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Updated: Jun 4, 2023

Pet Sematary (sometimes referred to as Stephen King's Pet Sematary) is a 1989 American supernatural horror film and the first adaptation of Stephen King's 1983 novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King, it stars Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Blaze Berdahl, Fred Gwynne, and Miko Hughes as Gage Creed. The title is a sensational spelling of "pet cemetery".

The film was released on April 21, 1989, and grossed $57.5 million at the box office on a budget of $11.5 million. A sequel, Pet Sematary Two, was released in 1992 and a second film adaptation was released in 2019.

The film rights were sold to George A. Romero in 1984 for $10,000. King had previously declined several other offers for a film adaptation. Romero eventually had to pull out of the production, as he was busy with Monkey Shines. Development executive Lindsay Doran loved the finished script and advocated for it to be made at Embassy Pictures and then at Paramount Pictures, after she became vice president of production there in 1985.

As stipulated by King when selling the rights, Pet Sematary was shot in Maine where the story was set and King himself wrote the screenplay. Production was based out of Ellsworth and auditions held at The Grand theater, where several hundred locals auditioned to be extras or for small spoken roles. King himself was very involved in the filming process, consulting with Lambert frequently on her ideas for the story and any deviations from the script she wished to make.




The house used for the Creeds' home is a private residence near Hancock. The interior shots of the house were recreated on a soundstage in Ellsworth. The production team originally wanted a house with a tree outside, but after unsuccessfully finding one they had a tree dug up from elsewhere and moved here. That tree is the one that Ellie can be seen swinging on. Apparently the owners of the house liked the tree so much they kept it there until it died some years later, in which they then had it removed. The path that started at the yards edge leading to the Pet Sematary, was constructed for the film. It stopped at the bottom of the hill, right where the woods start.




Just off the High St. and hidden behind an Elks lodge are some woods, and it is definitely not a spot you would think would be used for such a film set. You can still make out some of the boulders and tree stumps that were seen in the movie, but if it were not for these being there you really would not recognize the place as being the location. Obviously a lot of set design dressed the place up even more to make it into the legendary Pet Sematary.




It took us a while to locate the parts of the cemetery where the shots were done for the movie, but after much searching we finally struck gold. The cemetery was used for Missy's funeral as well as when Louis returns to dig up Gage.

The cemetery was built in 1834, the same year that Bangor was incorporated as a city. Designed by architect Charles G. Bryant, it's the second oldest garden cemetery in the United States. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 4th, 1974.

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