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Potters Bluff, Rhode Island. may seem to be a sleepy little town. At least for the casual visitor and the local sheriff, Daniel Gillis. However, all of a sudden, there are a lot of strange murders where strangers or people passing through are killed by mobs of townspeople. Only Sheriff Gillis has no clue to what's going on. Fortunately, the town has an excellent undertaker, William G. Dobbs, who is happy to take care of this sudden death-wave which is good for his business. Gillis soon discovers clues that lead to many of the local inhabitants involved in the killings, including his own wife Janet. Written by
The effects team who created the "dissolving head" effect for Doc's murder mentioned in an interview that the director had originally told them that he wanted to do the scene in one unbroken shot, meaning they had to build a head that was both convincing and also would "melt" the way they wanted it to. They lamented the fact that, while they did the best they could with what they had, the director ended up using a cutaway shot anyway, which would have given them the opportunity to make the scene much more realistic. 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 »
You can try to kill me, Dan. But you can't. You can only make me dead.
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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 resurrected...as 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!
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