Labels such as Scream Factory continue to provide fans with restored nostalgia and it can be fun to revisit or question one’s taste from thirty years ago. I was a child who loved the critically hated sequels that focused more on gore gags than any resemblance of a story. PET SEMATARY TWO was one of those movies for me. Though the original scared the shit out of me as a kid, I had so much more fun with its sequel. Plus, Edward Furlong represented us, troubled kids, when no one else did. Even now, I can’t think of another actor like him. Now, we have a high definition presentation finally and it’s well worth the wait.
For the unlucky newcomers, PET SEMATARY TWO follows teenager Jeff (Furlong) as he moves to the town of Ludlow with his father after witnessing his actress mother die after a special effect goes wrong. He’s welcomed by a mixed bag of characters, including the friendly Drew (Jason McGuire), bully Clyde (Jared Rushton), and Drew’s awful excuse of a stepfather, Gus (Clancy Brown) who also happens to be the town sheriff. After Gus shoots Drew’s dog, Jeff is introduced to the Pet Sematary and the boys learn the stories about the Indian burial ground bringing the dead back to life are true.
While the original Pet Sematary deals with the ramifications of tragedy and loss, PET SEMATARY TWO is filled with anger. Jeff has resentment towards his father and the death of his mother. Drew is constantly made fun of for his weight and has to deal with toxic masculinity from Gus. Clyde is just looking to cause pain no matter the extent. The darkness in everyone’s anger results in way more graphic violence this time around as well as cruel ways to kill off characters and animals.
The Scream Factory release is the first time I’ve watched the movie in years and I felt so old thinking to myself “I can’t believe I used to watch this stuff on repeat.” That’s not to say it was a bad movie as I still greatly enjoyed it. It was more that I didn’t recall it being so graphic and there are some really great special effects that make this such a gem. It’s high energy throughout even if it can be silly at times, but I was never bored revisiting. Furlong’s performance holds strong as it does as John Connor in Terminator 2 and we are blessed with a rather unique interview with him in the new features.
Furlong gives us a rather brief summary that includes small tidbits of the casting process during the beginning of his career. A more intimate interview is given by McGuire who doesn’t shy away from sharing the difficulties of trying to make it as an actor after PET SEMATARY TWO. What’s engaging about his story is it’s clear how much fun he had on set and recalled the get-togethers the actors had as well as certain intense sequences that were shot. Clancy Brown also gives a lengthy interview about making PET SEMATARY TWO as well as an overview of his career. Some of the younger fans will get a kick out of him exploring his connection to Spongebob SquarePants. Director Mary Lambert and moderator Justin Beahm record a new full-length commentary which allows Lambert to explain why this direction was taken for the sequel especially since she is also responsible for the original. For those into the effects aspect of PET SEMATARY TWO, Steve Johnson has his own fifteen-minute interview about making this film and another half-hour interview is given to composer Mark Governor. And yes, PET SEMATARY TWO needs a vinyl release if it doesn’t have one yet.