'Pet Sematary' looks to rise again
After more than 20 years, "Fletch" may be on his way back to the big screen, with Warner Bros. announcing Tuesday that it had acquired movie rights to the series of Gregory McDonald's mysteries. It will go about re-imagining -- God bless -- the character of the wisecracking reporter that Chevy Chase made famous in two original films (though with no writers, directors or actors so far, don't discard that DVD from your collection just yet).
Now it appears there could be developments on reviving another 1980s hit. "Pet Sematary," the adaptation of the Stephen King novel that scared the shirt off many teens (including a certain film reporter) in 1989, is making strides back to the big screen too.
Matthew Greenberg, the writer of "1408" (also based on a King work), is set to turn in his script for a new version of the tale, according to a person briefed on the project who was not authorized to speak about it publicly. And executives at studio Paramount have put out the word to at least two representatives in the agent community that they are seeking a high-level director to tackle the material. (Paremount declined comment.)
The original, which starred Fred Gwynne, told of a zombie-raising pet cemetery that afflicts a family that's just moved to small-town Maine. Events unfold with a mix of death (both animal and human), resurrections and creepy Gothic spaces. (Mary Lambert's movie also spawned a poorly received sequel in 1992.)
As much as King seems to embody a kind of quintessentially 1980s form of horror storytelling, he's never really gone away in Hollywood. Indeed, there's something of a King renaissance going on now, with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's ambitious plan to turn "The Dark Tower" series into a feature-film and television franchise, an "It" reboot kicking around at Warner Bros and a big-screen version of the "The Stand" from CBS Films and Warner Bros. Stephen King properties never go away...they just come back from the dead.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: A scene from "Pet Sematary." Credit: Paramount Pictures