DEAD & BURIED (1981) Reviews and overview

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Dead & Buried is a 1981 American horror film directed by Gary Sherman (Poltergeist III; Death Line) from a screenplay written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett (Alien). It stars Melody Anderson, James Farentino and Jack Albertson.

In the UK, despite being released to cinemas with a BBFC ‘X’ certificate, the film was subsequently banned as a ‘video nasty‘. However, it was later acquitted of obscenity charges and removed from the Director of Public Prosecutions’ nasties list. Ironically, some of the gorier scenes – courtesy of Stan Winston – had been added during post-production in an effort to beef up the horror content to keep pace with contemporary horror trends.



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…

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The movie was subsequently novelized by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. In a 1983 interview with Starburst, O’Bannon disowned the film (he claimed that Shusett had written the script by himself but needed O’Bannon’s name on the project, and promised he’d make some changes; on seeing the finished film O’Bannon realised Shusett had done nothing of the sort, but it was too late for him to take his name off the credits).

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  • Audio Commentary #1 with Director Gary A. Sherman
  • Audio Commentary #2 with Co-Writer/Co-Producer Ronald Shusett and Actress Linda Turley
  • Audio Commentary #3 with Cinematographer Steve Poster
  • Stan Winston’s Dead & Buried EFX
  • Robert Englund: An Early Work of Horror
  • Dan O’Bannon: Crafting Fear
  • Theatrical Trailers


Reviews [click links to read more]:

“As melancholy and twisted as a mainstream ’80s horror film could possibly be, Dead and Buried has gradually earned its sleeper reputation over the years but still hasn’t received the kind of credit it deserves. This peculiar blend of small town menace, zombies, voodoo, and jolting plot twists still packs a punch today…” Mondo Digital

“Anyone unfamiliar with this largely unknown shocker is in for a real treat […] combines a series of genuinely horrifying images with macabre humor and a cold, fog-shrouded atmosphere.” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide

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” …another fine homage to the EC Comics style of horror, with a story that also echoes the structure of a classic Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode […] a late-night treat that works best with the lights off and no foreknowledge of what’s to come.”Arnold T. Blumberg, Zombiemania: 80 Movies to Die For

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“Director Gary Sherman manages to create some very atmospheric sequences and gives us a few decent frights along the way (even years after first seeing it, the “corpse in the car” scene managed to scare the absolute life out of me!) while splatter lovers will not be disappointed with the level of gore on offer…” Digital Retribution

” …builds suspense effective and plays its genuine twists well, so long as you don’t ask too many questions of the everyone-is-in-on-it-but-one-person plot.” Peter Dendle, The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia

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Cast and characters:

  • James Farentino as Sheriff Dan Gillis
  • Melody Anderson as Janet Gillis
  • Jack Albertson as William G. Dobbs
  • Dennis Redfield as Ron
  • Nancy Locke as Linda
  • Lisa Blount as Girl on the Beach / Lisa
  • Robert Englund as Harry
  • Bill Quinn as Ernie
  • Michael Currie as Herman
  • Christopher Allport as George LeMoyne / Freddie
  • Joseph G. Medalis as The Doctor
  • Macon McCalman as Ben
  • Lisa Marie as The Hitchhiker
  • Estelle Omens as Betty
  • Barry Corbin as Phil
  • Michael Pataki as Sam


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