I remember the poster art from 1981's Dead and Buried from issues of Fangoria I'd read again and again. I couldn't have been more than 11 or 12 at the time, and the image definitely gave me the chills. The movie promptly fell off my radar, and now 24 years later (Can it be THAT old? Dagummit, where's my ointment?!), I've finally seen it.
Strangers who happen through the quaint New England seaside town of Potter's Bluff would be well advised to keep right on drivin'. Should they linger too long, the unfortunate visitors can expect the ersatz Potter's Bluff Welcoming Committee to murder them but good! What's really weird, though, is that after dying a violent death, the strangers come back to life, get a new name, and join the community. Only Sheriff Gillis (James Farentino) seems to think this might be odd, and he decides to get to the bottom of the goings-on.
Dead and Buried played a bit like a much longer and gorier episode of Ray Bradbury Theatre, which to my mind isn't a bad thing. There's some great Stan Winston effects here, including a make-you-squirm hypodermic needle to the eye shot. It's big on atmosphere, and while there's some ham-fisted acting going on in places, it's more fun than irritating. The plot twists and turns right up until the fantastic ending, which even M Night Shyamalan wouldn't see coming. And I'm wondering, between this movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and V, has Robert Englund been in a movie where his face hasn't peeled off?
All in all, it's a pretty enjoyable flick- not as scary as the poster led me to believe all those years ago, but worth a watching. I'll give it 7-and-a-half out of 10 faces badly in need of moisturizer.