The makers of the new Pet Sematary had a choice between three endings: dark, darker, and darkest.
“We chose darkest,” says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
There was a little bit of experimentation with the finale, with directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer seeking to deliver a twist on Stephen King’s original, while still maintaining some fidelity to his grim closing scene.
When King himself watched the work-in-progress, the author offered up a new ending of his own.
Let’s talk about it below the break, to protect those trying to avoid spoilers.
“Producers and filmmakers always get really nervous when it gets down to the ending of the movie, because they understand, and I understand, that how people go out is going to affect what the word of mouth is,” King tells EW.
When King watched the early cut on a digital screener, the filmmakers were in the midst of reshoots, so he offered up his own new finale.
EW won’t detail the actual ending, but at a certain point in the final reel, toddler Gage ends up locked inside a car while his mother and father contend with his bloodthirsty resurrected sister Ellie.
That’s where King stepped in with his new conclusion. Once the dust has settled, the car door opens.
“I talked about an ending where Gage is walking up the middle of the road. We see dawn, and we hear a truck coming, and think, ‘Oh my God, he’s gonna get greased in the road. That’s how this is gonna end!’”
As readers of his 1983 novel know, that’s actually what happens to poor Gage in the middle of the story.
“Then at the last second, this woman pulls him out of the road and rescues him, and says, ‘Where’s your mommy and daddy?'”
Of course, finding his mother and father will lead her somewhere she definitely doesn’t want to be.
“And that’s how you end the thing,” King says. “But … that isn’t what they show.”
Given how disturbed King is by his own book, even four decades later, this would be a way for him to make amends to an innocent little character who suffered one of the cruelest fates in all his stories.
Surprisingly, his proposed ending for the film is — kind up upbeat.
“I’m a sucker for a happy ending,” King, um… jokes?