Dead & Buried (1981)
By: Ryan Morrissey-Smith on March 31, 2014 | Comments
Cinema Cult | Region Free | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD MA 7.1 | 93 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Gary A. Sherman
Starring: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield
Screenplay: Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon
Country: USA
Dead & Buried turns out to be a somewhat unfairly ignored horror film from the 80s, which is unfortunate because it deserves a mention along with other more well known titles of that era.

When a series of murders happen in the small town of Potter's Bluff, the sheriff of the town Dan Gillis (James Farentino) thinks that there is something even more sinister behind the murders. As he discovers and uncovers more and more secrets about the town, the terrible truth is revealed... and I won't go into more detail than that so I can steer clear of any spoilers.

Dead & Buried's structure is different because early on you'll know who the killers are, but you won't know the reasons behind their actions. This sets up a weird dynamic as you get frustrated that the sheriff can't figure it out, but at the same time you become intrigued as story unfolds and bit by bit the pieces fall into place.

Gary Sherman directs this well without going over-the-top, save for the early kills where he gets up close to the victims as things get unpleasant. He also frames his shots nicely, with cinematographer Steven Poster managing to create some very creepy images. The writing is ok, and certainly no worse than any other horror film around the time.

The gore effects are generally excellent, with Stan Winston doing most of the FX work. The kills are all very nasty and include burning alive, stabbing, slicing, needles in eyes and a huge rock smashed down on a face, all of them show off Winston's (obvious) effects talent. The music is good too, adding to the sometimes creepy atmosphere.

Dead & Buried isn't all that scary. It has some creepy moments but it's probably best summed-up as more of a suspense thriller than a straight out horror film.
The Disc
Cinema Cult's Blu Ray is no frills affair. The film is presented in 1080p and in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and appears be a straight transfer without any mastering. The amount of film grain makes it seem like it is snowing, especially in the night scenes. The interior shots don't fare that much better, and whilst it's a long way from being unwatchable it just doesn't look great for Blu Ray release. The audio is DTS-HD 7.1 which sounds great, everything was clear despite a touch of white noise near the beginning. The only extra included here is a trailer for the film.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
An over looked gem with a smarter than average script for its time, Dead & Buried is well worth picking up, especially for those looking to add to their 80s horror collection. Whilst the disc isn't anything special, the film is certainly worth it.

Now to wait for the inevitable remake...
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