Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Dead & Buried (1981) Blue Underground UHD Review!

Dead & Buried (1981) Blue Underground 7/20/2021

Directed By: Gary Sherman 

Starring: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield 

Disclaimer: Blue Underground has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

     1981's Dead & Buried may be without a doubt the release I was most looking forward to. Mondo Digital did an excellent deep dive on the shall we say complicated home video release history HERE. But, long story short Blue Underground's new UHD release is the best and buries the rest. A sheriff named Dan Gillis (James Farentino) comes to work in a small seaside town which seems to be a beautiful pristine small town. Only problem is there is a series of bizarre and grisly murders are taking place with regularity. Gillis must solve the mystery in this underrated gem from the '80s.  

      In the wake of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980) horror was flooded with slice-and-dice flicks of all shapes and sizes. Dead & Buried takes this slasher formula and and fuses it perfect with a fog-filled small town folk horror nightmare. Indeed, the film feels like a mix of pulp '50s horror comics with the slasher flavor of the '80s. Gary Sherman 's attention to detail is spot on and Dan O'Bannon crafts a haunting and engaging mystery throughout. This is certainly what I would call a slow burn but, one that rewards close attention. Thankfully, the movie is never dull and the strangeness only gets more intense as it spirals to a unforgettable finale. 

   Dead & Buried is infamous for its brutal violence, having been put on the 'video-nasties' list. The film doesn't spare the audience from some truly skin-crawling, gruesome deaths that are more disturbing than any horror of the decade. This is helped by some top-notch effects by the legendary Stan Winston. 

Few movies feel like an actual nightmare like Dead & Buried. It's a delightfully morbid, creative and unnerving film dripping with a haunting atmosphere. It's a must-watch for any serious horror fan.  

Picture: As Mondo Digital details the history of Dead & Buried on home video has been a long and bumpy road. I am happy to report that Blue Underground has vastly improved upon the previous releases with their UHD release. As I said in my review Sherman's film is chocked full of atmosphere utilizing its foggy small town sea side setting to maximum effect. Right away you will notice that the clarity has been kicked up a notch and the image retains a soft, dreamlike quality to it. Colors are well maintained as well and night scenes great benefit from this new transfer. Grain is heavy but well smoothed out. Thankfully, this doesn't look overly processed, nor does it look flat and lifeless.  It's the only time I truly think this movie does justice to the original vision of Sherman and O'Bannon. 

Sound: Dead & Buried features  Dolby Atmos track that is stellar. Like the image, the sound is a much needed upgrade. Dialogue comes through crystal clear and sound effects, score and design has, in my opinion a complex and robust quality. 

Extras: Blue Underground has ported over the extras from the previous release and added new ones as well. Let me break it down for you. 

Old features ported over include: 3 commentary tracks (Track 1:Director Gary Sherman track 2: Co-writer, co-producer Ronald Shusett and Actress Linda Turley track 3: Director of Photography Steven Poster). 

Featurette's: Stan Winston's Dead & Buried FXs (18mins)

Robert Englund: An early Work of Horror (12mins)

Dan O'Bannon: Crafting Horror (14mins)

Trailers, Posters and Still Galleries, Steven Posters Location Stills 

New Features include: A fourth commentary track by Troy Howarth and Nathanial Thompson. 

Historians Nathanial Thompson and Howarth mesh really well together and I found their new commentary track to be engaging and as always both are well researched and prepared. Never a dull moment here. Well worth a listen. 

Behind the Scenes of Dead & Buried (33mins)

Dead & Buried Locations Then and Now (4mns)

Murders, Mystery, and Music: Interviews with Gary Sherman and Composer Joe Renzetti (15mins)

The Pages of Potter's Bluff: Interview with Novelization Author Chelsea Quinn Yarbo (13mins)

This release also includes a CD with Joe Renzetti's score as well as a booklet with a new essay by Michael Gingold. 

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