Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days of '81 Horror: Dead & Buried (Gary Sherman)

Welcome to the small fog enshrouded beach town of Potter’s Bluff, where things are the way they used to be, even if the citizens have to kill for it. Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) who has returned with his wife (Flash Gordon’s Melody Anderson) to his childhood hometown is in charge of investigating a rash of suspicious fatal accidents befalling tourists. Gillis seems to continually hit dead end after dead end as most of the residents deny ever seeing the deceased persons and he just can’t get proper assistance from the town kooky perfectionist mortician William Dobbs (Jack Albertson), a nattily attired elderly man who still drives a model T. The further Gillis investigates, the closer he comes to unraveling the town’s morbid secret, and the more he puts himself at risk.

Director Gary Sherman, and a team of four writers including Alien scripter Dan O’Bannon provide a light horror tone reminiscent of a different era (apropos for the film’s theme) yet when things need to get to a dark or gory place, Dead and Buried is able to navigate those waters with ease, reminiscent of the tonal shifts in a future O’Bannon film, Return of the Living Dead. The central mystery is pretty easy to deduce (I won’t spoil it here though) but leads to a great “the protagonist is fucked” endgame, and I got a kick out of the theme of the ironic extremes that a small town would go to keep itself distant from the modern “element”. The film features early work by special effects wizard Stan Winston (The Terminator, Jurassic Park), which though effective from afar, reveal the small budget and greenness of Winston’s experience in close-up shots. Dead and Buried is a small gem worth checking out, just don’t make any vacation plans in Potter’s Bluff.

4 comments:

le0pard13 said...

Haven't seen this one in a while. An oldie but a goodie, alright.

Colonel Mortimer said...

Yep, saw it for the first time this year. On Netflix Instant for those that didn't leave them

Mummbles said...

I will check it out, I kept the dvd portion and Katie is keeping the Instant watch portion. I also saw that Linda Blair movie you previously reviewed was on the instant watch. Only one more movie, what will it be?!

slasherflix said...

Great flick.

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