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In the movie version of Pet Sematary, a dying Victor Pascow somehow knows Louis' name, and begins to warn Louis of the sour land. His "ghost" later appears to him, showing him the barrier at the Pet Sematary which must not be crossed. In these scenes, Louis can clearly see and hear him, though it is questionable whether Pascow is actually responding to him.

Later, Pascow appears again to Louis, warning him not to use the soured land.

In all of these instances, whatever Pascow is, seems to be benevolent, warding Louis away from the soured land. Of note, he does not appear to Louis when he and Jud cross the barrier to bury Church.

However, Pascow also

appears to Rachel, urging her home. Rachel never directly responds to or acknowledges Pascow, nor does the travel agent - but both seem to be affected by his presence. It could be argued that urging her home, knowing that Gage has returned, is not exactly benevolent in nature.

What exactly is Victor Pascow?

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There was a look on his face which Louis at first mistook for compassion. It wasn't really compassion at all; only a dreadful kind of patience.

"I come as a friend," Pascow said -- but was friend actually the word Pascow had used? Louis thought not. It was as if Pascow had spoken in a foreign language which Louis could understand through some dream magic... and "friend" was as close to whatever word Pascow had actually used that Louis' struggling mind could come.

Much of Pet Sematary's [book] content deals with the neither-good-nor-evil cycle of nature and the human heart -- the once-magical Miqmaq grounds, now turned sour, the secrets and resentments buried in every man, the cruelty of [Gage's] [Norma's] lives given and taken, the perversion of the natural order of things, the horrible knowledge from Beyond, and, most particularly, the seemingly-unstoppable certainty that someone somewhere will (re)discover the burial ground, starting the cycle anew.

As such, I see Victor as neither 'good' nor 'evil,' just as Louis standing for long hours and deliberating at his son's gravesite is neither 'good' nor 'evil' -- Victor is an acachak, an in-between spirit, a slightly-more-sympathetic embodiment of the Wendigo -- and, as such, he's not truly "benevolent" or "malign," any more than a force of nature could be said to be 'conscious' or 'harmful.' Recall that Victor warns Louis about the burial ground, but he also leads Louis to the deadfall. Victor warns too-young-to-comprehend Ellie, but also tells her stonily "It's too late."

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When I was a kid growing up and seeing this movie, even at a young age I just assumed that Pascow was just a spirit of a man appointed to aid Louis in the inevitable fate he was to endure throughout the film (granted I never read the book but this theory may apply to the book as well).

Basically what I'm saying is that Pascow was an ordinary man that was brought through the E.R onto Louis to save his life and when he died in Louis' presence, he took an oath to warn Louis of what was to come if he proceeded to use the burial ground in the future, sort of a way to offer his thanks in trying to save his life when he was brought in.

Even in the movie, when he visits Louis the night following his death and Louis asked why he was there, he answered "I wanted to help you Louis cause you tried to help me". Then he proceeded to walk Louis down into the cemetery and warned Louis not to go beyond to the cursed burial ground because the ground "is sour".

But that's just my take, just like any other person who reads or hears a story, everybody has their own interpretations on what it means to them or what it could represent. Neither of our views are better than the other when it comes down to it, only King could give a canon answer though.

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I believe that pascow although represented as a warning sign, is actually entirely malevolent. I think the evil of the land used the embodiment of pascow because it was an immediate and sensitive connection to the father. Without pascows involvement Gage might have never been re-buried and the mother also would've never shown up just in time to be killed by the son.

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I have found no explanation of this online, but I think that Pascow is simply a normal person prior to his death and then, after that, he's simply an untethered soul. His role is smaller in the book where he only appears once after his death, the night after. His awareness of who Louis is could be a matter of osmotic knowledge, things he'd overheard, or it could be an example of the legend of the clarity of death, where at the cusp of death, people are free from the fetters of their body and can see the truth. His appearance after his death is only in a dream, and could be his last message before passing on. His later appearances in the film are fairly typical for movie adaptations where characters will be reused in later scenes to avoid additional casting of named characters.

Another possibility is that he's being used by whatever evil power is behind the Sematary. It is either holding his soul to the Earth and using him to nudge people towards its purposes. Because it has power over death and life, it has power over him, who died in the area where it resides.

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The father in the movie is a doctor at a university clinic. Pascow died at the clinic at the beginning of the movie. This suggests some connection between them. Throughout the movie, Pascow's ghost is warning the doctor about the Pet Sematary. The old man (Gwynn) told him how to use it.

Edit: Sorry I was unclear. I didn't mean to suggest a previous connection between them. Pascow's death was how he met the doctor, how they established a connection.

  • "This suggests some connection between them." The only connection suggested by that is the fact that Louis was there when Pascow was brought in. No other connection is ever made or implied in the movie. – phantom42 Sep 24 '16 at 4:07
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I personally think that Victor is well-intentioned, and that he seeks to warn Louis against going to the Pet Sematary, albeit completely unsuccessfully. Similarly, despite the horrendous results, Jud had good intentions in showing it to Louis. I don't know whether the idea of good intentions going wrong or not being effective was deliberate or I'm just reading too much into it.

There remains the mystery of Victor knowing Louis' name and also being able to partially predict that Louis might someday go to the Sematary. Perhaps it was, contrary to the previous posts, rather a good force or spirit which was using him? As Gandalf said, there are other forces at work besides the will of evil.

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Just got done reading the book. Victor Pascow warns Louis, then appears to his daughter and says he is a discorporated spirit who is spiritually connected to Louis due to their proximity during his death and (I think) because Louis was working to help him during that time. Because of that he tries to return the favor to Louis.

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I believe that Victor Pascow could actually just be an anagram, such as Pastor Wocciv...Perhaps, it is an homage to a personal friend or someone of influence in Mr. King's life. As writers, we often pay tribute to those in our real world, as it were. Clearly, Louis Creed pays tribute to Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the original masters of the macabre, and his character, "Young Goodman Brown."

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    Pet Sematary also deals with themes of crises of faith and deep seeded guilt as a perpetuation of seeking perfection and redemption in the Christian faith. – Amy Lynn Weiser Oct 22 '17 at 20:42
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