Dead & Buried Limited Edition R1 DVD review

A hangover from our Dan O'Bannon season (you've read the interview now, right?) - Ron reviews the limited edition R1 disc of Dead & Buried

Dead & Buried

Okay, pardon me, but I need to go on a rant here. I know I’m strange when it comes to my DVDs, but those little stickers that they stick to the top of the DVD with the bar code and the title of the DVD on them absolutely infuriate me. Even though I’m the sort of person who ruins his DVD resale value by unwrapping them, as I did with the limited edition numbered DVD of Dead & Buried, I still want my cases to look as pristine as possible.

Those DVDs are shrink-wrapped for a purpose, and that purpose is to protect the case (which may become very valuable when the DVD goes out of print) from damage. It goes completely against the purpose of wrapping a DVD if you’re going to glue some obnoxious plastic sticker to the outside of the glossy paper slip case. Number one, it looks stupid. Number two, when you remove said sticker, you generally cannot remove it without DAMAGING THE CASE YOU SHRINK WRAPPED TO PROTECT.

Am I the only person who realizes that purposely defacing the package of the DVD goes against all those measures taken to protect the DVD from damage? Surely I can’t be. I spent 20 minutes trying to delicately pry up that sticker, but because it’s stuck to paper, I think I still damaged the case before giving up on the whole pointless endeavor. If you’re going to mangle it with garbage before it gets to me, you may as well ship it by catapult.

I wouldn’t complain so much if this was a normal-looking DVD, but it’s not. The DVD is made of color printed over foil packaging, so the whole thing is shiny and catches the light. The whole case has this really cool gunmetal sheen to it that really catches the eye, and makes it a great looking package.

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Blue Underground and William Lustig (you may remember him from Maniac and Maniac Cop) generally put a ton of care into their releases, since they release mostly European and incredibly obscure horrors that they pay to remaster from the original film negatives and release in limited amounts. They’re sort of a giallo fiend’s Criterion, yet thanks to Amazon I now have a DVD that is worthless.

I think I’m going to have a stroke if I think about this any more. Let’s move on before I finally blow a blood vessel in my brain and die.

Speaking of death, the classic horror/black comedy Dead & Buried features a lot of deaths, which allows special effects genius Stan Winston to do his thing with some of the most interesting effects I’ve seen in some time, from a hypodermic needle into the eyeball (which earned this film a place on the infamous Video Nasties list) to a painstaking rebuilding job on a horribly burned corpse, much like the film was painstakingly restored.

Despite the presence of James Farentino as the dimwitted but honest sheriff, this is very much (to me) Jack Albertson’s film. Jack Albertson plays the eccentric Dr. Dobbs (no relation to Sarah, that I know of), who is the mortician in the small New England town of Potters Bluff. The town is friendly and welcoming of drifters, most of whom end up dying horribly. Craig already talked about how great it is, and he’s right on.

It’s a great film with a lot of atmosphere. No budget to speak of, really, but it makes up for it in creative use of lighting, practical makeup, and interesting performances. The ending still gives me the willies, though the sheriff’s incompetence is wearing.

I wholeheartedly recommend the Stan Winston featurette, as it gives you a new appreciation for actual special effects, not computer monsters (that’s a rant for another day). He did an incredible amount of work. The best part is, his greatest effects you’d never otherwise notice as being puppetry.

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The fascinating discussion with Dan O’Bannon is also recommended, considering he explains just why he crafts such suspenseful films and the inspiration he draws from H.P. Lovecraft. He talks about Romero, what he is willing to rip off as a writer, the origins of Dead & Buried, how Ridley Scott brought horror films back to A level, and his favorite scenes in the film (also one of my favorite scenes).

The third feature concerns a young Mr. Robert Englund. He discusses how he became Mr. Horror, his on-set crush, the problems of shooting in the fog and cold, and of course, his role as a horror icon. There are also location shots, posters and stills, 3 different commentaries, and the inevitable trailers.


4 out of 5


5 out of 5

Where Ron went to college, every fall and spring there was incredible fog. He always wanted to make a horror film there. Find more by Ron at his blog, Subtle Bluntness, and daily at Shaktronics.


3 out of 5