The annual Halloween spooking season only lasts so long, but the cycle of new Stephen King horror novel adaptations – and remakes of previous adaptations – never dies. A 21st-century reboot of Carrie is currently playing in theaters (read our review), while the list of gestating projects inspired by King’s literature includes a two-part It movie adaptation and a film version of the author’s end-of-world epic, The Stand; not to mention, a second season for the Under the Dome TV Series – with King set to write the first episode to follow the season 1 finale – awaits us in the future.
One King project that we haven’t heard about in some time is the Pet Sematary remake/re-adaptation, based on the author’s 1983 novel about a family that discovers their new home in the countryside has its drawbacks; namely, a nearby cemetery – misspelled “Sematary” in the story – where animals that are buried there may come back from the dead (humans buried there, well, that’s where things get more complicated). The book was previously adapted to movie form in 1989, giving rise (no pun intended) to a sequel in 1992.
Alexandre Aja – director of the gruesome The Hills Have Eyes and Maniac remakes – was eyed to take the helm on Pet Sematary 2.0 a few years back, but the latest report from Variety is that Juan Carlo Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) is now circling the project as his next directorial effort. The current version of the remake’s screenplay is credited to Matt Greenberg (Reign of Fire, 1408) and David Kajganich (The Invasion, Blood Creek) – the latter of whom also worked on the new It adaptation – but, chances are, their draft will be getting a revision, to go along with the new director.
Fresnadillo’s 28 Days Later sequel falls more on the gory, but grounded side of horror than the macabre supernatural fantasy of King’s Pet Sematary source material (or its previous cinematic adaptation). Nonetheless, both works – along with Fresnadillo’s last film, the apparition suspense/thriller Intruders – use the genre to explore related stories about families in crisis, so it makes sense as to why the filmmaker has been offered the project (and, in turn, the reason for his interest).
Still, the chance that Fresnadillo actually ends up directing the film will be partly determined by how much faster it begins to move forward now. Need we remind you, there was a brief amount of time when Fresnadillo was lined up to direct reboots of both The Crow and Highlander franchises, yet he ultimately ended up walking way from each of those projects, once they stalled on their trips down the assembly line.
Regardless of what happens (or doesn’t happen) with Pet Sematary, the parade of King novel-inspired film/TV projects doesn’t look to stop anytime soon. Case in point: The Stand is moving forward again – now that busy Ben Affleck has been replaced by Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) as director – even as we continue to sporadically hear updates about the status of Ron Howard’s The Dark Tower adaptation. And who knows, it may be just a matter of time before the (inevitable?) announcement that King’s The Shining sequel novel, Doctor Sleep, is getting adapted for the big screen…
We’ll keep you posted on the status of the Pet Sematary remake as more information is made available.