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Dead & Buried (1981)

R  |   |  Horror, Mystery  |  29 May 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 6,598 users  
Reviews: 100 user | 95 critic

A suspense horror film set in a small coastal town where, after a series of gory murders commited by mobs of townspeople against visiting tourists, the corpses begin to come back to life.


(as Gary A. Sherman)


(story), (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: Dead & Buried (1981)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Dan Gillis
Janet Gillis
William G. Dobbs
Linda (as Nancy Locke Hauser)
Girl on the Beach / Nurse Lisa
Michael Currie ...
George Le Moyne / Freddie
Joseph G. Medalis ...
Doctor (as Joe Medalis)
Estelle Omens ...


Sheriff Dan Gillis has a nice life with his wife, the teacher Janet Gillis, in the small coastal and friendly town of Potter's Bluff. When visitors are mysterious killed in the town, Sheriff Gillis investigates the cases carefully and finds that dead people are reanimating and coming back to life. Dan finds a book of witchcraft and voodoo in his wife's drawer and he suspects that she might be practicing black magic. Dan meets the coroner-mortician William G. Dobbs and learns the dreadful and surprising secret. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It will take your breath away... all of it. See more »


Horror | Mystery


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 May 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El despertar de los muertos  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The films plot was re-edited numerous times throughout the production. Originally the attack on the family occurred later in the film, after the hitchhikers murder, which is why the resurrected hitchhiker can be seen among the attackers during the scene with the traveling family in the old house. See more »


The hitchhiker can be seen as a zombie before she is actually killed, reconstructed and brought back to life. This is because the abandoned house scene - where she is clearly visible as one of the dead townfolk - was originally placed in the film after her resurrection. See more »


[repeated line]
Ernie: Welcome to Potters Bluff!
See more »


Referenced in Robot Ninja (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the "best" of the "worst"...
20 February 2001 | by (Arlington, VA.) – See all my reviews

It didn't occur to me until my later years, when I became an avid 'credit reader,' to make the connection between DEAD AND BURIED and two other low-budget gems that totally blew my mind: the earlier, gorier (but not by much) DEATH LINE, released in the U.S. under the appetizing title RAW MEAT, and a nasty-but-nifty little cop thriller called VICE SQUAD, which has the distinction of sporting quite possibly the smarmiest, most memorably evil performance that Wings Hauser ever gave in his entire career.

The gore ante has been upped so much at the movies nowadays, that you literally have to take the top of somebody's head off to get a rise out of the audience, (see HANNIBAL). But there was a time, either when we were more naive, or when lower budgets demanded it, that directors of low-budget horror fare knew that if you were going for the gross-out, you had to make it effective to scare the bejesus out of moviegoers. Gary Sherman was one of the few talented directors who knew this, and he went to town on my nerves with this, which I saw for the first time on video many years ago.

Some of the plot points maybe as murky as the atmospheric photography is at times, but one thing is certainly made clear: TV-friendly character actor-turned-spooky-town M.E. Jack Albertson is definitely up to no good. Travelers and transients who are innocently passing through the little, picturesque seacoast town where he plies his trade, are being found horribly murdered, only to be townies! Voodoo is somehow involved, as are some of the most violently graphic dispatchings commended to film for that time period.

James Farentino and Melody Anderson, known mostly for TV movie appearances (and in Melody's case, FLASH...aaaa-aaahhh!) do serviceable jobs as the town sheriff and his wife, who become more embroiled in the mystery than they'd like, and Robert Englund joins the proceedings, usually making his formidably creepy presence more than welcome, (until he came into his own as Freddy). But this is definitely Albertson's baby, and he relishes breaking out of his casting niche after all those episodes of CHICO AND THE MAN. Good thing, too, since it was one of his last performances. Sadly, as it is with most talented character actors, he was never recognized for his stage work as much as what he left on film, but his D&B role is a nice antithesis to the kindly Grandpa George in WILLY WONKA.

Also: Dan O'Bannon wouldn't be able to catch the lightning-in-a-bottle he captured with ALIEN again, until his severed-tongue-in-cheek rendering of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, his playfully amped-up homage to George Romero's masterpiece.

FOOTNOTE: D&B's releasing woes had nothing to do with its low-budget status. The original releasing company, Vestron, went belly-up and had to file for Chapter 11 more than once, leaving movies like this in limbo until the legal problems could be satisfactorily settled. It took a while for the video release, but it was worth the wait.

Oh, and no matter how mind-boggling the gore gets, you'll still want to watch it twice, just to see how you missed being clued in on the head-spinning climax!

16 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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More recommendations... PottersBluff
Personally, I'd like to see this remade. gillmanfan2000
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What happens at the end? robynkash
If they ever remake this movie... cynsarcast
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