Stephen King figured that his 1983 novel Pet Cemetery (shown at right) was too scary to publish. On the eve of the debut of the second film based on the book, the author tells EW why.

In an interview published today, King tells of going deeply into the book again recently. “I was curious about it. You know, I hadn’t been near it in 20, 25 years. So I listened to it, and thought, “My God, this is just awful. It’s just as dark as can be.”

From King’s interview with Anthony Breznican:

I just had the greatest time writing the book until I was done with it. And I read it over, and I said to myself, “This is awful. This is really f—ing terrible.” Not that it was badly written, necessarily. But all that stuff about the death of kids. It was close to me, because of my kids.

What else in the book came from your own life? There was a real misspelled ‘pet sematary’ in the woods, right?
We moved to this little town called Orrington, because I got a job as writer in residence at the University of Maine. We rented this nice house on the river, and a pet cemetery was in back of it. There was a path that went up there that kids kept mowed. They didn’t wear any of those funny masks — you know, with the hooked noses and stuff. [Laughs] But it was there, and it was really a nice place.

The story is your son Owen [now the author of Double Featurethis link opens in a new tab, Intro to Alien Invasionthis link opens in a new tab, and Sleeping Beauties, the latter co-written with his father] gave you a scare by wandering too close to the busy road. And your family actually lost one of your pets on that road, right?
My daughter’s cat died. And we buried it in the pet cemetery. That was Smucky. She made a little cross that said “Smucky — he was obedient.” And I mean, he was a cat. [Laughs] He wasn’t f—ing obedient! But she loved that cat.

The full interview is here.

The latest iteration of Pet Cemetery to come to screen stars Jason Clarke, John Lithgow and Amy Seimetz. It opened in North America on March 16th and will open almost everywhere else on April 4.

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