautiful and brutal and just really interesting stuff . The scene work and the type of story of what was happening there were very different in my drafts. But Jeff Buhler, the first author, originally came up with the idea of showing the 17th century. I was able to continue with that and show more of this idea from Ludlow. The Settler is something I made up and just wanted to show the original sin of the original Settler.
MF: There are several Stephen King Easter eggs in the film, including “Jim’s Diner,” which has already been revealed. Can you share any other Easter eggs that King fans can look out for?
LABORATORY: When Marjorie is on the phone, pause the screen.
MF: Was there anything specific from King’s original novel that was really important for you to include in this film?
LABORATORY: Yes, there were a few things. First of all, as King describes Timmy, he says that Timmy knew everyone’s darkest secrets and kind of taunted them with the darkest parts of them, and that this is a creature that really likes to play with his food. I thought of Church, the cat from the original, and how King describes her playing with dead animals or catching birds and playing with them before killing them. I found this very interesting and reminded me a little of “The Silence of the Lambs”. But this psychological idea in particular was really interesting to me and I really wanted to capture it. Another interesting thing that I thought we had to take from the book was the idea that Jud’s encounter with Timmy is the reason that evil targets him as an older man, which is something that doesn’t happen in any of the other films is explained. Also, just the idea of this being, this evil, whispering to you and getting into your head and making you do things you shouldn’t do. I think a lot of people complain about Jud’s behavior when he’s an older man, like, “Oh, if he knows what’s going to happen, why is he telling Louis about this acidic soil?” At least the answer in the book, and For me, what I wanted to make clearer is that it whispers to you and gets into your head, and Jud resists it most of his life, but as he gets older it gets to him.
MF: Can you talk about slightly changing the timeline of Pet Sematary and setting the film in the late ’60s against the backdrop of the Vietnam War?
LABORATORY: When the project began with producers and first writer Jeff Buhler, they had shifted the schedule to fit their 2019 film. So when I came on board, I didn’t look at the film as a prequel to the 2019 film or any other film. I thought of it as a prequel to the book, but I really wanted to keep that time shift because I just felt that the Vietnam War and the timeline worked much better as a kind of metaphor for everything that was going on in the book . I also feel like it’s kind of a sister decade to what we’re going through now in terms of the disillusionment we’re all facing. I thought there was a real connection to it. So I thought it would be the perfect setting to highlight and highlight the themes of Pet Sematary. That’s why I really wanted to look into it.
MF: Stephen King has finally seen the film and seems happy with it, and of course this is the man who famously disliked Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. How satisfying is it to know that he really likes your film?
LABORATORY: I do. I feel so relieved and content. It’s his baby, and so I’m just glad that he feels like we did it right and that he loves it as much as we do. Of course, for me as a Stephen King fan, that’s everything.