Thursday, June 13, 2013
Rue Morgue 200 Dead & Buried 1981
Finally got around to watching Dead & Buried. This Netflix has been sitting around so long that the company sent my husband a condolence card. I really only got this because as a kid I was always obsessed with the VHS cover art. That head rising out of the ground scared the shit out of me! I never rented it because I couldn't tear myself away from the Nightmare on Elm Streets or Friday the 13ths. I kind of wish I had watched one of those instead.
Not that Dead & Buried is bad. It actually has a pretty original storyline and the set-up and setting remind me of a cross between The Twilight Zone and The Fog. Not a bad combo. In the little town of Potter's Bluff, the new Sheriff, Dan (James Farentino) is quite frustrated that strangers keep dying in his town. It doesn't help that he is the worlds WORST detective. I mean he is the WORST. In his defense, he has got a lot of weird shit going on. Robert Englund is his Deputy (so young here!), The Man from Chico and the Man is the oddball town Mortician, and his wife, Janet, not only looks like a porn star but seems to be keeping secrets from him. Life is tough for James Farentino.
It doesn't take long to figure out who the killers are: it's the entire town! They go around killing people and taking pictures of the death. Its like a small town 8MM. Soon we learn that the dead are not really dead at all: they rise again and join the amateur filmmakers club.
Of course, James Farentino doesn't figure this out. He is too busy yelling at his wife and looking constipated to solve the crime. I have nothing against James Farentino, really (rest his soul) but the overacting here is enough to make Donald Pleasance go "take it down a notch James".
It you can't tell by the stills Stan Winston does the special effects and they are awesome. Jack Albertson (the Man) is great as Dobbs, the Mortician, and the ending has a nice little twist that, again, reminded me of The Twilight Zone.
Ronald Shusett and Dan O'Bannon get the screenwriting credit, although O'Bannon later said he didn't do anything to the script and they added his name to get some play from the success of Alien. As I said, the idea is original but the action moves very slow. It's worth a look, but I won't be adding it to the collection. Might buy the poster though. Still freaks me out.