An overlooked zombie gem: Dead and Buried

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.


Privateer, grenadier, raconteur. In the midwestiest place on earth.

Never Miss an Episode

Stay up-to-date on the latest from the Retroist Podcast. Sign up and receive email notifications when there's a new episode of the Retroist Podcast or when we launch new podcasts.
* indicates required

4 thoughts on “An overlooked zombie gem: Dead and Buried

  1. Doug says:

    Interesting anecdote about this film: there is a point in the movie where a gun is fired at Melody Anderson. She was not ready for the firing, and while she manages to act through it, her reaction is still pretty genuine.

  2. Carlos, thanks for the heads up! I have in fact NOT seen this particular zombie film…I know what I’m doing tonight on Netflix Instant! :)

  3. CarlosTheDwarf says:

    @Doug: Interesting. I’ll have to look at that scene again.

    @Vic: Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

  4. Carlos…I was totally blown away by this film. I can’t say I didn’t predict certain things that were going to happen but you are 100% correct this is an overlooked zombie film. I’ll put it in the review pile for this Halloween. :)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.