Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dead & Buried - 3.5/5

Deep in the back of your local video store or even perhaps buried deep in the DVD section at your local DVD supplier you might find Dead & Buried. Sadly the title seems to refer to the current state of the film. It died and was buried and it only seems that the most hardcore horror fans know of the film. This is a damn shame as Dead & Buried is one of the best hidden gems a horror fan could come across.

Considering the scarcity of the film it does have a lot of famous and talented names attached to it. We have a script written by Dan O'Bannon (Alien, The Return of the Living Dead), special effects by Stan Winston (Terminator, Predator) and underrated director Gary Sherman at the helm (Raw Meat, Vice Squad). We also get a lot of recognizable faces in front of the camera including James Farentino, the beautiful Melody Anderson (Firewalker) and Lisa Blount (Prince of Darkness) as well as Freddy Kruger himself Robert Englund. We even get an appearance by Grampa Joe from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! This colorful, well rounded cast compliment the bizarre H.P. Lovecraft inspired story well. Farantino is the sheriff of a small coastal town who has a plate full of shit occur. First he has a charred person found in a car, but the crash didn't cause the burns! He starts having bodies pile up and what's even more strange is the people that seem to die also seem to show back up, alive a couple of days later. All this strangeness seems to point to the local undertaker, Mr. Dobbs (Jack Albertson). To top it off his wife has become obsessed with witchcraft and is even teaching it to her students! The NERVE!

The film has great building paranoia (similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and I really dug the entire cast. I was hesitant with Farentino in the lead role at first but ended up finding him perfectly cast. Also who would have known Grampa Joe from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory would make such a creepy mortician?! That was a great casting choice against type. The creepy plot has a nice pace but there is one aspect that did get on my nerves. In one scene we have a couple and their child have car trouble so they go into a house for help. It is OBVIOUS no one lives there as there are cobwebs covering everything, including the 1950's refrigerator, yet our couple keeps looking for people. They here a noise in the basement and they assume there's someone changing a fuse. Changing a fuse? Look at the state of the house... NO ONE LIVES THERE! This scene had some poor writing but otherwise O'Bannon does a credible job. Director Gary Sherman also seems very comfortable with the subject matter giving us some interesting shots and even showing some graphic images (against O'Bannon's wishes it seems). Sherman is completely underrated and this would make a great double bill with his earlier horror film Raw Meat.

The unnerving plot is engrossing, the acting is top and the twist ending is great. Why isn't this film better known? I blame poor distribution theatrically and on video over years as the major proprietor (I could never find the old Vestron VHS!). Whatever the reason you need to see this film! If you are a horror fan then you need to own this film! Just take your mouse, click up in the address bar and type in amazon.com or ebay.com to get yourself a copy. Your collection isn't complete without it!

Written By Eric Reifschneider

1 comment:

  1. You can also find it on Oldies.com. that site is awesome for finding hidden gems like this.
    I remember watching this as a kid and the scene that sticks out for me most was Blount as a nurse with the needle.