Guillermo Del Toro 'Would Have Killed To Adapt' Pet Sematary

I was a fan of the recent "Pet Sematary" reboot from "Starry Eyes" filmmakers Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, but I would gladly trade that film if it meant we could've had a "Pet Sematary" from Guillermo del Toro. The "Nightmare Alley" filmmaker expressed interest in adapting Stephen King's tale of terror in the past. And in a recent interview with The Kingcast (via Collider), hosted by /Film writer Eric Vespe and editor Scott Wampler, del Toro revealed he still dreams of making his own adaptation. 

It's doubtful that a del Toro "Pet Sematary" will happen anytime soon. The 2019 reboot is too recent, and there's a prequel on the way, headed straight to Paramount+. Still, if someone went ahead and gave del Toro the go-ahead to make his own "Pet Sematary," I sure wouldn't complain, and I doubt anyone else would, either. Published in 1983, Stephen King's "Pet Sematary" is notorious for being the book that scared even King himself – although that story is most likely apocryphal; something made-up to help sell the book. True or not, I personally think it's King's best, and scariest, book. And del Toro would be the perfect filmmaker to tackle that material. 

Bringing Pet Sematary to the Screen

In Stephen King's "Pet Sematary," the Creed family moves to the small town of Ludlow, Maine, hoping for a fresh start. The father, Dr. Louis Creed, is leaving long, grueling hospital hours behind to be the campus doctor at the University of Maine, Orono. But the Creed family dreams soon turn to nightmares. The family cat, Church, is run down in the road, and Louis' neighbor and friend, elderly Jud Crandall, tells Louis about an ancient Miꞌkmaq burial ground deep in the woods behind Louis' house. This burial ground has the power to resurrect anything buried there – animal or human. The problem is those who come back to life come back changed, and usually homicidal. Hate it when that happens.

As the story goes, when King finished the novel, he felt he had gone too far – the book is bleak, complete with an infant being run down by a truck only to return as a murderous, cannibalistic monster. King tucked the manuscript away. However, when his publisher contract required him to produce a new title, he dug up "Pet Sematary." The book was published in 1983, and eventually, legendary horror filmmaker George A. Romero came on board to direct a film adaptation with King writing the script. However, producers felt that there was no more demand for Stephen King movies – something that seems almost inconceivable these days. Romero eventually walked away. However, in 1988 there was a Writers Guild of America strike, and Paramount needed material. Since they had King's script sitting around they decided to use it, bringing in filmmaker Mary Lambert. Lambert's "Pet Sematary" movie opened in 1989 and became a huge hit. Critics were mixed, but fans of King embraced the title. Lambert even went on to direct a sequel. 

In the years since the 1989 film, there was talk of a new "Pet Sematary" film, and one of the possible directors mentioned for a reboot was Guillermo del Toro. The del Toro film never came together, though. In 2019, a new "Pet Sematary" arrived from filmmakers Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. It, too, did well at the box office, and now Paramount is making a prequel film due to debut on Paramount+. But what of that del Toro adaptation?

Guillermo del Toro's Pet Sematary

Guillermo del Toro is a busy guy. In addition to his seemingly countless producing projects, his latest directorial effort, "Nightmare Alley," hits theaters this month. But he's still holding onto those "Pet Sematary" dreams. Speaking with the Kingcast, the filmmaker said: 

You know the novel that I would have killed to adapt, and I know there's two versions of it, and I still think maybe in a deranged universe I get to do it again one day is Pet Sematary. Because it not only has the very best final couple of lines, but it scared me when I was a young man. As a father, I now understand it better than I ever would have, and it scares me. A hundred times more.

Again: I don't think this will happen any time soon. But it should! Let Guillermo del Toro make his "Pet Sematary," because I guarantee it would be scary. In the meantime, look for "Nightmare Alley" when it arrives on December 17, 2021.