Dead & Buried (1981)

Posted: November 17, 2013 in Movie Review
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Dead & Buried

Directed By: Gary Sherman

Starring: James Farnetino, Jack Albertson, Melody Anderson, Dennis Redfield, Nancy Locke, Robert Englund, Barry Corbin

Subgenre: Supernatural, Zombies

Synopsis: Things are seriously amiss in Potter’s Bluff, as visitors to the town are being killed left and right.  It’s up to the local sheriff and coroner to discover the grisly motive to the killings.

Thoughts: I’ve watched this movie a handful of times now, and it surprises me that it isn’t mentioned more often in 80s horror discussions.  It’s not the best to come out of the early 80s, but it’s pretty damn good.  It also boasts a couple of heavy hitters in its cast and crew, namely Dan O’Bannon and Robert Englund.  Neither played a huge role, but they are still involved.  I’ve read in a couple of places that O’Bannon didn’t have a lot to do with the script (or anything at all in some recollections), but the fact that the writer of Alien has his name attached to this movie gives it some clout.  This was also an early, pre-Freddy appearance for Robert Englund.  His role in the movie isn’t a big one, but it’s always cool to see one of the icons of horror in his early days.

James Farentino plays a very typical 80s role as the rough edged sheriff investigating the deaths in his sleepy bayside town.  Even though his role is pretty cliché, I thought he did a good job.  Even though he was the center of the movie, Jack Albertson stole the show for me as the town coroner/mortician.

One of my favorite aspects of Dead & Buried is how it is shot.  It is a great looking movie to watch.  Gary Sherman had done quite a bit of work prior to this movie, but he really seemed to be hitting his stride in the 80s until taking on Poltergeist III, which was a very troubled production.  The death of Heather O’Rourke prior to the release of the movie caused reshoots and weighed heavily on Sherman.  After Poltergeist III, he worked on a series of television releases, which has essentially been the bulk of his career since.  Perhaps we’ll see him return to theatrical releases, but I doubt it, which is a shame.

The rather graphic death scenes are quite memorable, serving both to hook gorehounds as well as landing Dead & Buried on the Video Nasty list.  I haven’t seen all of the Nasties, but of the ones I have seen, this is one of my favorites.  So many on the movies on the list suffer from abysmal acting and shoddy stories that something like Dead & Buried stands out. If this little gem from the 80s has evaded your watch list, take the time to check it out.


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