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Horror Movie A Day: Quint on DEAD & BURIED (1981)
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Published at: Oct. 25, 2008, 5:24 a.m. CST by quint



Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.] I’m really glad we got to this picture (thank you Movie Gods). Like I mentioned yesterday, fellow ‘80s horror nerds have been pressing me to finally watch DEAD & BURIED for years. The reasons being a great cast, Stan Winston effects and a serious tone. The flick plays up atmosphere, set in a foggy fishing town that apparently is so foggy that the INSIDES of buildings are foggy, too.

We start with a photographer taking pictures of a small beach. As he’s snapping photos, he notices a beautiful blonde, a townie who brings the flirt. It’s a nicely executed scene and my mind immediately went into “how’s this going to go wrong?” mode. The photographer starts snapping pics of this girl, posing seductively. Okay, I thought… In one of these camera POVs we’re going to see something grab this girl. I’m sure the filmmakers intended that because that’s not what happens. It’s the photographer who gets jumped (thankfully after Lisa Blount whips her top off) by a bunch of townspeople. She was in on it, luring him in as the fishermen in the town sneak up and jump him. They tie him to a post and set him on fire. Next thing we know, we’re in the middle of a street as the local sheriff (James Farentino) investigates a car accident. It’s our photographer, hanging upsidedown in his flipped, burnt to hell. I thought this make-up was pretty fantastic… one eye was permanently burned open, lips gone… gnarly. But then this dude starts screaming! He’s not dead! How fucked up! Great! The rest of the film is a mystery, unraveling just what the fuck is going on in this small town. Are all the townspeople in on it? Who’s not? And what the fuck IS GOING ON!?!

The WTF factor goes into overdrive when our photographer is murdered in the hospital (his poor exposed eye…) and is buried… then pops up, like he was never burned in the first place, pumping gas. Okay, smart script from ALIEN’s Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon (who also scripted two of my favorite ‘80s genre flicks: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and LIFEFORCE). Check that box. Also check the box next to great cast on your list of genre musts. You have Robert Englund (pre-Freddy) in a bit part as a townsman, Barry Corbin (WARGAMES, but who I’ll always remember as Harv in CRITTERS 2) and, perhaps the standout, Grandpa Joe himself Jack Albertson as the local undertaker, Dobbs. Setting aside my insane nostalgia at the sound of his voice (WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY was on constant rotation during my childhood), Albertson is the bright, shining star of this film hands down. His undertaker is at once a very sweet old man and a very creepy old man.

Dobbs takes much pride in his ability to recreate even the most messed up bodies for display before burial. He views himself as an artist and we get a great scene watching him work (aided by Stan Winston’s effects). And Stan Winston’s effects are great. There’s only one crappy effect, an acid-face-injection, but a little research shows that it was a reshoot and Winston wasn’t available, which makes more sense. But the stuff Winston did is top notch. The burned photographer, the face reconstruction, the eye-stab… great stuff.

The negatives to the movie pretty much rest in James Farentino’s lead performance as the sheriff. He’s okay throughout the entire movie, but really fumbles the big ending. There’s a reveal and when he sees it, he overacts to the point of almost derailing the movie. But the twist is fun (if not wholly unexpected) and Albertson’s work in this scene more than makes up for Farentino’s overacting, so no harm no foul. I wish Englund had a little more to do… same goes for Barry Corbin, but I think if the filmmakers had known how popular they’d be to genre fans I bet you anything they would have had more meat to their roles. Without knowing, I understand why the focus is on the hero with the most side-time given to Jack Albertson, who is hands down the most interesting and entertaining character in the movie. Final Thoughts: High on atmosphere, high on character-work and high on mystery. This is a demented little movie that makes you weep that Jack Albertson didn’t do much genre work. For ‘80s exploitation horror it’s got a little edge to it, but doesn’t skimp on the gore and flesh.

Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October: Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here! Now’s the the time to pull the next HMAD! Next up is:

Awesome. I’m a huge, huge Dick Miller fan! I have a lobby card from this film that I bought based only on the title (which I knew was the film that Roger Corman shot simultaneously with LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) and Dick Miller’s name. See you folks tomorrow with my thoughts on this one! -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did
October 11th: I Spit On Your Grave
October 12th: Naked You Die
October 13th: The Wraith
October 14th: Silent Night, Bloody Night
October 15th: I Bury The Living
October 16th: The Beast Must Die
October 17th: Hellgate
October 18th: He Knows You’re Alone
October 19th: The Thing From Another World
October 20th: The Fall of the House of Usher
October 21st: Audrey Rose
October 22nd: Who Slew Auntie Roo?
October 23rd: Wait Until Dark

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 25, 2008, 5 a.m. CST

    A great movie!

    by Charlie & Tex

    What took you so long, Quint? ;)

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 5:30 a.m. CST

    Glad you liked it Quint!

    by sonnyfern

    One of my favorites! Bucket of Blood is a pretty funny flick. I went into it with my tongue firmly in my cheek and had on okay time with it. Gotta love Corman though!

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 5:33 a.m. CST

    M-O-O-N. That spells "fantastic"

    by TomCullen

    I love Dead & Buried, and I agree, Jack Albertson was absolutely superb in this film, it's a shame he never got much credit at the time for it. O'Bannon, Winston, Albertson, Englund - pure 80's cult horror awesomeness.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 5:49 a.m. CST

    Stan Winston at best!

    by Gorgomel

    the face reconstruction sequence is the most scariest sfx scene I've ever seen. I had nightmares for weeks.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Like I already said: I don't think the movie is really good.

    by DerLanghaarige

    It just has some brillant moments, like the scene in the car wreck or the hospital, that make it memorable.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 6:27 a.m. CST

    I am still haunted

    by belasco_house

    by the upside-down-semi-skeletal-horrifically-burned photographer... when his jaw opens and that blood-curdling scream.. yagh

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Quint

    by belasco_house

    I hope Legend of Hell House is on your to-watch list

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 6:37 a.m. CST

    Belasco

    by Quint

    It would be if I hadn't seen it before. Speaking of blood-curdling screams... Roddy McDowell lets a good one rip in that one!

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Gorgomel

    by sonnyfern

    NO SHIT! When he turns the head and the eyeball is missing...holy crap!

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 7:41 a.m. CST

    No mention of Gary Sherman?

    by Shoegeezer

    He was a good director who did some under rated genre work; the London tube horror Death Line "Mind the doors.", Rutger Hauer action flick Wanted Dead Or Alive, excellent seedy Vice Squad, and the totally messed up teen and serial killer "romance" Lisa are all worth checking out. He had a nightmare experience directing Poltergeist III - you can find his account on the net. Dead And Buried may have its faults, to me it plays like a slick US take on what folk like Fulci were doing at the time, an interesting premise and setting, set piece murders. Certainly better to what passes for horror these days.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 7:45 a.m. CST

    A classic 80s scarefest...

    by spud mcspud

    That doesn't skimp on the characterisation (in fact is stronger for it) and has some awesome sick moments (the photographer's not dead! the eye-stab!!!)<P> Classic movie. It may well be all downhill from here, Quint.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Melody Anderson

    by Gislef_crow

    No mention of her? Granted, she doesn't do much for the movie. Kinda drags it down with Farentino. Then again, maybe she's supposed to be a bland, flawless wife. She looks a little more excited on the filmed sex scene. And they never really explain the townsfolk's obsessions with cameras, do they...?

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Next movie, is that Dick Futtermann?

    by James_O'Nasty

    And Melody Anderson is hot as balls in this flick... and dead. Yeah.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 9:32 a.m. CST

    I love this movie

    by darthwaz1

    I bought the dvd a few years back based on the cover alone, and I really lucked out. They'll probably remake it.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Ah...

    by 24200124

    My wife thinks I'm crazy for loving this movie, but I think it's damn great. Awesome review, man.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 2:14 p.m. CST

    So I'm not an 80's slasher kind of guy

    by Lukecash

    But this recommendations this film is receiving, makes me sit up and take note.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 2:49 p.m. CST

    I'm ready...

    by comicsniper

    It's Saturday afternoon and I've got my old sock and Astroglide next to me. So where's this week's ScriptGirl show???

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Dumbledore Scored Harry's Black Cherry!

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    Yeah, fan fic. Where would you be without it.<p> Back on subject. I read this book a very long time ago.<br> On the cover it said *Soon to be a major motion picture*<p> had that guy from that show in it<p> So I heard.<p> Never did see the movie<br> Not for rent around here.<p> Wonder why...

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 4:16 p.m. CST

    "I'm a huge, huge Dick ...... Miller fan!"

    by Yotz Von Frelnik

    Yow, that's how it looked when I first skimmed over it!

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 5:02 p.m. CST

    video nasties

    by ddog

    this is one of the original video nasties of banned horror flicks deemed too violent or sexual (usually both) . Love these horror movies.granted there is alot of crap in the list but its some of the holy grail for us gore hounds. by the way...love bucket of blood. its pretty funny. and in my opinion its Roger Cormans best work. then of course little shop of horrors.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Cool

    by Series7

    I've been wanting to see this movie for a while. Need to find a copy, fergot about it.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Nasty but memorable movie--

    by thegreatwhatzit

    The photographer's incinerated cadaver suddenly screams; scared the hell out of the audience. Evidently, there was quite a bit of post-production shooting (in the novel, the visiting couple and their toddler offspring survive; it's cleverly ambiguous in the film). Lisa Blount was a hotty, a future seemed certain (ditto Melody Anderson, whose career eroded after FLASH GORDON); what happened? The operative word is creepy. Dick Miller is one of the great character actors of the 20th century; Joe Dante doesn't make a movie without him. Miller's characters are often christened "Walter Paisley" (the moniker of his BUCKET OF BLOOD character). Not unlike Christopher Lee, he's hired by the geeks who grew up with his movies. He never disappoints (favorites include everything from THE HOWLING to a couple of TAXI episodes).

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 8:12 p.m. CST

    Holowennie stories

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    I grew up in St. Louis in the 70's Every year, for a few years there, KISS played Kiel. <p> For a season, me and some friends hung out at South Twin drive in.<p> Saw a lot of really bad movies at a really good price<p> We were 16 - 17 and legal to drive<br> And had a whole case of beer for the six of us. (we were meeting friend there aqnd we were holdin)<p> So watching a movie, gotta take a piss.<p> Taking a leak in a drive in bathroom.<p> guy next to me. ckeck him out<br> He's totally decked out as a KISS dude.<p> Woke up in the pasenger seat of a 67 mustang (my buddies car)<p> Light hit my eyes *aaaaaah* *pain*<<br> Friend hears me, he wakes up and makes noise *aaaaaaah* *more pain*<p> Open the door and step into a sea of beer cans. Lots of noise. *aaaaaah* *more pain*<p> Look around, we're the only car on a double drive in and its mid day.<p> We got to get out of here!<p> 2 car doors slam 2 guys go *ahhhhhhh*<p> and we're on the rode. long drive home. longer for his, he's got to drop me off.<p> He had a really great car, it had an FM converter. Good music, tuned to KSHE (turned down really low that day)<p> The ride home. My friend is throwing me looks.<p> I go *wherer'd all those beer cans come from*<p> 3 really scary words<p> *You don't remember?* <p> He goes, *you disapeard for awhile and you came back with KISS*.<p> Me *What?*<p> him: *you were singing and dancing with them, No they were singing and dancing with you*<p> me: *What?*<p> Him: * you were a fucking god*<p> Me: *what?*<p> You see where this is going<p> I have no proof<br> And unless the guys in KISS say they partied out at South Twin Drive In 75 - 76<br> I'm just making honking noises with my nose<p> Too Strange fo fiction?<br> You decide

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 8:14 p.m. CST

    wtf

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    something ate my post

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 8:26 p.m. CST

    Another one i've wanted to see for a while.

    by Dr Eric Vornoff

    I went out and bought REC and Wait Until Dark today (the latter on your recommendation). Bucket of Blood and Little Shop of Horrors were not shot simultaneously. Horrors came (shortly) after and is a semi-remake of Bucket with added man-eating-alien-plant. Both are great but Bucket's brilliant take-off on the Beatnik scene along with Miller's awesome performance give it the edge. Both films were written by the great Charles B. Griffith.

  • Oct. 25, 2008, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Sorry to the spirit of Stan Winston!

    by ufoclub1977

    I saw this back in 1982 on cable, and was laughing at how bad the makeup effects were for the face acid burn part. I was into idolizing the make up greats back then when Fangoria was really cool. I wanted to do make up effects and looked up to Smith, Baker, Bottin, Reardon, Burman, etc. I dismissed Stan Winston that day because of that. I mean all I knew other than that was Heartbeeps. It's good to know he wasn't respsonsible for that unintentionally hilarious moment. the movie's bad though...

  • Oct. 26, 2008, 12:54 a.m. CST

    What a spectacular movie...

    by brakywaki

    ...I'm surprised that you didn't mention that the big twist in this film was horribly similar to one in a film directed by a particular M. Night Shyamalan. I loved every frame of this film, but I wish I hadn't seen that other one first. Still, this film makes it very strange for me to view Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory anymore. But in a wonderful way.

  • Oct. 26, 2008, 11:21 a.m. CST

    "A movie a day" depresses me

    by Trazadone

    Every time I see "A movie a day" it's just sad. It's like saying , I have so little going on in my life that I can spend up to 3+ hours/day watching and writing movie reviews. Crack a window man, read a book, play outside.