DID YOU READ

Five incredibly creepy “Pet Sematary” scenes

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They really just don’t make them like Mary Lambert’s 1989 Stephen King adaptation “Pet Sematary” anymore. From the extended use of flashbacks, the dreamy (sometimes bordering on soft-focus) look of the film, to the overwrought dialogue and scenarios, the film is a product of its time. It’s also really quite awesome – sometimes in a that’s-so-silly-I-love-it way, but more often in a holy-hell-that-still-scares-the-pants-off-me way. This Tuesday marked long-awaited Blu-ray release of “Pet Sematary” and the results are great. It’s easily the best the film has ever looked and a nice little assortment of bonus material makes the disc a must-buy for any horror fan.

What’s even better is the fact that the Blu-ray release gives us a chance to run down some of the creepiest scenes in the entire film. Sure, there are plenty of dated elements and silly, over-the-top moments in the film (we’re looking at you, Ellie Creed), but “Pet Sematary” actually holds up quite well, especially in its ability to frighten.


The Day Timmy Baterman Came Back

The first time that Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) asked Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) if anyone had ever buried a person in the Micmac Indian burial ground above the Pet Sematary, Jud scoffed and looked at him as if he were crazy. Well, turns out he was lying a little bit. Many years prior Bill Baterman had buried someone up there (his own son Timmy who had died in service during WWII). The results were, well, horrifying. Timmy came back from the grave like a zombie out of one of Romero’s classic films. Next thing you know he’s walking around digging up bones to chew on, tearing his own face off, and scaring the neighbors. Timmy wasn’t quite himself, so they had to burn him alive, but not before learning their lesson that “Sometimes dead is better.” The scenes with Timmy Baterman are some of the coolest (and creepiest) in all of “Pet Sematary.”


The Achilles Cut / Jud Crandall’s Death

The death of Jud Crandall at the hands of little zombie Gage Creed is enough to turn your stomach, but it’s the manner in which old Jud bites the bullet that really makes this one of (if not the most) memorable scenes in the entire film. While searching through his house for the recently undead Gage, Jud kneels down next to his bed to look under it. The next thing he knows, Church the cat is in the room staring at him with his big green eyes and hissing just long enough to distract the old man while little Gage slips a hand out from under the bed and slices Jud’s Achilles tendon! If you’ve ever seen the film and you try to tell me that this moment didn’t make you physically gasp the first time you saw it, you’re probably lying. It’s an act that you can literally feel as a viewer and one that has kept me checking under just about every bed I stand next to for the past two decades.


Sleepwalking with Pascow

The first truly creepy moment of “Pet Sematary” comes courtesy of the runner with the massive brain injury, Victor Pascow. Treated for his injuries by Louis (and ultimately dying on the table under his care), Pascow grabs the doc and promises to come to him with a message of warning. Little did we know the grotesque ghost meant that very night. In a very unnerving scene, we see what appears to be a dream sequence where Louis follows Pascow into the woods and through the gates of the Pet Sematary. It’s not just a leisurely walk though. No, no. Pascow is there to warn Louis to never go beyond the place. “The ground is sour!” he warns Creed. And sour it sure is. The creepiest part of this scene, however, comes when we get back to the Creed house and Louis wakes up to find his feet covered in dirt and mud. Woah! So it wasn’t a dream all along. Creeptastic!


The Kiss

If you’re not completely grossed out by the film’s final moments, then you’re a better man than I. It’s not so much the kiss shared by Louis and Rachel that gets me. No, it’s the disgusting ooze of puss that falls out of Rachel’s eye socket seconds before Louis starts swapping spit with her. And he doesn’t just go in for a quick peck; he dives into that kiss tongue a-blazin’. Sure, I get it. Louis is completely off his rocker by this point in the film so a little shared bloody ooze is nothing after knocking off his own son and burying his dead wife in an Indian burial ground. And, yes, I know a little zombie lovin’ never hurt anybody, but there has to be a line, right? Well, Louis Creed not only crossed it in this uber-creepy scene but he also paid the ultimate price for it. Oh, Louis… you should have learned the first time!


Zelda

I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say that I don’t think there’s anything creepier in the history of cinema than Rachel’s sister Zelda in “Pet Sematary.” More than anything else in the film, Zelda scared me senseless as a kid. It wasn’t so much her illness, her deformity, or the fact that Mary Lambert hired a male actor (Andrew Hubatsek) to play the part. It’s just the general creepy-crawly-ness of Zelda that sticks in your brain. That first flashback scene where Rachel is feeding Zelda and then she spins her entire head around, choking herself to death is really frightening, but it’s the later dream sequence that really empties my bladder. Zelda standing hunched over in a corner suddenly springs to life and runs toward the camera (and us) with the creepiest smile on her face that you’ve ever seen. I’ve got the chills just writing about it. You can have your Dracula, Wolfman, and Frankenstein; Zelda is, in my mind, the scariest monster in horror history. “Even now, I wake up and I think, is Zelda dead yet?” says Rachel at one point in the film. You and me both, sister. You and me both.


“Pet Sematary” is available on Blu-ray now.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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