Dead and Buried (1981)

It will take your breath away... all of it.
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Dead and Buried - It will take your breath away... all of it.

With a tagline harvested freshly from the mouth of the new recruit in the marketing department claiming the movie is from the creators of Alien, Dead and Buried's only connection with the aforementioned iconic sc-fi horror is that the screenplay was helped along by Dan O'Bannon who had a much bigger input in the outerspace classic than in this. A more genuine and almost as complimentary tagline would have stated that this was the best work from director Gary Sherman that will be created before 2010 and possibly ever! Gary Sherman is also responsible for directing Death Line and more recently Poltergeist 3 followed by a number of drama and thriller TV spots. Dead and Buried displays a worthwhile amount of gore that doesn't shy away from being on the camera which is taglineworthy enough for a movie on the video nasties list and maybe just stating that the screenplay was contributed to by director of "The Night of the Living Dead Dan O'Bannon" would have been more than enough to whet the appetite of horror fans despite the need for the ability to travel back in time a couple of years for that to be justifiable.

Dead and Buried is an underexposed gem banished to the UK video nasty list in the eighties and unable to compete among the hysteria caused by nasties such as Cannibal Holocaust and The Driller Killer which were much more adept at thieving limelight. The story is solid and well executed plus an original venture into zombie territory that even stands up against anything undead related since. Rather than jumping on the usual apocalypse bandwagon so overbooked at the time the storyline is more befitting of a Twilight Zone episode but is constructed well enough to keep up the captivation levels for the whole 94 minutes. The twist becomes fairly apparent early on but the extent of the happenings are not fully revealed until the last few seconds, with each addition to the plot inspiring more shocks, more surprise and more fist-clenching to the eye-sockets.

The sleepy coastal town of Potters Bluff hides a nasty secret, a secret that will definitely lead to death if you look like the 1981 version of Ethan Hawke and are willing to take photographs of stranger's boobs when you are supposed to be capturing images of local costal scenery. A lesson that should be learned from history is that when a random luscious lady offers to bump uglies on the beach then she probably wants to burn you while her friends capture the torment on cameras of their own.

Many casual visitors and passers-by meet their demise in Potters Bluff which makes for a fantastic money spinner for the local undertaker, William G. Dobbs (Jack Albertson from Willy Wonka fame), who takes pride in his ability to make the mutilated look magnificent for their burial. Suspicious of the numerous fishy fatal accidents happening in such a small town, Sheriff Dan Gillis returns to his hometown of Potters Bluff to uncover the mystery of the grisly deaths plus to discover why murder victims are reappearing in his vicinity.

As mentioned before, Dead and Buried contains gore and trauma aplenty plus an effectual undertone of dread and a lingering sense of panic, all essential ingredients in a small village horror movie. The effects are nothing special with an accusatory finger pointing towards a certain scene involving acid and an innovative method of removing nostril hair although it is rumoured that the reason for this animatronic failure is due to the director not listening to the advice of his special effect people... so the finger of accusation is withdrawn and replaced with a finger of understanding. One rather disappointing head melt is not enough to ruin the movie as there are so many good qualities to outweigh this; Jack Albertson makes a spectacular job of portraying the work-obsessed cosmetologist, James Farentino assumes the role of stereotypical city-cop admirably and Melody Anderson performs well and is gorgeous to boot. Even Robert Englund makes an appearance in a minor role as one of the townsfolk!

Dead and Buried is a creative little slice of horror with a storyline that will either have you surprised numerous times or wondering if it is possible to go a twist too far. Not the nastiest nasty and it won't have you shitting more bricks than Ben Grimm's irritable bowel but brutality, boobs, blood and surprise necrophilia makes for perfect Sunday morning watching plus it is a rare entry to the video nasties list that doesn't rely on senseless depravity for publicity... which is maybe where marketing went wrong!
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