As a parent, I am, perhaps annoyingly, particularly attuned to bad parenting in movies. Whether it’s out and out evil parenting, typical inattentive and/or negligent parenting, or bad parenting decisions made simply for the sake of plot convenience, I find myself making mental notes on the moms and dads I see on screen, usually in terms of what not to do. So, as a Movie Parenting aficionado (self-certified), when I tell you the dad in the original Pet Sematary is one of the worst movie dads ever, I expect you’ll trust my educated opinion. When you watch Pet Sematary (you should not watch Pet Sematary, for the record), the first thing that jumps out at you is Herman Munster’s accent. This is undebatable; the accent should be listed as a character unto itself. But the second thing that makes itself incredibly obvious within the first five minutes of the film is that Dr. Louis Creed (played by Dale Midkiff) is a horrible, HORRIBLE parent. Let’s have a look, chronologically through the timeline of the film, at the twenty biggest mistakes Mr. Creed makes as the events of Pet Sematary unfolds.
(Perhaps it goes without saying but HERE BE SPOILERS.)
1.) Buys a house on a very busy street, apparently, without ever having visited the house.
I’m sure Mr. Creed is not the first person to have bought a house without ever actually visiting said house but my guy, you’ve got two small children and a cat. Might want to make sure there’s not a very busy trucker road located fourteen feet from your front door. Also, there’s a path to a pet cemetery on your property. You probably want to know that before you buy.
2.) Leaves his tiny son all alone right next to said very busy street.
To be fair, this one is at least partially on his wife but still: I get that your daughter is hurt and you need to make sure she’s okay but someone needs to take charge of the tiny toddler because, again, you bought a stupid house and he is at all times no further than fourteen feet away from being crushed by a large truck.
3.) Has a cat.
Never own a cat in a movie, you guys.
4.) Talks to his weird neighbor (Jud Crandall).
Never talk to your weird neighbor whether you’re in a movie or real life.
5.) Allows the creepy housekeeper to come back a second time after the first very creepy encounter.
I’m willing to give the Creeds a pass on the initial hire of the very creepy Ms. Dandridge. They’re new in town and looking for help, it stands to reason that they don’t know she’s a creeper. But one visit is really all it should take to make sure she never comes back again.
6.) Follows weird neighbor to a cursed burial ground.
Mr. Crandall: “Hey I know I just met you yesterday or something, but I see that your cat is dead. Would you mind following me up in into the mountains while carrying the carcass? We’re gonna walk right on past an actual pet cemetery and I don’t plan on telling you what we’re doing until we actually get to our destination.”
Mr. Creed: “Sure.”
7.) Actually buries the cat in said cursed burial ground.
Mr. Crandall: “Now that you’ve followed me past the pet cemetery and into the mountains, we’ve arrived at this VERY CLEARLY MARKED cursed burial ground. Time for you to bury your cat here.”
Mr. Creed: “Sure.”
8.) Doesn’t blanch when the neighbor says they have to keep the cat’s burial a secret.
At this point, I’d understand the impetus to not wanna be really open with what just happened because you’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes in this whole operation and maybe you’d rather just keep that to yourself. But as soon as your weird neighbor starts making a deal about not telling anyone what’s what, that’s when you’ve got to know that you very much DO need to tell someone.
9.) Accepts the neighbor’s excuse for leading him into this whole mess in the first place.
This fool knew exactly what was going to happen with your formerly dead cat, having experienced the terrifying rebirth of a pet himself, instructed you to follow suit, and you’re just totally cool with his reasoning? Come on, bro!
10.) Doesn’t kill the cat even though it has freaky glowing eyes.
Okay, alright, we’re in this now. You’ve made some bad choices, but you can still salvage something out of this whole thing if you just Old Yeller the cat right away. But instead, this fool just lets the cat stick around and basically haunt the house like it’s no big deal that his eyes are glowing like that.
11.) Basically cops out when his daughter asks him about the afterlife.
You may not have all the answers, and no one will fault you for being vague. But when your daughter asks you about the afterlife, having just attended her first funeral, your answer CANNOT be, “Eh, I dunno.”
12.) Doesn’t freak out when his wife admits to laughing maniacally when her sister died.
This is probably the most disturbing scene in the movie. I know you’re married and stuff and you want to support your spouse. But I gotta be honest, if my wife comes at me with that kind of crazy, I’m at least making some calls and looking for a couch to crash on if nothing else. Instead, good ol’ Louis is just COOL with this information.
13.) Lets his son get hit by a truck.
A couple things here. One, you KNOW this road is apparently destination number one for big rigs so maybe you wanna keep an eye on that. Two, toddlers are slow. You could give my kid a 50-yard head start on a 55-yard race and I’d still smoke him, not even accounting for his life being on the line. All things considered, we may be vacating the territory covered by “negligence” and moving on into “criminal negligence.”
14.) Does not listen to the ghost when he warns him about the cursed burial ground.
You should always listen to and heed the advice of ghosts. Always.
15.) Goes right on ahead and digs up his dead son despite the warnings from a ghost.
We all grieve in different ways and it’s not cool to mock someone’s grief process…unless that grief process involves the exhumation of your recently deceased toddler son despite a ghost very clearly telling you not to do that. Also, WHY IS HE SMILING while digging up his son?! What is happening?!
16.) Swears to dead son that, “It’s going to be alright.”
Narrator: It was not alright.
17.) Leaves his scalpel just sitting around in his bag where literally anyone can get it.
I have no idea if real surgeons do this or if it’s just a movie thing. Regardless, if you’ve got kids in the house (even if you can’t anticipate the resurrection of your demon toddler although you probably should since that’s exactly what you plotted to bring about), I’m going to suggest not leaving an extremely sharp blade in your bag where any little hands could get ahold of it.
18.) Does not just THROW the murderous zombie baby when he is being attacked.
Babies do not weigh much. Even murderous zombie babies weigh, at most, 30 pounds. Chuck that sucker down the stairs, dude!!! I know he has a scalpel and stuff, but he is a baby! Throw him!
19.) Learns literally nothing from this experience and goes ahead and buries his dead wife in cursed burial ground.
So, let’s get this straight. Your cat came back to life and was essentially the worst version of a cat ever. Then a ghost told you not to re-bury your dead son, but you didn’t listen. Then said dead son kills your wife and your weird neighbor and tried to kill you. Somehow you survived. And to commemorate the occasion, you make the mind-boggling decision to run it back and try it again with your dead wife? Alright, man, you reap what you sow.
20.) Makes out with dead wife.
Just me but I’m super uninterested in making out with my recently dead wife while her eye is hanging out of her head having been, you know, recently murdered by my zombie toddler. But you do you, Louis. You do you.