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Headscratchers / Pet Sematary

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  • If you live that close to a road that gets so much truck traffic, and you have small kids, wouldn't it behoove you to build a fence around your front yard?
    • One might think, but then there wouldn't have been a story. They should call this the Hamlet Gambit or something...Perhaps it was just one of many house/yard chores Louis didn't get around to, with his busy schedule of raising the dead.
    • Even if there were a fence, it probably wouldn't do much good - cats climb fences (or slip through the bars), and the gate could easily be open on any given day.
    • My first thought while reading this was the same. Why isn't there a fence? It seems logical to build one. At the same time, my mind is not currently being altered by a Genius Loci or Wendigo.
      • Nailed it. The burial ground has an influence over people, so if it doesn't want a fence, no one will build it.
      • Seeing as the Wendigo exercises influence over a wide area, and has motivated truck drivers to speed up on that particular stretch of road, if a fence was indeed built the Wendigo could just cause a trucker to take it right out. Along with taking it out again and again if it was rebuilt. It could've already been attempted by previous owners for all we know.

  • If you have to bury your own, then how was the bully revived if no other family members were present?
    • Because Gus clearly belonged to... whatever it is that dwelled in the Cemetery.
    • It could just be a saying, and not an actual "rule".
    • It's probably more an analogue, regardless what the connection is (owner to pet, parent to child, spouse to spouse, friend to friend, etc) the resurrected will return to present themselves to the one who buried them. Barring exceptions beyond their control such as Gage coming back while Louis was asleep, he went to him first, or in the film flashback Judd's dog went to the house for Judd but ran into his mother first who happened to be in the way.

  • So what happened to Ellie?
    • She grew up and died.
      • It's indicated in the book that she was well on her way to going completely insane.
    • It's fair to assume she stayed with Rachel's parents (where she was when Rachel returned to Ludlow) and grew up in Chicago. Her mental health was probably not great as an adult, but the character seemed old enough to comprehend death and deal with it.
      • It would be interesting to have a sequel a la Doctor Sleep to see what happened to Ellie and if the burying ground could ever be cleansed/destroyed. Though as this is the only book that King won't talk about (I swear I read that once but I can't remember where, sorry), I doubt it will ever happen. It's a shame though as this is my favorite out of all his works.
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    • Three words: Nothing Is Scarier
    • Stephen King actually tweeted about this: she's alive and was raised by adoptive parents, but still has nightmares.

  • Why does Rachel's father hate Louis? What was it about him that made undesirable to marry his daughter?
    • She was working to support Louis while he was in medical school (something many spouses of medical/law students do). Irwin didn't like that one bit and saw it as "turning her into a scullery maid."
    • Louis not being Jewish might have been part of it as well.
    • Also, Louis believes that the fact they were rich and he wasn't helped.
    • Louis married his daughter, so movie law dictates that Rachel's dad hates every cell in his body

  • It seems to be implied that the mission, so to say, of a revived corpse is to kill those close to the one who revived them, torture the reviver through this, then kill them. What happens to the corpse-thing after it finishes this cycle? What does it do?
    • The Stephen King wiki states: "Once reanimated from death, the "resurrected" corpses showed more aggression than usual and would frequently attack strangers. They lived for roughly 10 years and then died again."
    • It appears the thing has to be "put down" after it's revived, as all the examples in the story are: Billy in the fire, Jud's dog, Gage and the cat with Lewis' syringes. It's not addressed what happens if it's not.
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    • I assume that those brought back are Chaotic Evil and have no long-term goals and will just keep finding people and things to torture and kill until they themselves are destroyed.
    • Few revived animals or people were even violent (a bull that "went bad" is mentioned as something of an exception). Even Billy was more unnerving than dangerous. Louis just drew the short stick. If it counts, the sheriff in Pet Semetary Two had some agenda involving making those near him like him, although he dies before its ever revealed. There are evidently multiple spirits, some more malicious than others.
    • I don't believe they are supposed to succeed, in my opinion the cemetery just wants to go on playing with other's lives: their real mission is just to spread the story so others, in the future, will keep coming and burying pets and people there. Gage was dead for four days and had a funeral, he wouldn't have lasted long anyway, so he was sent to kill Jud (so that he couldn't stop Louis from raising someone again) and Rachel (it's implied that it became powerful enough to influence events so that she came back at the right time to be alone with Gage): since only Louis knew Rachel was killed, she will be around for a lot more, ruining lives, and Louis will be there to show someone else were to bury their dead pets...

  • How exactly did Victor Pascow know about Louis and the burial ground? It's mentioned offhand that "their souls intertwined'' when he died or something, but I'd prefer to hear a more detailed explanation.
    • Their souls intertwined, which might mean that Victor's spirit had access to everything Louis knew, which would obviously include the burial ground. It could also be that Victor Pascow was specifically commanded by somebody or something (God, angels, what have you) that opposes whatever gave the titular Pet Semetary its mojo to watch over Louis and to try and convince him not to do what he was thinking of doing. Maybe that was something he needed to do before he could pass on.
    • Wild Mass Guess: Victor Pascow had The Shining; more specifically he was a steamhead whose abilities were precognition and being a spirit medium.

  • Was the Indian Burial Ground Demon speaking through Gage at the end telling the truth about Norma Crandall (that she cheated on Jud with some of his friends, let them put it up her ass, down in hell etc)? Going by what happened before when a person was resurrected, when everything he said to them was true, it is, but I cannot imagine sweet old Norma Crandall being so slutty and cruel?
    • Probably not. I'm sure telling the truth is a low priority when torturing someone with taunts, although Norma's the only one who really knows and she can't say.
    • It's hard to imagine a nice old guy like Jud Crandall cheating on his wife with prostitutes, but he admits it to Louis.
    • It may be that the demon can lie or tell the truth depending one which it thinks will hurt/scare the person it is speaking to the most, and doing one then the other has got to be a good way of messing with someone's head.
    • Since Gage boasts about how he tricked him (although it might just be referencing to the cat used as a diversion) I believe he was lying.
    • Probably the demon was just playing mind games with him. Jud's no doubt very guilty about cheating on his wife and has idealised her to some degree, so an undead supernatural being claiming that she allowed his friends to sodomise her and is now burning in eternal damnation has to be rather upsetting to hear. We probably shouldn't trust that the supernatural entity living in a graveyard that resurrects anything buried in it as an evil undead zombie is rigorously honest.

  • Why exactly did Rachel come home so badly decomposed near the end of the movie version? Church and Gage had been run over by trucks and returned more or less physically intact, while Rachel was "only" stabbed (presumably in the eye) and hanged. Plus they stayed dead far longer than her before being buried in the cemetery.
    • For the film it's probably Rule of Scary, in the book undead!Rachel's appearance isn't described.
    • Rachel isn't decomposed: Gage ate one eye and part of the flesh on her face. (In the book it says "something had been at her", right after it's mentioned that the burial ground awakens "unnatural appetites"). Aside from that, she's just muddy and disheveled, with a few cuts and scrapes. (Gage, on the other hand, does inexplicably look a lot less battered in the movie than he does in the book.)

  • Did they ever explain how Pascow knew Louis's name? I get him knowing about the Pet Sematary, being a ghost and having access to spirit world knowledge and so forth, but this happened before he died.
    • It could have been the school sent out a message about the new medical director. Or perhaps more likely, since he was so close to death, he was close enough to death that he his soul was already leaving and he could be possessed by an entity working in opposition to the Wendigo that knew Louis’s name. Given the state he was in, maybe it was that entity animating his body and his soul had already left by the time he started talking.

  • If the revived are essentially walking corpses (the Wendigo does not restore already dead tissues) then presumably they have no blood circulation (this is stated in the sequel), how the hell can they be "killed" again with morphine injections?! There's no circulation. And even if there was, how does injecting something that's already dead with an overdose of pain medication kill them again? Shouldn't it do nothing regardless?
    • They are physically truly alive, at least in the book. The Wendigo restores physical life, but either doesn't restore the soul, or corrupts the soul so much it might just as well have not restored it. The movies, especially the second movie, are a different story entirely.
    • They shouldn't be able to walk around and kill people without blood circulation either, and yet. Presumably something to do with the resurrection process they undergo is acting as 'circulation' for the purposes of powering them, and that something reacts poorly to injections of morphine. In other words, both Rule of They're Zombies, Jack and Rule of Well Something Has To Be Able To Kill Them Otherwise There's No Tension.

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