Blu-ray Review: Pet Sematary Two

How could they make a second Pet Semetary film when nearly everyone in the first one died, got buried in the Pet Sematary, came back to life and then were killed again? Well one major person survived and that was director Mary Lambert. Her low budget original production with a script from Stephen King not only opened as box office champ, but stayed there for three weekends in the Spring of 1989. The VHS sales to rental houses were also massive. So the question was not “How can they make a sequel to Pet Sematary?” The question was “When will they release a sequel to Pet Sematary?” The answer was late summer 1992 when Lambert went back to the sacred ground to dig up more scares with Pet Sematary Two.

The action opens on the set of a Hollywood studio with Renee Hallow ( To Live and Die in L.A.‘s Darlanne Fluegel) in a cemetery scene where a rotting hand rises up from a grave and grabs her. Except there’s prop issues. She jokes a bit with her son Jeff (Terminator 2‘s Edward Furlong). But the laughs turns to true horror when the next take ends with a massive fatality on the set. Jeff’s dad Chase (Top Gun‘s Anthony Edwards) wants them to get far away from Hollywood so he moves to Ludlow, Maine to establish his veterinary clinic. Being an outsider in a tight knit community, Jeff’s only immediate friend is Drew Gilbert (Jason McGuire). He’s also a bit of an outsider since his stepfather Gus (Highlander‘s Clancy Brown) is the town sheriff. He’s a hothead who often takes his anger out on Drew. Jeff finds out about the dark secret of Ludlow when Gus kills Drew’s dog. The kid isn’t ready to give up on Zowie. He asks Jeff to help him take the deceased pet up to the Miꞌkmaq burial ground. When Zowie returns home, Jeff gets big plans to bring someone else back into his life.

While Edward Furlong is the star of the film and Anthony Edwards is supposed to be the second, the movie is completely stolen by Clancy Brown. He’s more frightening than the returned Zowie. After he has a nasty encounter with the pet in their second fight, he gets even scarier. When Sheriff Gus hits his stride, this film allows him to tap into the madness of his Kurgan from The Highlander. He’s out to destroy and kill people with a drill, motorcycle wheels and a potato truck. Although he can’t get too chilling has he resurrects Fred Gwynne’s Maine accent from the original. Somehow in the midst of his fight with Edwards, I expect him to snear out, “Pepperidge Farms remembers.” But he does keep the film interesting to watch.

Pet Sematary Two gets delightfully out of control in the third act. It’s far from a rehash of the original since there’s all new people to bring back from the dead. The effects go above the original as we question if it’s better to stay dead. Cinematographer Russell Carpenter makes things pop on the screen. Soon after this film he’d hook up with James Cameron for True Lies and Titanic and Oscar glory. Carpenter pushes the look of the film beyond the usual sequel slam it out feel. The film does end with The Ramones’ “Poison Heart” which gives it a sense of the original as you’re walking out of the theater with the empty popcorn bucket. Director Mary Lambert made it journeying up to the graveyard one more time to revive the dead with Pet Sematary Two.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the expressions in Clancy Brown’s face as he returns from his visit to the Indian burial ground. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround and 2.0 Stereo. The sound levels are fine for the shocks and fears to pop up. The movie is subtitled in English.

Audio Commentary with director Mary Lambert lets her state that she’s really proud of the film. She’s happy the film is getting a bit of love thanks to the Scream Factory Blu-ray. She feels the dark humor threw off the folks at Paramount. She thought the sequel would be about Ellie Creed. But the studio didn’t want a teenage girl as the focus. They also didn’t do much with Stephen King because since he wanted the film to be stand alone.

Interview with actor Edward Furlong (13:32) has him discussing dealing with the whirlwind of going from a Pasadena theater group to Terminator 2 while still a kid. He was in Pet Sematary Two shortly after that. He loved the first Pet Sematary so he wanted to do it.

Interview with actor Clancy Brown (21:00) has him talk about his youth, getting involved in acting and finally getting roles in films. All that matters is at the end of the interview, Clancy does his Mr. Krabs voice from SpongeBob SquarePants. Yes, he’s really the voice in the cartoons.

Interview with actor Jason McGuire (24:23) catches up with the child actor who grew up in Georgia, where they made Pet Sematary Two. He would get a role in Forrest Gump.

Interview with Special Effects Artist Steve Johnson (15:51) lets him talk about his history of working on Stephen King projects. He’s won Emmys for his work on The Shining (TV miniseries) and The Stand. He talks about how he accepted this gig while also working on John Landis’ Innocent Blood and Alex Winter’s Freaked. He was pretty much living on an airplane as he flew between the three sets.

Interview with composer Mark Governor (29:32) lets him talk about being in bands as a teenager. He shares his time about making music for Roger Corman productions. Besides scores, he would write songs that would end up in movies. He started working with Mary Lambert on a short film project.

Theatrical Trailer (1:33) is the red band trailer! You will see the shockers. “Some stories just won’t stay dead” is the slogan.

Scream Factory presents Pet Sematary Two. Directed by: Mary Lambert. Screenplay by: Richard Outten. Starring: Edward Furlong, Anthony Edwards, Clancy Brown, Jared Rushton, Darlanne Fluegel. Rated: R. Running Time: 100 minutes. Released: February 25, 2020.

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