September 21, 2011 — Before the Ramones answered the question for all of us, I’d never personally considered whether or not I wanted to be buried in a pet cemetery. Now, thanks to that ear-driller of a song that gets played every Halloween season, I can’t help but answer it 20 times a day myself until Burl Ives finally comes along and knocks it of my head by throating Holly, Jolly Christmas through his Van Dyke.
Obviously, the backstory on the Ramones’ Pet Sematary is that it’s the title song to the 1989 movie of the same purposefully misspelled name that was based on the 1983 Stephen King book of the same purposefully misspelled name about a secret pet cemetery that resurrects a little boy who slices the hamstrings of Herman Munster. It’s a good watch.
I correspond on occasion with Jim Logan, the historian for Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY (site of the headless horseman mythos , the burial spot of Washington Irving himself, and generally one of my favorite spots to spend a Fall weekend). The bulk of our correspondence is general him lording it over me about how much more awesome his job is than mine, but recently he took a break from that to turn me on to the fact that the black-haired Queens natives actually filmed the video for Pet Sematary in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery itself. Every time I think that place can’t get any cooler…
In the video, the Ramones are buried alive in a mass grave while simultaneously performing the song. Meanwhile, various black-clad mourners come by, make out in a coffin, stare awkwardly into the camera, and generally just do music-video type stuff while, I assume, the video director screams off-camera “We have three minutes to fill. Just do stuff.”
Below is the original video itself with clips from the movie, a second version where the clips from the movie are replaced with footage of the Ramones wandering Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and then a "making of" segment. Beware, though, if you watch the video, the song with haunt you for the next two months.
May Burl Ives have mercy on your soul.
P.S.: Here are some pics from my visit to the Pet Sematary movie filming locations (and other Stephen King sites) in Bangor, Maine.
P.P.S.: Here’s my piece from a couple years back on one of my visits to Sleepy Hollow and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
P.P.P.S.: The image at the beginning of the article is a cenotaph of Johnny Ramone (1948-2004) in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.
P.P.P.P.S.: Spell checker thinks this article is about a pet seminary. Now there’s a movie idea for you.
P.P.P.P.P.S.: I still don’t want to be buried in a pet cemetery.
P.P.P.P.P.P.S.: Well, maybe they aren’t that bad. Recently visited this one in West Seneca, NY, and it seemed pretty nice: