From the Stereo to Your Screen: The Ramones and Pet Sematary

 

“Pet Sematary” by the Ramones from Pet Sematary

It’s only taken half a dozen videos and a couple of months, but here we are finally marrying punk rock and movies in this column. Granted, late ‘80s Ramones is probably about as punk as a Clash t-shirt you bought at Urban Outfitters, but we do what we can.

“Pet Sematary” was written for the movie adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name — which I didn’t even know until I started watching the video for this column. It’s weird to think that the Ramones — punk rock progenitors — made a proper music video. There are plenty of live clips and things out there, but this is just about the only Ramones music video that’s not made up of a bunch of previously-shot footage.

It actually makes sense that it’s for a horror movie. The Ramones were part of the generation raised on creature features and shock cinema late shows on television, and the whole rock ‘n’ roller aesthetic of Stephen King really ties in with what the band did, especially in terms of lifting a bunch of stuff from the ‘50 and ‘60s and making it tough again.

If you’ve either seen Pet Sematary the movie or read the book, the lyrics actually make sense, in terms of tying in with the actual plot. “I don’t wanna be buried/ In a pet sematary/ I don’t wanna live this life again” obviously refers to the major plot point: if you bury something past the pet sematary boundaries, it will come back to life … kind of.

I really don’t understand the fact that so many hardcore Ramones fans evidently hate this song. It’s not bad. The lyrics are kind of dopey, but that’s what the Ramones did. The music’s pretty chill, but “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” is, too, and the opening measures of this song are just about as infectious. Given that the album “Pet Sematary” ended up on, Brain Drain, also has “I Believe In Miracles” and “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight),” I’m gonna say that it’s the last gasp of the band before the Ramones turned into a nostalgia act.

pet sematary ramones

The video, however, is … lame. It’s fucking lame. It’s a mostly static shot of the band standing around in a cemetery while weird people wander in and out, dressed like rejects from a steampunk convention. It’s absolutely boring as hell, and I kind of resent the fact that i decided to watch this. Frankly, I’m not sure as to whether or not the reason I didn’t remember this was because I’d never seen it, or if it just wasn’t that memorable.

Because, really, it’s not that memorable. Hell, even the clips from the film Pet Sematary are so short, it doesn’t even pull in any sort of nostalgia for a pretty good horror flick. It’s the perfect combination of things — the Ramones writing a song for a horror movie based on a Stephen King novel — and the video just wastes anything it could’ve had going for it. The only positive thing going on is that the clips from the film, even as short as they are, are edited in pretty well. Whomever cut this did a solid job of making the clips relate to the lyrics, and it manages to be somewhat clever, saving this from being a wasted viewing.

Funnily enough, the song lost in the Razzie Awards for “Worst Original Song” to Bruce Dickinson’s “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter” from A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child. There is, sadly, no NOES-related video for the song, but the Iron Maiden re-recorded version does feature clips from the British horror film City of the Dead, so that’s something.

 

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek
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