Dead & Buried
|Dead & Buried|
|Directed by||Gary Sherman|
|Produced by||Robert Fentress
Richard R. St. Johns
|Written by||Short Story Author:
|Music by||Joe Renzetti|
|Edited by||Alan Balsam|
|Distributed by||Avco Embassy Pictures|
|May 29, 1981|
Dead & Buried is a 1981 horror film directed by Gary Sherman, starring Melody Anderson and James Farentino. With a screenplay written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, the movie was initially banned as a "video nasty" in the UK in the early 1980s, but was later acquitted of obscenity charges and removed from the Director of Public Prosecutions' list.
The movie was subsequently novelized by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. In a 1983 interview with Starburst promoting Blue Thunder, O'Bannon disowned the film (he claimed that Shusett had written the script by himself but needed O'Bannon's name on the project, and promised he would make some changes; on seeing the finished film O'Bannon realised that Shusett had done nothing of the sort, but it was too late for him to take his name off the credits).
James Farentino stars as Dan Gillis, sheriff of the small New England coastal town of Potter's Bluff. In the film's opening scene, a mob of townspeople attempt to kill a visiting photographer. He is beaten, tied to a post then set on fire. He survives and is taken to a hospital, where he is murdered just out of sight of the sheriff and the doctor.
More visitors are murdered by the townspeople. Sheriff Gillis, assisted by Dobbs, the local coroner-mortician (Jack Albertson), works hard to discover the motive for the killings. Gillis becomes increasingly disconcerted as a grisly death occurs every day. In each case, the killers photograph the victims as they are murdered.
The film's creepiness is enhanced by the audience knowing the identity of the killers, nearly all of whom are friends of Gillis. Gillis' wife Janet (Melody Anderson) has suspicious reasons for her own frequent nocturnal disappearances.[clarification needed]
Gillis accidentally hits someone with his squad car following an attack. On the grill of his car, Gillis finds the twitching severed arm of the accident victim, who attacks him and flees with the arm. After the attack, Gillis scrapes some flesh from the vehicle and takes it to the local doctor, who tells him that the tissue sample has been dead approximately four months.
Gillis grows suspicious of Dobbs and conducts a background check. He discovers that Dobbs was formerly the chief pathologist in Providence, Rhode Island, until he was dismissed 10 years ago for conducting unauthorized autopsies in the county morgue.
It is revealed that Dobbs has developed a secret technique for reanimating the dead, and all of the townspeople are reanimated corpses under his control. Dobbs considers himself an "artist" who uses his zombies to murder the living in order to create more corpses on which to practice his reanimation technique.
The Sheriff is unaware that he is also one of the living dead, having been murdered some time ago by his undead wife under Dobbs' orders. Gillis notices his hands decomposing, and Dobbs asks to examine them.
- James Farentino as Sheriff Dan Gillis
- Melody Anderson as Janet Gillis
- Jack Albertson as William G. Dobbs
- Dennis Redfield as Ron
- Nancy Locke as Linda
- Lisa Blount as Girl on the Beach / Lisa
- Robert Englund as Harry
- Bill Quinn as Ernie
- Michael Currie as Herman
- Christopher Allport as George LeMoyne / Freddie
- Joseph G. Medalis as The Doctor
- Macon McCalman as Ben
- Lisa Marie as The Hitchhiker
- Estelle Omens as Betty
- Barry Corbin as Phil
- Michael Pataki as Sam
Zombiemania: 80 Movies to Die For author Arnold T. Blumberg wrote that Dead & Buried "is another fine homage to the EC Comics style of horror, with a story that also echoes the structure of a classic Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode," adding that the film is "a late-night treat that works best with the lights off and no foreknowledge of what's to come."
AllMovie wrote, "it's easy to see why Dead and Buried never found a big audience. It is too plot-heavy for those viewers in search of a shock machine yet too visceral for the viewers who appreciate subtle horror", but complimented its "blend of creepy atmosphere and gruesome shocks."
The opening shot depicting the central street scene in Potters Bluff was filmed along Lansing Street in Mendocino, California.
- Blumberg, Arnold (2006). Zombiemania: 80 Movies to Die For. Telos Publishing. p. 122. ISBN 9781845830038.
- Guarisco, Donald. "Dead and Buried (1981) - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- Guarisco, Donald. "Dead and Buried (1981)". AllMovie. Retrieved 12 August 2012.