Friday, October 3, 2008


I believe I'll be keeping this one short, since 1981's DEAD AND BURIED is one of those movies that holds more impact the less you know going in. Written by Ronald Shusett and Dan O'Bannon (the pair's first major gig after their breakthrough success with ALIEN) and directed by the criminally underappreciated Gary A. Sherman, it's a film that works best as a mystery, revealing its secrets one layer at a time until the full picture is shown.

Watching just the opening scene is a treat; not only is it a beautifully understated work of misdirection--what appears to be the beginning of a romance segues without warning into a particularly nasty murder--but it's the kind of slow build that rarely gets made these days.

DEAD AND BURIED also boasts a strong cast, including James Farentino (who seems to be channeling Christopher George), Michael Pataki, Jack Albertson, and Robert Englund in a pre-Freddy turn. Their work, along with superior cinematography and an effective score, make this a worthwhile example of fun '80s horror (that didn't involve knife-wielding maniacs).

I will say, though, that I'm not 100% sold on the story's resolution, but getting there is an enjoyably macabre ride.

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