Review: 1981 Shocker 'Dead & Buried' Rises Again in Stunning 4K

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday July 20, 2021

Avco Embassy produced some lower-budgeted horror classics in the 1980s, including Don Coscarelli's "Phantasm," John Carpenter's "The Fog," Joe Dante's "The Howling," and a myriad of other films that have since been catapulted to legendary status in their respective genres.

Gary Sherman's "Dead & Buried" may be among the top films of that era, but its homespun feel and genuine sense of dread have grown wonderfully with age. Even the film's torturous post-production saga couldn't snuff out the quality on screen. In fact, the way that both it and Carpenter's "The Fog" approach the unknowable as a terrifying, ethereal force may never be matched again

Blue Underground brings "Dead & Buried" to 4K Blu-ray from a 4K 16-bit scan of the 35mm interpositive. The result is nothing short of stunning, as Blue Underground has hit it out of the park once again with an upgrade of one of their previous Blu-ray releases that comes with all-new bells and whistles that fans will love. In addition, the new Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos presentations make this genre film look better than ever. It's a night-and-day difference between the previous Blu-ray and this new 4K release; plus, some new special features have been added to the already exhaustive roster of features rolled over from the previous release.

There's something very strange happening in the quiet coastal village of Potters Bluff. Transients and tourists start to turn up brutally murdered, with nary a clue in sight. Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) must get to the bottom of these murders, all the while juggling the local mortician's increasingly odd behavior and his own wife's strange love for teaching the occult to children at school.

"Dead & Buried" is one of those deeply unsettling horror thrillers, doing a perfect job of doling out details as needed and pulling the rug out at exactly the right time. But what stands out is the deeply unsettling tête-à-tête with mortality. The film expertly elides gory kills with the innate human need to cover up all imperfections in a quest for calm and comfort.

Of all the new special features, the new behind-the-scenes featurette with Gary Sherman may be the best, compiling old 8mm footage and narrated by Sherman himself to give context to much of the footage. It's a rather affecting time capsule that does a wonderful job of illustrating the close-knit group of people who came together to produce this once-proclaimed "Video Nasty" that still shocks to this day. Bravo to Blue Underground for giving this film the best possible presentation and release.

Other special features include:

• Audio Commentary #1 with Director Gary Sherman
• Audio Commentary #2 with Co-Writer/Co-Producer Ronald Shusett and Actress Linda Turley
• Audio Commentary #3 with Director of Photography Steven Poster, ASC
• Audio Commentary #4 with Film Historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
• Behind the Scenes of "Dead & Buried"
• Dead & Buried Locations: Now & Then
• Murders, Mystery, and Music — Interviews with Director Gary Sherman and Composer Joe Renzetti
• The Pages of Potters Bluff — Interview with Novelization Author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
• Stan Winston's Dead & Buried EFX
• Robert Englund: An Early Work of Horror
• Dan O'Bannon: Crafting Fear
• Theatrical Trailers
• Poster & Still Galleries
• Steven Poster's Location Stills
• "Dead & Buried" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Joe Renzetti
• Collectible Booklet with new essay by Michael Gingold

"Dead & Buried" is available now in a 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and CD combo pack from Blue Underground.