A project nearly five years in the making, Unearthed and Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary, a comprehensive documentary about one of genre’s most beloved films, is finally here. I was beyond excited when I first heard about this doc, and immediately began tracking its progress so that I could get it in my hands as soon as it was available. Pet Sematary is a movie that has been very special to me for many years, and it is obviously very special to the two people responsible for Unearthed and Untold. Filmmakers Justin White and John Campopiano worked very hard to interview as many people involved with the film as they could, and visit the movie’s filming locations in Maine. The result is a 97-minute love letter to Pet Sematary that leaves no stone of the Micmac burial ground unturned as they delve into the creation of this iconic horror film.
The work that these guys put into this documentary is amazing. Even the biggest fans of the film will no doubt hear a story they’ve never heard before, or see a video or picture they’ve never seen before, that will only enhance their love and appreciation of Pet Sematary more. Visually, this in particular helps the documentary immensely. Unearthed and Untold is not just a long stream of talking heads. The doc is absolutely crammed with rare behind-the-scenes photos and videos from the set. They even include local newspaper clippings from the time of the filming, and also beautiful fan art that depict some of the film’s most iconic images. One thing I love is that there is no narration. The filmmakers let the interviews guide them through the doc, and it really feels like you are listening to one long, mesmerizing story about the making of this movie and what it means to the people telling the stories. The story flows very well from one subject to the next, and nothing ever feels rushed.
The most impressive part about Unearthed and Untold is the interviews. Of course we get to hear from director Mary Lambert, and main actors like Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Miko Hughes, and Brad Greenquist, but White and Campopiano went far beyond the obvious to provide the most comprehensive look at this movie. They talk to actors who had smaller parts in the movie–including the Orinco truck driver who runs over Gage Creed, the Budget clerk who provides Rachel Creed with the Aries K with the scratch on the side, and the kids who played the younger versions of Rachel and Jud Crandall. But the people who were perhaps even more interesting to see than the actors are the locals from Maine. It was very cool, for instance, to see the woman who created the real pet cemetery that helped inspire Stephen King to write the novel. All of the people interviewed have fascinating stories to tell about their part in the creation of the film, and I really could have listened to them share these memories all day.
For fans who really want to get that sense of being there on the set, White and Campopiano do an incredible job at showing us many of the filming locations. The lead greenskeeper, another Maine local, is interviewed next to one of the boulders that still remains in the location where they built the fake pet cemetery for the movie. We get to see what the granite steps leading up to the Micmac burial ground look like today, as well as the burial ground itself. They visit the house where we met the thing of nightmares, Zelda. Even seeing the steps that a bloodied Victor Pascow was dragged up gave me a little chill. This is the kind of thing that really passionate fans like myself want to see in a documentary like this, and I’m so glad that the filmmakers were just as passionate, that they were willing to go to these lengths to really give us the full picture that is the world of Pet Sematary.
The official release date for Unearthed and Untold is not until this October, and even then it will only be available in a digital format. However, since I have been following the making of this doc on their Facebook page, I was one of the fans lucky enough to purchase the special limited edition bundle (pictured above) which included a DVD/Blu-ray copy of the documentary, a poster, and a t-shirt. The Blu-ray looks gorgeous, and includes some nice special features. There is an interview with White and Campopiano about what drove them to make the documentary in the first place, a look a the doc’s concept art (I really wish they would have gone with the first piece shown in this feature), deleted scenes, and a location photo gallery. The fan sizzle reel is a short, but neat look at the film’s massive fan base, with video contributions made by fans from as far away as Argentina and Denmark.
So if you’re one of those Pet Sematary mega-fans, you absolutely cannot miss Unearthed and Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary. It is a beautiful documentary that really highlights all of the things that makes the film resonate with fans worldwide even 27 years later. Follow the documentary’s Facebook page to find out more.