Movie Review: Dead & Buried (1981)

Dead & Buried 3

Dead & Buried (1981)
Directed by Gary Sherman
Starring James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Lisa Blount, Robert Englund, Bill Quinn, Barry Corbin, Michael Pataki, Macon McCalman

I recently re-watched this film for the umpteenth time and realized that not I didn’t have a review up, but it is one that I think is highly underrated. A really good and original story, an incredible cast, and some simply amazing special effects work by Stan Winston, a few years before he would change the future with Terminator (1984).

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The film starts off with a photographer on the beach of Potter’s Bluff, a small coastal town, where he comes across a beautiful blonde woman (Lisa Blount) wearing bright red blouse. In fact, that is the only time you will see the color red in the entire movie, something that director Sherman was adamant about. But as she starts to seduce the photographer, his is suddenly surround by the locals and they don’t look too happy. That’s all I’m going to say of the plot because it is a great story and if you’ve never seen it, it is fun to follow the sheriff as he tries to figure out what is going on.

DEAD AND BURIED, Lisa Blount, 1981

But not only is it the story that I love, but the characters that fill out this little sleepy town that make it so much fun. James Farentino plays the sheriff that is confused as hell as what he is slowly discovering, because it just doesn’t make any sense to him. For me, the highlight of all the townsfolk is the local mortician, William G. Dobbs, played (in his last film role that he appeared in) Jack Albertson. With this antiquated clothes and music, large almost fisheye glasses, he is more worried about his “art” at the mortuary will be lost if there is a closed casket! He is a joy every minute he is on screen.

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The rest of the town is filled with plenty of familiar faces from Michael Pataki, Barry Corbin, Bill Quinn, to even Robert Englund, a few years before he became a star. Of course, we can’t forget to mention Melody Anderson, fresh from her saving the world with the help of Flash Gordon (1980).

The real star of this film is the work performed by makeup guru Stan Winston. Once again, it’s hard to go into any detail without giving away any plot points, but let’s just say there is a scene where Dobbs is “fixing” a young girl who was brutally murdered, with half her face based in. We get to see the process done as he recreates her. That is all Winston. In fact, in the overhead shots when we only see hands, that actually is Winston. There is a reason he because as big of a star in the effects world and watching this is a prime example.

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Director Sherman has done an exceptional job here because he makes the out of the way town of Potter’s Bluff seem so real, not to mention damn creepy. With some beautiful shots with fog everywhere but lights shining through, to more than a few really good jump scares throughout the film, it really shows his talent.

If you haven’t seen this one yet, please find it and watch it. You’ll enjoy it. And if you have seen it before, maybe it’s time to bust it out and again and maybe start spreading the word at how great of a film this is.

4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Dead & Buried (1981)

  1. This is a favorite of mine as well and it is probably the one film that I recommend the most when people ask me to recommend something they may not have seen.

    Liked by 1 person

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