Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dead & Buried (1981)

Fear 1/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5
A surprisingly original tale, Dead & Buried centers on a weird small town that kills off it's out of towners and visitors. They come back to 'life' within a few days (not zombies per se) only to assume new names and become a part of the townsfolk (working at the local gas station, showing up as students at the local school, etc.). All the while, no one asks 'hey who's the new kid?' or 'you ain't from around these here parts, are you?' This adds to the overall creepy, oompa loompa vibe that permeates throughout.
As the string of murders continue, the local police officer is on the case, frantically trying to figure out what the hey is going on. As he begins to scour high and low for clues, he stumbles across some teaching materials that his wife plans to use for her class. It's a book of withcraft and a large dagger that he's found, hidden in one of their bedroom dresser drawers. This tips off the officer that maybe something far more sinister is at work and he begins to suspect that his wife is hiding something from him. However, the idea of withcraft is immediately shot down as his wife explains to him that she's using the book and dagger as a way to tell her kids a good scary story or two. The copper chalks up his jump to conclusions from added stress but he still suspects that she's hiding something from him.
She asks him to take a roll of film to a friend of hers (which was supposedly shot by one of her students) but instead, he takes it to the local film developer store guy. The developer acts a little strangely and you get the sense that everyone in cookytown is in cahoots with each other, all knowing full well what is going on.
The local mortician (who's a little surly and initially unsuspecting) stops by the police station one day, claiming that he 'lost' one of his cadavers. The cop thinks something is up as surely corpses can't come back! In the previous scene, you are shown how the moritician re-crafts his cadavers to a creepy almost life-like state, putting his humpty dumptys back together just as good as they were before they kicked the bucket. As the end of the film approaches, its revealed why the moritician takes such a particular interest in his crafstmanship and why folks are being killed and willed back to life.
Not the best horror movie I've ever seen but definitely fun, entertaining and more importantly, original. There is not much by way of blood or gore (which is really bad if you don't have a decent story to keep things rolling along), but there is one particularly gnarly scene at the end in which our hero cop guns down ol' morty and he takes a pair of embalming needles and tubes and jams them him into his jelly belly. The film also features Robert Englund (albeit in a bit part). I'm convinced that the dude has never had a good looking day in his life.

Cortez the Killer

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