Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Gary Sherman, 1981
Starring: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield

Dan Gillis is the sheriff of Potter's Bluff, a small, quiet town in New England. That is, quiet until tourists begin to meet some very untimely ends What Dan doesn't know is that the townspeople are responsible for these murders. They band together, killing off visitors in a variety of gruesome ways. Gillis seeks the advice of the local coroner as the murders spin out of control. Why are Gillis's friends and neighbors killing people? Will he find out in time to prevent his own death?

Though you can read the full synopsis almost everywhere online, I really don't want to give anything away. In an age of sequels, remakes, and studios that play hard and fast with genre rules, it's challenging to find a horror film full of surprises and woe be it for me to ruin them for you. Dead and Buried is an imaginative, truly creepy film that managed to slip by me until about two or three years ago. It comes highly recommended and is something of a hidden gem.

It has everything you could want from a horror film: gore, scares, fun, and plenty of atmosphere. The extremely powerful opening sequence will glue you to the screen, though be forewarned that the plot sometimes jumps around unpredictably and peters off at the end of the film. If you can suspend your disbelief enough to enjoy most '80s horror films, this shouldn't surprise or perturb you.

Though it was one of the original video nasties, it isn't that heavy on gore. Most of the nasty moments come from the surprisingly cruel deaths enacted on unsuspecting tourists. Dead and Buried was penned by the great Dan O'Bannon and has killer effects by Stan Winston (pun intended). Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by Robert Englund.

Pick up the "limited edition" Blue Underground release, though someone should probably tell them that 50,000 copies hardly counts as limited. This version has two discs and includes some nice featurettes and documentaries about the writing and effects. I would go for this version, as it restores a lot of the effects that were cut on theatrical release.

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