Dead & Buried (1981)
Director: Gary Sherman
James Farentino/Sheriff Gilles
A group of spooky “Potter's Bluff” citizens are violently murdering anybody and everybody that enters their little town. Talk about BAD hospitality! Ouch! It’s up to Sheriff Gilles (Farentino) to figure out what in Romero’s name is going down!
It will take your breath away... all of it.
I didn’t know much about "Dead and Buried" beforehand, other than its rep of being an excellent genre serving. I’m happy I came into the film ignorant since it ultimately made my viewing even more powerful. I will try to be vague as to offer you the same type of experience, if you haven’t caught it yet. Written by Dan O'Bannon (co-writer of "Alien" / writer/director of "Return of the Living Dead") and Ron Shusett (co-writer of "Alien") with special effects by now ”ace” Stan Winston ("Jurassic Park", "Aliens"), "Dead and Buried" was one damn engrossing little horror nasty. From the kick my ass to oblivion opening scene, I knew I was in for something special.
Playing like a cross between a Twilight Zone episode, "Night of the Living Dead" and any of the Stepford movies, this morbid tale sported an alluring mystery that just kept sucking me in deeper and deeper as the clock ticked forward. I was so into this one as it went on to hit “tilt” on most counts starting with the well-paced narrative serving up enough crazy twists and turns to keep me dead bolted to my seat where I belonged. The acting by everyone also helped make this flick a more gripping watch. The capital P, PMS chicks in this madhouse (Blount and Anderson) definitely made me think twice about ever dating again and the stellar James Farentino carried the movie like the champ that he was. He was my anchor to this ghost ship and I was rooting for him like a rooster ready to mate.
Visually, the picture pleasurably smelled of the sweet odor of death, with the colors being washed out and the lighting being used accordingly. The thick fog spread about the town also contributed to the unsettling feel of the visuals. Watching this flick felt like walking through a cemetery. Then there was the strong dose of horror that was seeped into this one’s veins with the actual physical happenings that went down whooping my carcass to Med School heaven. Wow! The kill scenes here were beyond “left-field” and brutal with the baddies always suddenly appearing out of nowhere, at just the right time, to perform some serious slaughter. Yes, I often winced like a reprimanded upskirt peeping midget.
On the decaying side of the corpse, once the cat was out of the bag in the last block, minor plot holes arose while the flick somewhat dragged a tad before reaching its final frame. The finale was also a bit too grandiose for my taste buds (was that a Bond villain with all his TV screens?) Something a bit subtler would’ve been appreciated by yours truly. Lastly, the sucker punch that came in before the end credits kicked me in the nards, but that new “revelation” not only felt familiar but worse, opened up the trunk for one major plot hole to lie in.
When all was said and exhumed, "Dead and Buried" was a captivating watch, addressing one of the genre’s best known sub-genres in a rather novel and daring manner. Dig this one up and see for yourself!!
Stan Winston contributed the effects in what was one of his earlier gigs. We get a slashed face, vicious beatings, a badly burned corpse, an impaling, a crushed face, a face melting due to acid, a needle in the eye, a severed arm, some sick toying with corpses, decrepit and decaying dead peeps and more! The effects weren’t always spot-on, but I easily let that go, absorbed by the happenings. Just go with it!
James Farentino (Sherriff Gilles) held the film together with his honest and engaging performance. Melody Anderson’s (Janet) hot looks and delivery served the part very well. Jack Albertson (Dobbs) worked as the creepy mortician. Lisa Blount (Nurse) had presence galore and a nice rack of lamb to boot.
T & A
Lisa Blount showed her luscious tangerines early on and the ladies get NATHING! Yeah, you heard me…NATHING!
The directing here felt very "old school" where it was mostly there to serve the story as opposed to showing off via slick shots. The atmosphere was endearingly morbid and chilling while the lighting and the fog effects contributed in giving the flick a “crawl under your skin” surreal vibe.
We get a haunting score by Jon Renzetti and some 40’s tunes out of a radio.
"Dead and Buried" was an involving, intelligent, brutal and bleak little bugger. Sure, the ending wasn’t as clever as what came before it and did remind me of a better known film that came out in 1987, but I won’t piss on the movie for coming up with a kool idea before a more popular horror flick. Au contraire, I’ll applaud it! This bitter pill was shamefully overlooked upon its initial release and it's time for all genre fans to get acquainted with it. Dig up DEAD AND BURIED kids and dance with the dead!
Robert Englund (yes, Freddy Krueger) has a small role as one of the townsfolk.