Dead and Buried (1981) Review

Dead and Buried 1981

Potters Bluff seems like an idyllic coastal town. But as is the case in many a horror film, just below the surface lurks a dark, sinister secret.

The problem is, visitors to the town keep turning up dead, and it’s no accident. When someone new arrives in the area a group of locals targets them, luring them into a situation from which they can’t escape before murdering them horribly.

For local Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farrantino), this issue is getting out of hand. He has been in the area a while and had no reason to expect that something was rotten until the rate of incidents increased. He was hoping for a quiet time but soon the inconvenience leads to confusion as his investigations don’t get far thanks to crafty cover-ups by the murderous culprits.

Dead and Buried 1981

As the Sheriff delves deeper things take a dramatic turn when the deceased make a miraculous return to the world of the living, reanimated and reappearing as if nothing happened.

As he digs further he discovers that a dark magic could be the cause of these unusual, gruesome events and worse still, that the people responsible are closer to him than he thinks.

Dead and Buried is one of those films that everyone has either seen or heard all about. But in an era so full of classic horror, it’s easy to have missed it. As with its generational peers, you are treated to a feast of nostalgic elements such as sax and strings rich soundtrack, plenty of real SFX gore and even the appearance of a horror stalwart in the form of Robert Englund.

The plot is wobbly and implausible at times, but fun. And the performances are wholehearted, though bordering on soap opera.
These slight flaws are typical of the era and are easily forgiven thanks to the unique elements, such as the new spin on the zombie genre, which was itself in its infancy. And it no doubt had an influence on many of its successors, such as Reanimator (1985).

Dead and Buried 1981

The film also has a few nice twists – the ending being the greatest – which adds to its value and leaves the audience with a satisfying pay-off that they are likely to want to revisit.

All these qualities are rather surprising given the relative low profile of the film with a production team that had little notable experience prior to Dead and Buried’s release (bar one of the producers – Ronald Shusett, who had previously worked on Alien).

For those that haven’t seen it, Dead and Buried is the undiscovered eighties gem that they need to add to their watch list. And to watch it again is a sentimental trip to simpler times, when horror was innovative, entertaining and not taking itself too seriously.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ★ ☆ 

Dead and Buried is currently streaming on W4free. You can watch it for free here:



Tom Atkinson

Tom is one of the editors at Love Horror. He has been watching horror for a worryingly long time, starting on the Universal Monsters and progressing through the Carpenter classics. He has a soft-spot for eighties horror.More

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