Updates on the ‘Pet Sematary’ and ‘It’ Remakes

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 11th, 2014 at 5:52 am,

pet sematary it header Updates on the Pet Sematary and It Remakes

It turns out tackling two Stephen King adaptations can be as harrowing an experience as the nightmares faced by the characters in one of his novels. Screenwriter David Kajganich recently chatted with King fansite Lilja’s Library about his work on the Pet Sematary remake and the upcoming big-screen version of It.

Kajganich revealed his approach to Pet Sematary and his enthusiasm for the source material:

“I should say up front that Pet Sematary is my favorite King novel and adapting it was one of the best screenwriting experiences I’ve had, creatively speaking. In its modern way, I think it is easily the equal of anything in the literary canon by Hawthorne or Poe, so I approached the book as a piece of literature as opposed to a horror concept to be pillaged. It was a pure pleasure.”

However, an unfortunate turn of events derailed his plans:

“After I turned in my first draft, Paramount went through a top-down regime change and I was given a new executive who had creative ideas I just couldn’t stand behind. They wanted to appeal to younger audiences, so there was talk of making a teenaged Ellie the main character, and etc. It was really heartbreaking, but that’s how the process works sometimes. The studio was gracious enough to let me out of my contract and the project was dormant at the studio until very recently.”

Matthew Greenburg was later brought on board to write a new script after his work on another King adaptation, 1408. While Kajganich confirms that the Pet Sematary remake is still moving forward, he’s unclear what direction they’ve decided to take with it.

Luckily, he seems to be having a better experience with It. Apparently the big screen version of the mammoth-sized novel will bear little resemblance to the early 90s TV miniseries:

“I think the Pennywise in this adaptation is a less self-conscious of his own irony and surreality than was Tim Curry’s Pennywise. I think it will be harder to laugh at his antics since, under the permissiveness of an R rating, I was able to give him back a lot of his more upsetting moments from the novel, ones that could never be aired on network television.”

it pennywise Updates on the Pet Sematary and It Remakes

He also reveals the challenges of condensing such an expansive narrative:

I think the biggest difference is that we’re working with about two-thirds the onscreen time they had for the miniseries. That sounds dire, I know, but it doesn’t necessarily mean two-thirds the amount of story. I’m finding as many ways as I can to make certain scenes redundant by deepening and doubling others. To me, this is an interesting process because it has the effect of thematically intensifying the whole, but it can lead to dramatic surprises. Certain scenes I thought would be crucial to the coherence of the whole ended up cut, while other scenes, which were somewhat cursory in the book, ended up being pivotal in the script.”

While I’m generally opposed to remakes, Pet Sematary and It are two properties I don’t think they necessarily nailed the first time out. I’m particularly excited about the prospect of an R-rated version of It. Even though Tim Curry’s performance inspired many a nightmare when I was a kid, anyone that’s read the book knows that it’s infinitely more horrifying and disturbing than what was depicted in the miniseries. It does seem like an awful lot of ground to cover in just two hours, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they manage to deliver a solid adaptation.

How do you feel about the Pet Sematary remake and the feature film version of It? Were you satisfied with the previous adaptations or are you excited for a new take on the material?

Source: Lilja’s Library.

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  1. I honestly think if they are really going to do an “It” remake, they still need Tim Curry. That man playing “Pennywise”s role scared the holy hell out of me, even to this day….(still HATE clowns because of him)….But I just don’t know if they can really find anyone to play that part, & to add in all the extras from the novel they didn’t put in the mini-series….Tim Curry’s exceptional acting in it(“It”), just in my opinion, cannot be replaced, or be outdone….unless, they take the time, think through EVERY option, or get him to reprise his role/character.

    • I could not agree with you more. BRING TIM CURRY BACK!!

    • I agree with you. Curry’s performance is going to be damn hard to beat. I think they should try and use him again. I think he could still do it!

  2. I believe tha instead of making IT into just one movie why not make the movie into at least two parts so you can really nail all the graphic sceneshat will make the movie worthwatching again and again. IT was the first horror movie I ever watched and I would love to see it remade and to it done justice.

    • I agree at least if they do two movies they will be able to fit all the detail needed from the book to make it an even more horrifying and excellent movie.

  3. I think HBO should do another miniseries of IT. I think that if they did that they could get WAY more details from the book and still have an R rating

  4. I think HBO should do another miniseries of IT. I think that if they did that they could get WAY more details from the book and still have an R rating.

  5. Disappointing about Pet Sematary. The original movie failed to capture capture most of what made the book terrifying.No mention of the Wendigo, or what was seen on the walk through Little God Swamp. They tried to make up for this, i guess, by making Church immediately hostile in the movie, instead of just acting shell-shocked and ‘wrong’ for a cat: a concept that is by far more psychologically disturbing! C’mon Paramount! A good horror movie is NOT meant to be viewed by children! I would LOVE to see Pet Sematary brought to life on screen and leave shaken, not shaking my head!

    • I couldn’t agree more. Pet Sematary should be treated with more respect than to be portrayed as another, straight to DVD, $2 Walmart bin disappointment. It’s my favorite novel by King, and I would argue, his greatest. It is a shame how Hollywood insists on mucking up literature just for a quick buck. I remember being afraid to turn the next page while reading about the Wendigo for the first time. I’ve always hoped the movie redo would somehow attempt to capture this, if only a little. Teenagers read King, and they like the novel as is. Readers of any age shouldn’t be unsulted with lousy filmmaking after reading such fantastic fiction.

  6. Interesting read although Im intrigued to know how a screenwriter can spell cemetery with an “S”. Just an observation.

    • btw that was just in-joke (ie the children in the plot being responsible for erecting the “sematary” lol

    • Because that was how King titled the original book? or did the writer change some misspelling after publishing?

    • You really dont know? Because thats how the children spelled it in the book.

    • It was misspelled on purpose because in the novel the Cemetery was built by children and they obviously didn’t know the correct spelling.

  7. a great mirical of a movie

  8. I agree with Darlene,

    For the most part the original film for pet sematary did not go into the whole true nature of what exactly was taking over the people’s dead bodies. To top that off in the book Judd tells Louis about the guy whos remains get sent back from war, the father not being able to deal with this decides to bring back the boy by burying him in the old burial ground. In the film we see this guy in a glimps walking down the block like a zombie, however in the book the “guy” is an intelligent life force ( much more than your run of the mill zombie) and proceeds to tell a group of men including Judd , things that no one else would know …there deepest darkest secrets and this monster knows them all…that is fighting ! And in the film this all gets lost! I agree that the film was good in its own right if you happned to see the film first and read the book second which is what happned to me …however seeing the original film I had no idea it was the windigo untill I read the book….I just assumed they where zombies!

    • I read the book first when I was small scared the sh** out of me even hid the book away at times. I know what your saying about the dead army kid the same thing happens at the end with Gage. When Gage comes back and starts talking to Judd about his wife and stuff and to see a kid as small as Gage was saying such things in a film would be absolutely frightening if done correctly. Same thing goes for the It but I always thought that book was in desperate need of some heavy editing.

    • I agree with you regarding the loss of the TRUE nature of the grounds and what inhabited the corpses, that is was not your “run of the mill” zombie. Considering the rumor that they are trying to gear it towards teenagers (eye roll) it will likely and sadly be more Night of the living Dead meets Rob zombie, rather than true to Stephen King’s vision. I’m almost positive the remake will be crap. Stupid executives should leave the creativity to creative people and stick to accounting!!

  9. I hope Patrick Hocksetter is in the film. I’m dying to see what the puppy in his fridge of horror looks like from a different view other than mine. And the more creepier moments of him and Henry Bowers. Dead Belch driving the car. Ahh so much. The leper. Eddie on the baseball field. Its too much! I hope Im not disappointed.

  10. I really hope the new version of “It” stays as close to the book as possible. The miniseries didn’t really follow the book as closely as it should have and that is one major criticism that I have about it. I also don’t really find it as scary as the book aside from Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise.

  11. If they can get this right and make it as scary as the book I’m down.. unfortunately, its hit or miss with remakes these days.

  12. I think that they are going to ruin both movies. It says uptop that those two movies never “nailed” it, but they were to great fantastic movies. At least in my opinion. As a young child that was hitting pre-teen years I discovered pet semetery and that was my all time favorite horror movie! Well actually it was the second one, but I equally love them. They were movies in their prime! I also agree with other Tim Curry was the best Pennywise ever! Tim Curry is a ledgend and a great actor taken for granted. Movies made when these were to me had depth, I use to watch them with my parents and love them to this day. I like new movies, especially ’cause I like to learn new thing and love new storys…but I love old movies, especially horror. It wasn’t all about blood and guts! Everyone just wants gore these days since we’ve seen about anything, because of how crazy the world is these days. No mystery anymore, blah….Remaking them will be horrible! They better do justic AND ASK the original actors their opinions.

    • Commendable. But i just think it would also promote the first two pet cemetarys. Plus todays writers may spice it up. Amityville remake was great
      As well

  13. I hope that they do the scene where Beverly has intercourse with all the boys and a better scene of the little boy and It’s confrontation, just saying,,,

  14. Pet semetary is a more chilling horror story. Keep it dark and jumpy. Itl be great!!!

  15. I am on my third time reading It and for years I have wished for a remake of the movie , seeing as so much was left out the first time around. The book is 100 times more terrifying than it was portrayed on film initially. The history of It and the history of Derry, Maine should be explored and delivered in the remake. It has so many layers, so many dimensions that land together on a level above and beyond the many books I have read in my lifetime. I seriously cannot wait to see what is in store for us It lovers!!

  16. I always found in “IT” that some of the more unsettling parts were not so much the Pennywise parts, but those like, The fire at The Black Spot, The child who was beaten by his father’s recoiless hammer showing up for his brother, The leper, the house on Niebolt St. , Seeing Hockstetter and Huggins’ bodies years later…sometimes blatantly obvious scares are not as scary as those that are more mental and emotional. Here’s to the “IT” remake, making us believe in horror movies again…

  17. No, no, no, no,no. You’ve got it alllllll wrong. If tim curry did return, he would have to be a different pennywise, a more grim pennywise. Paul Giamatti would be a good pennywise.

  18. They should make pet sematary a lot more like the book. It would be awesome if they had Stephen ki.g play the priest again and have dale midkiff have a roll. Maybe he could be Steve from the book I just hope they don’t ruin it. If they stik by the book it would come out awesome. The book is too good to be changed.

  19. it will only work if rick from the walking dead. plays the dad in the remake of pet cemetary.

  20. I hope that the remake least gets the story right i mean the miniseries didnt even have the ritual of chud the miniseries was ok but as a SK fan it could be alot better

  21. In my opinion i feel it’ll be better to make it into two movies too but one with the losers when they were kids and the second when they’re grown up tbh i really liked the parts where they were kids a bit better then when they’re adults but thats just imo