Dead & Buried (1981) 1 brain1 brainhalf brain

In my search for zombie films I haven't seen, I've discovered that there's a reason that some films are hard to find: they suck. So it's a pleasant surprise to get to see a hard-to-find film that I enjoy, like I did this one. Perhaps I shouldn't have been too surprised; Dan O'Bannon, of Alien fame, wrote the screenplay, and he would later go on to write and direct The Return of the Living Dead.

The movie opens with a bang and never really lets up. Things are not well in the quiet town of Potter's Bluff. Strangers passing through end up horribly mutilated, and Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) is trying to find out who's responsible. As he gets deeper into his investigations, strange things start to happen, and he begins to wonder if there aren't at least a couple of dead people walking around.

This isn't a normal zombie movie; it's really more of a mystery with some voodoo thrown in (but not as an afterthought, it's an integral part of the plot). There are no advancing zombie hordes, just a slow revelation of the disturbing truth. That's not to say that the movie itself is slow. Those bodies have to come from somewhere, and we get to see where, in several well-done scenes. When people aren't being butchered, Sheriff Dan is busy following up clues.

The movie does have some flaws. The dialog is a little hokey in some parts, and it seems they had to dub it in on occasion, as well. This really didn't detract much from the movie, though. The cast does a fine job, and we get to see an early performance by Robert Englund. Fulci would like this film too, since there are some interesting scenes with eyeballs.