Dead and Buried, 1981
dir. Gary A. Sherman
Is it silly to call this delightful? Because it is! It’s just a delightful watch. As a horror fan, I had a wonderful time watching this because it’s such a good film.
There’s not much to it in terms of plot, no crazy schemes or mastermind plans, it’s very simple and straightforward, and we are presented to it very slowly. About 80% of the film is build up, and you wonder what’s happening, who’s doing this, what’s going on. Which characters are in on it, what’s the purpose of the plan? Are they just evil? Are they on a mission to keep their small town spotless so they can win the Village of the Year award? (wait– wrong movie.)
But, yeah, structurally, it’s a tight film. The lead has things to do, and he’s not stupid about doing them. He’s the sheriff and he asks the right questions and goes searching for answers. The other characters are all on the cusp of suspicion at all times which is really interesting because you never really know who to trust. And the twist itself is really fun, especially because even at the very end, they refuse to actually explain anything. It’s excellent! I don’t want to credit it all to Dan O’Bannon because he co-wrote this with Ronald Shusett, but I don’t care — you go Dan O’Bannon! He has blessed my horror marathon once again from his little perch in the clouds. RIP, my friend.
In addition to the story itself, the horror set pieces are really cool as well. Some great kills, and wonderful make-up work by the one and only Stan Winston. Really wonderful.
If you haven’t seen this yet, do it immediately! It should be on every horror fan’s library.