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Dead and Buried – 7

Director – Gary Sherman

Cast – James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield, Nancy Locke, Lisa Blount, Robert Englund, Bill Quinn, Michael Currie, Christopher Allport

Release Year – 1981

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Here is a flick I had been meaning to see for quite some time, but never could find it easily available…until now.  Thanks to Netflix(once again), I was given the opportunity to view this flick that I had heard so many good things about, and left this film experience with a positive feel.  This is one of the most interesting horror films I have seen in a very long time.  Original, moody, and quite creepy, this flick rocks!

This flick stars James Farentino as Sheriff Dan Gillis, a simple man who polices the small harbor town of Potters Bluff.  When a series of gruesome acts of murder are acted upon unsuspecting travelers, Sheriff Gillis is determined to get to the bottom of what is rocking his quiet little town.  As he gets closer and closer to who is behind the murders, the naïve sheriff realizes that he is in way over his head.  In Potters Bluff the dead do not stay dead.  They rise from death and join in on the occult-esque killings of those who unfortunately stumble upon this sleepy little town.

“Dead and Buried” is one of the few 80s horror flicks that survives and prospers on story alone.  Gore, and execution aside, this flick had one of the coolest stories I’ve seen for a flick from it’s era.  I really liked that this wasn’t your typical “undead” flick, but threw a lot more elements into that.  One of them being the use of black magic.  We don’t get too much reference into the black magic behind the undead, but nonetheless the mystery it adds to the story was sufficient enough to engage me.  This flick comes with several twists as well, and good twists if I say so myself.  Each twist changed the scope of the film, and although the final twist in a sense causes a few plot holes, it is itself shocking and one of the coolest twist endings I have ever seen in a horror film.  Bravo on that one to writer Dan O’Bannon(who wrote “Alien”, “Total Recall”, and wrote/directed “The Return of the Living Dead”) and Ronald Shusett(who also wrote “Alien“ and “Total Recall“.

The direction in this film is pretty well done, and is another reason this film excelled.  Director Gary Sherman broke onto the horror scene with his Donald Pleasence starring flick “Raw Meat”, and used much of his atmospheric expertise on this film as well.  The gloomy sets and grainy cinematography were excellently used to portray the utter sense of dread this film incorporates.  Also to my surprise, this flick has some REALLY GOOD jump scares that I never saw coming, and ultimately…made me jump.  Yes, that’s right, I JUMPED.  I never EVER jump anymore, so for a film to make me jump is not only an accomplishment for itself, but hell, it makes me happy as well.  It reminds me of the good old days when I was a kid and everything scared me.  Nowadays great scares to me are few and far between.  I really enjoyed the kill scenes used in this film as well.  Not only were they pretty damn brutal, but the persona and mannerisms of the murderous mob was very creepy.  Very nicely done Mr. Sherman.

Now I do have a few complaints with this film, and the first is it’s pacing.  The first act of this film is awesome, had it kept the same feel this film would have been rated much higher.  Unfortunately Mr. Sherman went on another approach during the second act and in my opinion lost a lot of the creepy feel that the first act so brilliantly set up.  It really stinks to see a film with so much potential go in an alternate direction that in the end detrimented from the final product.  Oh well.  The only other complain I had was an issue with this film’s plot holes.  If you really balk at plot holes then this film’s twists may leave you more flabbergasted than impressed.  Fortunately for me, I was overall able to look past them thanks to just how cool this flick really is.

Overall, this is an interesting and very positive watch that I recommend to all horror fans.  If you are a fan of undead flicks then this is definitely a must see due to it’s original plot that you are sure to be appreciative of given this horror sub-genre tends to have very unoriginal and cliché storylines.

Rating: 7/10

  1. khayaal_e_yaar
    June 25, 2012 at 5:49 am

    So true! This is the best review I’ve ever come across for this cute little gem called ‘Dead & Buried’. This movie has glorious past of the early 80s written all over it. I remember I was only 3 years old when this flick was released, and yes it still takes me 32 years back whenever I watch it. That’s the utmost attribute of a film! I remember I used to get afraid of the long and open hospital corridors (agoraphobia?), got tensed when my dad drove on the rainy hillsides, felt uneasy when I saw the fog scattered from everywhere to everywhere and finally I got afraid of charred, hacked and crushed faces. I don’t know how Gary Sherman knew that people are victims of their basic fears and its really a wonder the way he has manipulated those kiddish fears and summed them up in a grotesque manner. Wonderful review my friend! I’ve bookmarked your blog forever.

    • June 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      That is great to hear. I’m glad you share a highly personal association with what the film has to offer, which is one of the creepiest I have seen from its time.

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