20 September 2011

September 20th

Dead & Buried (1981) directed by Gary Sherman
My favorite part of these annual horror marathons is finding good movies I've overlooked.  Sadly, this is a rare occurrence.  Not only have I already seen a great many horror movies in my time, but -- let's be honest -- the awesome-to-wretched ratio for the genre ain't that great. Dead & Buried is an early '80s gem with a completely unique take on the zombie genre.  It's so unique, I didn't even realize I was watching a zombie movie until about the halfway point.

I was sold on the movie right from the beginning sequence.  The film starts with a photographer meeting a pretty girl on a beach in New England.  Prompted by the girl, they exchange increasingly flirty banter until it looks like the photographer is about to get lucky.  Just as he moves in for a kiss, a group of the townsfolk -- including the girl -- descend on him in a flurry violence.  The violence comes absolutely out of nowhere and the contrast between the amorous flirting and the surprisingly brutal beating is shocking.

Coming from the writing team behind Alien, I guess I shouldn't be surprised to find the story very well constructed.  James Farentino as Sheriff Gillis attempts to unravel the mystery behind a spate of killings in his small town.  As he gets deeper into the case, he keeps unburying information that, perhaps, he'd rather not know; about the fellow his hit with his car, about his wife, about the town mortician and about himself.  As his world falls apart, so does he mentally and physically.

Farentino's amazing performance -- watch his agony as he complies with his wife's request to bury her -- a great script and a unique premise overcome a few bad SFX and music cues to make an excellent start to my Halloween celebration. (8/10)

Hitch (2004)
A Man and His Finger (2004)
Inside (2004)
Shadows of the Dead (2004)
Mr. Eryams (2004)
Disturbances (2004)
Song of the Dead (2004)

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