Sunday, March 3, 2013

I Bury the Living

Director - Albert Band (Ghoulies II, Dracula's Dog)
Starring - Richard Boone (The Hobbit: Animated Movie), Theodore Bikel (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Peggy Mauer (Peter Pan)
Release Date - 1958
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The most spine-chilling cry that ever froze the blood" "Shocks that challenge the imagination" and "Out of a time-rotted tomb crawls an unspeakable horror"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (15 Horror Movies Volume 1)

Rating (out of 5):
     I assume that independent cinema in the 60s was very similar to independent cinema now.  So many films were produced that a lot of them slipped through the cracks.  What really pisses me off is that a good bit of the films that do get recognized is pure shit.  That brings me to this little film.  I'm determined to watch all the films in my public domain box sets that I have never seen before and after finishing Carnival of Souls I found it only fitting to finish up that same disc which contains this little gem and the James Earl Jones' film Blood Tide.  I had no idea this movie existed until I grabbed this box set and was surprised to see it was directed by the father of one of my favorite directors, Charles Band.
     Robert Kraft (Boone) is given responsibility of the local cemetery after the board members force the caretaker to retire.  The caretaker has the entire cemetery mapped out and uses pins to mark the graves.  He uses black pins to mark the graves that are occupied and white pins to mark the ones that have been purchased but the owners are still alive.  When newlyweds stop by the cemetery to purchase two plots Kraft mistakenly marks them with a black pin.  The couple soon die in a car crash.  After learning of his mistake, Kraft believes that the young couple died because he marked their graves as filled.  He switches another white pin with a black just to test his luck.  The owner of that plot turns up dead solidifying his outlandish accusation.  Kraft asks the board to let someone else take over but they refuse.  He informs them of the deaths and they fail to see the big picture.  The board forces Kraft to change their white pins to black to prove to Kraft once and for all that he does not hold sway over life and death.  However, their experiment fails horribly and everyone dies.  The caretaker arrives and tells him that he was the one responsible for all the deaths as revenge for the board forcing him to retire.  The police arrive to arrest the caretaker and find him dead.  If he was responsible for all those deaths then who is responsible for his?
     I honestly do not understand why so many shitty films can stand the test of time while others are left behind.  I absolutely loved this movie and because I have never heard anyone mention this before I can only assume it is because many do not know it exists.  Anyway, this movie has great acting and Richard Boone gives a superior performance.  The story is very well written and delivered which is something rare of the 50 and 60s drive-in circuit.  The film does not jump around and follows the story perfectly.  For the time period the movie is very original, however, so many movies have borrowed similar ideas making this one slightly predictable.  Finally, this film does lack in special effects, blood, and on screen deaths.  The film replaces these three with great scenery and even better atmosphere giving this film the perfect midnight movie vibe.  Overall, this is an amazing film that is sadly overlooked by the masses.  If you ever come across this one I highly recommend picking it up.

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