Review - DEAD AND BURIED (1981)

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

You’re travelling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead! Your next stop… Potters Bluff?

I must admit, that as a self-described horror movie fanatic, I’ve made it my personal mission to watch as many classic horror movies from the past 60 years that I possibly could. However, there will always be a few gems that slip through the cracks for one reason or another. Somehow, Gary Sherman’s 1981 masterpiece, Dead and Buried, seemed to have found one of those cracks to slip through, because I have been missing out on the brilliant originality of this film for years.

Gary Sherman, while he might not be the most prolific horror director, had 1972’s Death Line under his belt before taking a second crack at the director’s chair in 1981 and to be quite frank, it is a shame that he waited so long. It is also worth noting that Sherman directed the poorly-received 1988 Poltergeist III, which, for its own unfortunate circumstances (including the tragic death of the series star, Heather O’Rourke), failed to perform well with critics. Unfortunately for us, following Poltergeist III, Sherman's three directorial projects have been (for the most part) obscured from the mainstream and he has since focused his talents on teaching. With all of that said, Sherman did a fantastic job at bringing this film to life and his direction of the surprisingly well-acted, low budgeted film was nothing short of a happy miracle.

Speaking of happy miracles, the only reason this film ended up on my watch list at all was due to its labelling as a ‘Video Nasty’ and subsequent banning in the UK. Without getting into spoilers, while the film does give horror fans some intriguing and beautifully designed gory special effects from the brilliant, academy award winning effects artist, Stan Winston, I would refrain from labelling this film as truly disturbing and gory… but maybe years and years of seeing blood and guts in some of my favourite films has compromised my ability to label a film as utterly disgusting. While Dead and Buried was nothing compared to the gore in Evil Dead, let’s just say that Stan Winston channeled his inner Tom Savini with this one.

Call it black magic. Call it a medical breakthrough. Call it one of the most criminally underrated horror films from the early 80s. If you’re looking for a gore-fest with an original story, surprisingly good acting and a surprise visit from Robert Englund without a red and green striped sweater, check out Dead and Buried. You won’t live to regret it.


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