Back in the late 1970’s and into the 1980’s, horror cinema appeared to be on a crusade to push the envelope regarding gore. Unfortunately, many of the films released at the time were either inferior productions or, after a few years, myriad sequels that repeated ad nauseam popular hits from yesteryear.
There are few horror films from that era that stick with me, but those that do, like the original Alien, have stuck with me for a very long time. The 1981 film Dead and Buried boasts being made by “the creators of Alien“. Does it come anywhere close to that classic?
The plot? Well, that winds up being the movie’s biggest problem. Not that the story presented is bad, necessarily, only that once it plays out one realizes this was maybe a one hour Twilight Zone/Outer Limits type story stretched out -too far!- into a feature length film.
Basically, the story goes like this: In the very small seaside town of Potter’s Bluff (a place that looks like it could be found in your typical H. P. Lovecraft story), a man goes to a lonely shore and takes nature pictures. He is surprised when a beautiful blonde (Lisa Blount) appears and becomes very friendly with him. But all is not as it seems and he is attacked and, it appears, killed.
When his torched vehicle shows is found, the town’s Sheriff, Dan Gillis (James Farentino) investigates along with quirky coroner William Dobbs (Jack Albertson, in one of his last movie roles) what happened to the man. As the investigation goes on, strange things happen in and around the town. Further, Gillis finds himself growing increasingly suspicious of the extra-curricular activities of his wife (the gorgeous Melody Anderson).
As I said before, all is certainly not as it seems and before the story is over Sheriff Gillis will uncover the eerie secrets of his hometown.
I don’t want to elaborate any more but suffice to say that despite an obvious very low budget Dead and Buried maintains a good level of suspense and delivers on its shocking gore. The story, as mentioned, wasn’t enough to sustain a feature film and therefore the filmmakers had to add more victims to the story to fill out time. Given the conclusion, one couldn’t help but wonder why there was such a need to have each victim so brutally killed..
Still, for a 30 plus year old film, Dead and Buried remains a decent enough horror feature with some still quite good special effects. For those who enjoy the horror films of this era, this is an easy recommendation.