Dead & Buried (1981)

dead and buried poster 1981 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Decent effects, fun twists

Kind of predictable, so-so acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Dead & Buried

Studio:   Barclays Mercantile Industrial Finance

Genre(s):   Horror

Release Date(s):   May 29, 1981

MPAA Rating:   R

dead and buried special effects mortician scene

We always welcome visitors!

Welcome to Potter’s Bluff!  In the small, seaside town, Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) is discovering that there might be something sinister.  A string of murders of tourists indicates a serial killer is hiding amongst the people he protects.  While the mortician William G. Dobbs (Jack Albertson) seems to enjoy the work, the bodies are starting to pile up, and Sheriff Gillis questions if everyone in town is involved…including his wife Janet (Melody Anderson)!

Directed by Gary Sherman, Dead & Buried is a horror mystery.  The film was briefly considered a “video nasty” in the United Kingdom and gained a cult following over the years.

I’ve seen a lot of ’80s horror films, but I had never seen Dead & Buried.  I vividly remember the poster for the film, but I never found it very inspiring.  I finally saw Dead & Buried and found it to be a better horror film than most and with some fun twists.

dead and buried robert englund horror

Freddy’s coming for you!

The story for Dead & Buried actually is kind of fun.  Overall, it is pretty predictable, but it doesn’t take away from the fun.  The fact the whole town seems to be in on the murders adds to the question of what exactly is going on and who is involved.  The movie’s twist ending can be seen coming, but it still works.

The cast is so-so, but it works for the film.  All the characters are very over-the-top, and James Farentino’s sheriff plays the innocent lamb to the slaughter character that can’t see what’s going on until too late.  Jack Albertson eats up the scenes of the movie as mortician and received praise for his performance (which does help raise the film).  It is also one of Albertson’s last roles before his death in November of 1981.  Horror favorite Robert Englund has a small role in the film.

dead and buried mortician special effects stan winston

The doctor says she’s going to be hot!

Despite being an ’80s film, the movie has a very early ’70s grindhouse feel.  The look and style of the movie is pretty retro for 1981.  The movie does have a cheap and dirty feel to it but special effect by maestro Stan Winston gives the film a bigger feel than some of the older (and cheaper) grindhouse films.

Dead & Buried is a fun, small horror film.  The movie looks bigger than the budget and the horror is classic horror combined with some jumps.  It is always a pleasant surprise to find an older movie you haven’t seen but brings back good memories of horror films that don’t rely on computer effects and easy scares.  Dead & Buried isn’t perfect but it is worth checking out.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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