- Actors: Richard Boone, Theodore Bikel, Peggy Maurer, Howard Smith, Herbert Anderson
- Directors: Albert Band
- Writers: Louis Garfinkle
- Producers: Albert Band, Louis Garfinkle
- Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC, Import
- Language: English
- Subtitles: Spanish, French
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Fox Video (Canada) Limited
- Release Date: Nov. 20 2001
- Run Time: 76 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00005O071
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I Bury the Living (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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Newly appointed cemetery chairman Robert Craft (Richard Boone) notices some odd things about his new post: a creepy sense of déjà vu, an inability to get heat in the caretaker's shack, and Andy the caretaker's Scottish accent, one of the thickest in all cinematic history. Craft soon discovers to his horror that sticking pins into his map of the cemetery seems to make people die. As if this weren't bad enough, no one believes him. As Craft grows more and more distraught, his forehead covered in some of the most brightly glistening sweat you've ever seen, people keep trying to prove it's all a coincidence by getting him to stick more and more pins in the map. Though hilariously overwrought, I Bury the Living does take a couple of nice creepy twists at the end. Never before has a movie so eloquently made the case for keeping cemetery records in a text-only database. --Ali Davis --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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The setup's rather simple. Robert Kraft (Richard Boone) is this year's chairman of the Cemetery Committee in town, which means it's now his responsibility to oversee the paperwork down at the Immortal Hills Cemetery. When someone buys a plot, you stick a white pin on the designated spot on the big cemetery plot map; when someone dies, you replace the white pin with a black pin. Doesn't really sound like a recipe for disaster, does it? When a couple of newlyweds show up wanting reservations for the hereafter, in go the white pins - then, when the couple dies soon thereafter, Bob is creeped out to find two black pins where the white pins should have been. He decides to pick a white pin at random, replace it with a black pin, and see what happens. Sure enough, that fellow falls over dead. Experimenting seems to be really popular in this little town, so a quick succession of pin replacements - and deaths - follows. Pretty soon, Bob starts wigging out, and the cops actually get involved - even though all of the deaths were seemingly due to natural causes.
Except for the ending, this film is great. The suspense really builds up, the writer keeps things interesting by giving you several things to think about in terms of your own theory, and there are some rather impressive visual effects. The big cemetery plot board is just weird in and of itself, as it sports some weird swirls that look like something in between a Dali-drawn bicycle and a distorted human face. The director uses light to great effect (an art form quickly lost once color became the norm), zooms in and out with the best of them, and basically just adds a Hitchcockian touch to it all.
Don't be fooled by the various posters and DVD covers, as you will find no real frights (and certainly no zombies) here. I would not classify I Bury the Living as a horror film at all - it's a suspenseful mystery/thriller. That's why, to some degree, I think you need to be a fan of classic B-movies in order to really enjoy this film. Otherwise, there's a chance you'll find it somewhat boring, as it's remarkably free of action, monsters, and fiends. While the building suspense is effective, it's not the kind of suspense that digs its claws into your arms, and there really is a sort of woodenness about each of the characters. I also have to believe that a number of people, B-movie fans or not, will be rather disappointed by the ending of this otherwise well-made film.
But the movie, obviously shot on a low budget, is pretty nifty all the same. The protagonist as a classic man of the '50s...a well dressed (in gray tones) department store owner...a minor pillar of the community. A sane, rational man with a nice "American dream" sort of life ahead of him. But when the shock of what he may or may not have done by putting the wrong colored pins on the cemetary map begins to sink in, we get to see him slowly unravel. The music gets hokey, and the camera-work is either very static or goes totally off into "la-la land." But behind it all, we've got a fairly solid script, with enough twists to keep things interesting, and a solid performance by Richard Boone. Never a huge star, this is one of the best performances I've seen him in. I recommened the movie for that alone.
Theodore Bikel (who later played Teyve in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) plays Angus, the cemetary jack-of-all trades caretaker. His makeup is as thick and phony as his accent, and this does distract from the power of the ending, no question. But all in all, this is a movie worth taking a look at. It can be obtained quite inexpensively on many of the horror movie compilations out there now...you know the ones...10 movies on 2 DVDs for $6. Well, this movie is certainly worth $3 of that investment!!
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