Back in horror’s glory ‘gory’ days in the early 80s, flicks would often be pitched, and remembered, for the in-your-face special effects.

With behind the scenes stars like make-up guru Tom Savini becoming as big a draw as the cast themselves, gorehounds would seek out the most outlandish splatter work and lap it up.

Which is why, for the few that have seen Dead and Buried, it will probably be remembered as ‘the one where the guy gets a hypodermic needle through the eyeball’.

That particular effect was created by Stan Winston, but to dismiss this film as a simple bloodbath is pretty wide of the mark.

Yes, there are some pretty gruesome murders, and the abovementioned needle scene is still pretty effective, but director Gary Sherman’s effort is as much concerned with mood and atmosphere as it is with cheap hokum.

Scripted by ‘Alien’ scribes Dan O’Bannon and Ron Shusett, Dead and Buried has echoes of The Fog, The Stepford Wives and any other identity-based horror movies.

James Farentino takes the lead as Sheriff Dan Gillis, the law enforcement in sleepy coastal town Potters Bluff.

All seems great among the friendly locals, but, as to be expected, it turns out something sinister is going on.

For chances are, any visitors to the town may never end up leaving courtesy of a nefarious scheme involving the town elders and coroner Dobbs (Jack Albertson).

To go into too much detail would give the game away, but there are plenty of twists and turns as Sheriff Gillis eventually uncovers the truth.

Sherman, who produced another memorable horror with his London underground-set Death Line (aka Raw Meat) back in 1973, certainly knows how to build suspense and there is a pleasantly creepy vibe throughout.

Some of the acting errs on the dodgy side, and, as always in horror films, there is some stupid decision-making on the part of the central characters.

On top of that, genre fans also get the bonus of a pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund, who pops up as one of the villainous townfolk.

Dead and Buried is far from a classic, but it is certainly worth tracking down and checking out if you are need a quick horror fix.

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.