Wednesday, October 5, 2011


The production of Gary Sherman's "Dead & Buried" may have been fraught with conflict which resulted in all sorts of technical and continuity errors, but none of the resulting discrepancies can keep this film down. In fact, this is the best Stephen King story that Stephen King had nothing to do with.

For its time, this was far outside the "walking dead" norm that had been established by Romero and his Italian imitators by virtue of its traditional treatment of the zombie. The story occurs in a coastal Rhode Island town of Potter's Bluff, where an investigation into a handful of recent deaths reveal sadistic murder. The killings continue, and with each no body, pieces of a wide spread conspiracy float to the surface, suggesting that life in this New England town is not so much sleepy as it is just plain dead.

There are a ton of familiar faces here, including James Farentino and Robert Englund, but the MVP award goes to Jack Albertson ("Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory") as the town's eccentric mortician, William Dobbs. One of Dobbs' quirks is his affinity for big band and old jazz music, which he spins while restoring corpses for open casket affairs. This character detail is vintage writer Dan O'Bannon, and was recycled in "Return of the Living Dead" for Don Calfa's Ernie character. Sadly, this was Albertson's final feature film performance, as he passed away later that year.

The one negative thing I have to say about the film pertains to a wretched looking effect involving the death of the town doctor, where an artificial head is used for an acid injection. While Stan Winston provided the majority of the fantastic effects here, he was not responsible for this abortion. The acid head effect was actually tacked on by another team of FX guys at the request of producers, who wanted a more gore oriented flick. The final result is night and day compared to some of the other fantastic stuff Wintson provides. Otherwise, the film is fantastic. It brims with mood and strong performances from the actors. I wholeheartedly recommend this, but I would also urge you to avoid reading anything about it before hand. Go in fresh and you will be rewarded. Check out the trailer courtesy Deathdealeus1984.

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