Time has treated the zombie genre pretty strangely. They’ve gone from strictly b-team players supporting sorcerers and mad scientists, to force-of-nature existential threats, to arguably the most popular and dominant force in the horror genre. If you think, as I do, the overloaded zombie genre has gotten a little creaky over the last decade or so, I suggest looking back a few decades for something a little on the strange side: 1981’s Dead and Buried.
You’ll immediately notice that this particular zombie extravaganza is less like a post-Zombies of Mora Tau undead film than a zombie-fied version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In a move almost unique in the modern incarnation of the genre, the unquiet dead in the film are virtually indistinguishable from the living. They can pretty easily fool even loved ones. It almost hearkens back to the zombi of voodoo lore.
They also have a strange habit taking large amounts of photos and even film footage of their victims, who are never eaten in the familiar manner, just killed in grisly ways. Why would that be?
Gary Sherman’s directing is solid, and the cast is decent, even if unremarkable. Everybody gets the job done, and the delightfully weird (in the Lovecraftian sense) concept thrives all the more for it. So if you want a great zombie film that resembles almost nothing seen since (though certain elements will be familiar to fans of the pre-1950’s undead), check out Dead and Buried.
It’s even available on Netflix Instant.
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