Y'know, I've been chastised before for calling a film "lost" that technically isn't really a lost film after all. I can respect that, the word "lost" does indeed hold a very special meaning to film fanatics across the globe. Let's use a new word today, shall we? How about, forgotten. Yes, that'll do quite nicely; Dead & Buried is one of those great forgotten horror flicks from the 80's. I'm so proud of myself. It's hard to tell exactly what happened, perhaps it just got lost (oops!) within the early 80's sludge that was so prevalent at the time, or maybe it was just too sophisticated for audiences. Who knows, cause Dead & Buried is an impressive fright flick that manages to transcend the realm of cheesy horror and I'm glad to see it's been given new life in this splendid 2-disc special edition DVD. Blue Underground has done it again.
I'm going to keep this description brief, because if I give too much away, you'll want me to be dead n' buried - hehe. Get it? Whatever, it's late. Anyway, something bizarre is happening in the town of Potters Bluff. Some of the local townspeople have been going on murderous rampages, filming the grisly deaths as they take place. Outsiders aren't safe, the minute a stranger hits town, the locals are on your tail. The town's sheriff (James Farentino) and Dobbs the mortician (veteran film and TV actor Jack Albertson) may be Potters only hope, maybe. That's all your gonna get in the description department folks, if you've never seen Dead & Buried, you'll need to dig deep to discover the morbidly shocking secret that Potters Bluff holds for it's residents and visitors alike.
The first thing you'll notice from the get go with Dead and Buried is the fact that it's not crap. This is a definite step in the right direction, especially when discussing early 80's horror. The fact is that Dead & Buried has a definite sense of style and class that elevates it above and beyond meaningless fluff. It's not a horror flick that's just marginally entertaining. Attention to detail is key, something Dead & Buried has plenty of. Quite a team has been assembled here from Dan O'Bannon (who claims in the extras that he didn't have quite as much to do with the screenplay as some would suspect) hot off the heels of Alien and soon ready to strike back with Return of the Living Dead. Special effect were provided by a young Stan Winston, the film was directed by Gary Sherman (Death Line) and also features an appearance by Robert Englund, everyone is in such great company here.
With a great crew, and heaps of fine spooky atmosphere, Dead & Buried is in a class all it's own. The film has a few scares and some gore, but what makes the film so special is the fact that it just exudes terror from nearly start to finish. Best of all, Dead & Buried is never cheesy. I wouldn't necessarily rank it as one of the greatest horror films of all time, but it certainly ranks up there as one of the true greats - if that makes any sense. In any event, if you have yet to discover the joys of Dead & Buried and claim yourself to be a true fan of horror, you owe it to yourself to give this disc a once over.
Dead & Buried was available once before courtesy of DRAGON as an import PAL DVD. The previous edition was improperly letterboxed and featured a pretty crummy transfer. Blue Underground has given Dead & Buried the four-star treatment this go round and fans will certainly be pleased. The film features that early 80's soft focus look so we still have that to contend with. Print damage is minimal, just a few specs, while some of the darker scenes do show some slight amounts of grain. Also, keep in mind that the darker scenes are indeed pretty damn dark. A trait of the films original look and budgetary restrictions I'd presume. Other than that, colors are bright and stable throughout. This is easily the best that Dead & Buried has looked on home video, the flick looks pretty fantabulous.
Holy audio options Batman! This sucker is packed to the brim with audio tracks and each is good to the last drop. In addition to the three audio commentaries, there are also 4 different sound options to choose for the film itself! Wow! In addition to a DTS and a Dolby Digital EX track(!), there is also a standard Dolby Surround track and the films original mono to choose from as well. I have to admit, that I much preferred the mono and standard surround to the new digital mixes. They offer very little in directional effects, only enhancing the music and effects from time to time, and therein lies the problem. Dialogue is a bit low so when those false audio scares kick in, they REALLY kick in. Digital or not, there is no distortion or background noise to be found anywhere. Each of the four tracks feature nice clear dialogue, music and effects. You're free to pick yer poison.
It certainly wouldn't be 2-discs if it weren't a special edition so let's dig in. In addition to the film itself the first disc features 3 trailers and a fairly extensive still gallery. There are also 3 full-length feature commentaries. The first features director Gary Sherman, the second co-writer co-producer Ronald Shusett and actress Linda Turley (she plays a waitress in the film and also happens to be married to Shusett) while the third is with cinematographer Steve Poster. Each of the moderated commentaries while a bit spotty are still extremely interesting listens. Everyone speaks so openly and honestly about the film, it's like kicking back with a few good friends. The second disc features interviews with Stan Winston (he goes through nearly every major effect in full detail), Robert Englund and Dan O' Bannon each set aside in an individual vignette totaling about 45-minutes. If I had a nickle for every time that Stan Winston said puppet, I'd never have to work again! We love ya Stan! Everyone speaks so fondly of the flick, it's great to hear so many positive anecdotes. The second disc also features a second still gallery of B&W photos from the archives of cinematographer Steve Poster that chronicles location scouting. The whole package is rounded off with a sleek tri-fold insert-digi-pak design. The presentation is nearly as classy as the flick itself.
Do I really need to say it again? Great disc, great extras, great film = get it. Blue Underground has produced another mind bending special edition that is worth it's weight in gold and easily twice it's MSRP. There is so much love and affection put into this disc it makes me teary eyed just thinking about it, HIGHLY recommended.
Editor's Note: Limited to 50,000 units.