Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


James Farentino
DEAD AND BURIED (1981). Director: Gary Sherman.

Dan Gillis (James Farentino) is the sheriff at the small town of Potter's Bluff, which suddenly seems to have an epidemic of homicide. Mutilated corpses are turning up, and we see that the perpetrators are gangs of ordinary citizens attacking outsiders. Dan, however, is even more perplexed than the audience, especially when one of the victims turns up alive with a new identity. Dan's paranoia increases when he suspects that the town's old mortician, Dobbs (Jack Albertson), who is also the medical examiner, may know more than he's saying, and when he finds that his wife, Janet (Melody Anderson), has been reading a book on witchcraft. Then he gets a piece of film that reveals the true horror of the situation, and one especially shocking revelation ...

Jack Albertson
Dead and Buried counts many things among its influences, Frankenstein chief among them, but it also has its own originality if you take it with a grain of salt. There are scenes that go on too long (the opening especially), but otherwise the film is well-paced and consistently suspenseful. Although Jack Albertson [The Subject Was Roses] would not have been my first choice for the role of Dobbs, he's still effective and never chews the scenery. Farentino is excellent, adroitly handling a difficult role, and Melody Anderson [Flash Gordon] is also on target as his wife. The supporting cast, which includes a pre-Freddie Krueger Robert Englund, is well-chosen. Although there are several exciting and chilling sequences in the film, perhaps the most memorably disturbing is an attack on a frightened family in an old abandoned house. The gruesome make ups are expertly handled by Stan Winston. Director Gary Sherman originally wanted this to be a black comedy, but, fortunately, the movie, despite its absurd aspects, is played straight.

Verdict: Very creepy picture with a disquieting premise. ***.


angelman66 said...

Will look this up. Just saw Jack Albertson in his Oscar winning role in Subject Was Roses opposite Patricia Neal and Martin Sheen. Great actor, I remember him from Chico and the Man on TV, and he is in my collection as Shelley Winters's hubby in Poseidon Adventure and as Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka...

William said...

He had a long and distinguished career. He was very ill while making this, his last movie, I believe, but he managed to make it to the premiere.