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|Index||14 reviews in total|
A woman leaves the Raven Croft Mental Facility, which for some reason
is filled with only women who do not seem insane, but more like
juvenile delinquents (played by women in their 20s and 30s, to be
sure). Outside, she's attacked by a short person in a Ronald Reagan
mask and pushed through a trapdoor down a very long chute. Mr. Reagan
shows up at the bottom of the chute seconds later, suggesting he has
his own chute nearby or an express elevator. It was lucky for him her
escape route passed by his trapdoor anyway.
The late Reagan is infamous for (among many other things!) being responsible for the closing of federally funded mental institutions, essentially kicking many patients out onto the streets. I wonder if this movie was trying to comment on that, in its own stupid way. The "Ronald Reagan Home for the Mentally Ill" in Airplane II may have been making a jab at the same thing. Anyway, a Reagan mask isn't really scary-looking. Even though it seems to be painted a solid color, suggesting the William Shatner mask in Halloween, it still looks like a caricature of Reagan, and thus, silly.
The next day a young woman shows up at the facility to be a teacher. On the way she has a Psycho moment when a sunglasses-wearing cop (Vosloo, years before the Mummy!) finds her asleep in her car. At the institution, she has some odd hallucinations relating to people falling down the chute (which she's never seen) or being walled up behind bricks.
And about those bricks - the killer walls people up behind a single row of red bricks which he does not appear to cement together. Even though he puts his prisoners in straitjackets, they could still simply push against the wall and have it fall down.
Donald Pleasance has a character that is ridiculous and serves practically no purpose except to be weird. John Carradine shows up for all of about ten seconds. I understand in his later years people would film him doing something, before even having an idea of what to do with it, just so they could put him in their movie. Perhaps this fits in with that.
Robert Vaughn looks, sounds, and dresses the same in this as in everything else I've seen him in. C'mon, an accent, some facial hair, and different haircut, do something to make your character superficially different! Or is it the director's fault?
The movie is definitely not adapted directly from Poe. It suggests The Black Cat, The Premature Burial, The Fall of the House of Usher, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether among others, without really having much to do with any of them except superficially.
BURIED ALIVE was to be the last film made by John Carradine during his lifetime (the old actor would later come back from the grave to appear in a few more movies). Edgar Allan Poe's name is mentioned in the title, but don't believe the hype. For this is just another cheap horror exploitation flick (what more can you expect from producer Harry alan Towers, who churned out some of the worse movies ever?) Nevertheless, it's enjoyable enough if only for the performances. Robert Vaughn (TEENAGE CAVEMAN) plays the director of a school/madhouse. Donald Pleasance is once again typecast as one of its loony inhabitants. His French voice is not the same as in the HALLOWEEN series, but it's as much fun. And John Carradine appears shortly, wheelchair-bound, in what constitutes a fitting, if not flamboyant, last blast of weirdness. That's about all you get from an otherwise poor-looking film...
The taglines that were sprawled across the colourful cover of this movie
would lead you to believe that it was some sort of a bizarre zombie flick!
Some secrets are best left buried. But will they stay there?' and The dead
return!' make this sound as if it's yet another attempt at a DAWN OF THE
DEAD rip-off! I bought it anyway, as it was one of those titles, which I had
seen many times on my travels, and I often wondered what it was like. (Stalk
and slash films aren't my only vice, you know!) I was pleasantly surprised
to find that it's pure slasher/whodunit right down to a masked killer
preying on young female students in an all girl reform school! Another point
that also first attracted me was the fact that it claims to be adapted from
the works of Edgar Allan Poe. By that I'm sure they must mean his short
story The premature burial'. There's a TV movie with exactly the same name,
that funnily enough was also released in the same year (although this was
made two years earlier) that also based itself' on that novel! To be
thoroughly honest, apart from the odd black cat popping up here and there,
it looks as if director Gerard Kikoine who started out in the business
filming porn had only added the homage to that renowned horror author as a
smart publicity stunt to put bums on seats! I couldn't have seen Poe writing
a script for a silly slasher, no matter how insane he was!
It opens with some gloomy shots of an eerie looking building silhouetted by the foggy night sky. The sign outside reads Ravenscroft Reform School' and Inside we see a group of teenage girls all deeply sleeping, except for one dark-haired youngster who looks as if she's packing her things to make a daring escape. She puts her rucksack on her back and heads towards the exit. Just before she leaves, her friend calls her back and gives her a leaving present - a blue switchblade and then she says her goodbyes and heads out into the misty night sky. (Cushty security for a reform school don't ya think!) She hotfoots it through the woods, until she spots a car driving along a road in the distance. She takes a break for just a second, and all of a sudden a masked assailant jumps out from within the bushes and violently knocks her on to the floor. He picks her up and drops her into a man made pothole and she falls into a corrugated steel tube that leads into a dank and spooky underground chamber. She awakes to see the grisly psycho standing menacingly above her. He injects her with a sedative, puts her in a straight jacket and then drags her by the feat to a cramped cell-like room. Once inside the assassin begins to brick and cement up the doorway, effectively leaving her Buried Alive' (Hence the title!) Next we meet a young science teacher named Janet Pendleton (Karen Witter) who has just got a job teaching at the college. We also see the head doctor Gary Julian (Robert Vaughn), his twitchy assistant Dr. Schaeffer (Donald Pleasence) and a group of bitchy female co-eds who enjoy nothing more than pulling each others hair out! (Literally!) When another girl goes missing from the campus, Janet becomes suspicious and investigates the history of Ravenscroft, only to find a sincere and shocking secret. But who is it that is violently killing the young helpless girls?
With a cast including Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence, John Carradine as well as porn star Ginger Allen, and plot that pits a group of saucy female co-eds against a vicious psychopath, BURIED ALIVE seemed like a dead cert for a decent splatter flick. Director Kikoine attempts to seduce you with his claim that it's adapted from the twisted mind of Edgar Allan Poe, but sadly he fails to deliver on most accounts. For a start, what the hell was wrong with Donald Pleasence here? He plays arguably the most obnoxious character ever set to the silver screen, - a million miles away from his legendary Sam Loomis - complete with phoney looking toupee and an overly dodgy German accent! The dialogue is also laughable. In one scene Miss Pendleton has another of her strange nightmares, which begin plaguing her as soon as she arrives on campus. She ends up lying on the floor, panting, sweating and chillingly screaming. Dr Julian witnesses her strange fit' and instead of rushing to her aid, calmly asks is something wrong?' I expected her to say sarcastically nah, I'm just hysterical for the fun of it' (!) but instead she quickly recovers and mutters I'm fine' Hmmm! Also at one point the doctor asks the shaky scream queen' if she'll marry him. The funny thing is, the two of them only met a couple of days earlier and haven't even shared so much as a date yet? I kept wondering if I missed something when I blinked or sipped on my warm cup of tea!
There are some creative ways to kill of the cast on offer here. These include a painful looking electrocution; a trough in the side of the head and a young girl gets buried up to her waste in wet cement! When she screams for help, she gets a mouthful of the soggy muck to shut her up! There are also those victims who get bricked up in a cold room and effectively buried alive', which are the main ingredients of the feature. The director at least shows promise with a couple of decent ideas. There are some morbid shots of each rotten corridor of the creepy chamber accompanied by victim's screams as they get dragged to their demise. Each unlucky individual spots a black cat before they are dispatched, which is clearly the only real noticeable element lifted from Poe. There's also at least one pretty gory scene to liven you up if you're nodding off. A female teen is curling her hair on a food mixer (?) when she's scared by an unseen menace (presumably the masked killer), and ends up drilling into her head and pulling her hair completely off Ouch!
This was the last film that John Carradine worked on before his unfortunate death in 1988, which sadly wasn't the greatest flick to finish off a 5-decade career in the movies with. It's not that it doesn't try; it's just that it never really manages to go anywhere. It's occasionally interesting but mostly dull and un-atmospheric. To be honest, you're better of taking a look at the other made for TV flick with the same moniker it's a much stronger effort!
This film is awful. I rented it because at our store it was $0.99 Thursday rental. The movie was very slow paced and did not keep one's attention. Robert Vaughn has got to be one of the worst actors. Has he ever done anything other than B movies. No. He is that bad. Donald Pleasence was casted, but had such a small role that one could not judge his abilities. The only part I did like was the brick work which is movie is loosely based on. 2/10
Compared to some of the other films based on Poe short stories that were made during the late eighties - Alan Birkinshaw's "The House of Usher" and Fred Olen Ray's "Haunting Fear" to name a couple - former porn director Gerard Kikoine's "Buried Alive" isn't all that bad ... but then again, that's not saying much. In fact, it is extremely difficult to make sense of it, and I for one couldn't help being annoyed by Donald Pleasance's character Dr. Scheffer. He has the obligatory German accent and a fake looking wig to boot, and for some reason he is presented in closeups most of the time. A real pity that this turned out to be horror legend John Carradine's last picture. I don't know whether he died during filming or after the film had been made, but for his sake I hope that he left before he got a chance to see it. Watch Stuart Gordon's "The Pit and the Pendulum" - or even better, Dario Argento's contribution to 1991's "Two Evil Eyes" - instead.
Come on folks, this is a really good B type thriller.
If you don't like seeing the teacher Janet (Karen Witter, former playboy gal) in sexy professional outfits being chased by the evil doctor (Vaughn) through the dark basement, you need to pop a Viagra pill.
I enjoyed seeing the girl school atmosphere and the hot, saucy, petulant chicks trying to get "reformed".
Sure there are some faults, like the brick wall, undeveloped love interest with the cop. more mayhem, more nudity, etc.
But as a fun movie with some popcorn and beer. it can't be beat. I will gladly buy this for a couple of bucks, if I could find it. It seems to be one of the later or last films of the director's career.
Can't believe this genre isn't made again and again.
Plot: hot chicks in various sexy outfits in a girls school are menaced by the evil
controllers of the reform school. Ya' got the green light on this one.
Is this Poe or a sequel to "Reform School Girls"?! The plot has something to do with a young teacher who arrives at a girls' mental facility (or is it a home for delinquent girls?) to discover that some of them are disappearing without a trace. It turns out they're being sucked through the ground into little tubes for whatever ominous reason. My favorite scene is when a teen girl (who looks 35) is curling her hair in the kitchen with a mixer (!) and ends up getting scalped with it. There's something fabulously trashy about this movie, but it has no right to carry the Edgar Allen Poe moniker before it's title. It has about as much to do with Poe as it does with Shakespeare.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A woman goes to teach at the Ravenscroft Institute , finding that some
secrets better stay buried....
This movie has a pretty good cast which includes Donal Pleasence, Robert Vaughn, Nia Long , and even John Carradine. There are even early appearances by Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy),and William Butler ( NOTLD'90). Donald Pleasence is a very versatile actor, but is wasted in this movie. Carradine appears for only 10-15 seconds. The lead actress Karen Witter doesn't do anything at all , except for screaming.
The plot is OK, but i expected more gore. Though, there is one good death scene, the movie lacks the intence, and is very boring at times. There's enough suspense, but its not compensated with enough action.
I wasn't satisfied. Maybe someone will. 5/10
I love this movie to death. Its b-grade schlock of the highest caliber. My mother rented it around '95 or somewhere around that time, thinking it was a made-for-TV movie with the same title. I would've sworn it had been made in the early '80s for its pure b-movie quality. I honestly can't say if the overall effect was intended, but it succeeds effortlessly to capture the last days of the slasher film (cum Poe inspired imagery) genre. Long story short, a new teacher arrives at the Ravenscroft Institute, a girl-school staffed with lunatics. Not surprisingly she begins having hallucinations/nightmares as her pupils disappear one by one--in laughingly inventive ways. The only complaint I have is with Robert Vaughn who I absolutely can't stand. But even so I wouldn't have changed a thing. Get some friends (or develop multiple personalities) together, get a pizza and watch this movie. Its the essence of life.
Although the overall plot is obvious, the details are baffling; characters have dreams/visions/hallucinations that are never explained; most exposition parts seem to have been cut out; the film moves from one warped scene to another instead of trying to build some atmosphere. Robert Vaughn is utterly unconvincing in the first half of the film (though he improves later on), and Donald Pleasence is irritating as the doctor/possible suspect who mostly comes across as just a senile old man. (*1/2)
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