Potters Bluff is a quaint seaside town in Rhode Island that’s “the size of a postage stamp” according to its Sheriff, Dan Gillis (James Farentino). He has a beautiful wife, Janet (Melody Anderson), and the respect of the townspeople. It’s the kind of place where everyone is happy to see you, and they hope you’ll stick around for a long, long, time.
However, Sheriff Gillis has a problem no civil servant wants to have: His small town has been the site of several mysterious tourist murders. With the help of the local coroner, Mr. Dobbs (Jack Albertson), the poor Sheriff is in a no-win situation as bodies keep showing up.
Written by Dan O’ Bannon (Alien) and Ronald Shusett, Dead & Buried is the kind of really weird, and chokingly atmospheric horror movie they just don’t make anymore. Everything is shrouded in fog, day and night. And everyone acts a little strangely, but you don’t know why until it’s too late. There are some great effects courtesy of Stan Winston, and the film is directed by Gary Sherman with an assured dread.
James Farentino in the lead really plays the every man role quite well. His plight is relatable, and you really pull for him. Jack Albertson, in his final film performance, turns in something that is a little sad, a little creepy, and completely works. Melody Anderson, as the cop’s wife, shows the perfect blend of almost Stepford Wives obedience, but there is an edge to her that is unexpected at times. And that face... the camera loves her.
Blue Underground’s Blu-ray showcases the film’s photography by DP Steve Poster quite well. It’s a tricky thing though, as this movie is almost constantly shot through a hazy fog. The detail level isn’t great because of this, but it’s probably as good as it’s ever going to look. There are a few shots of nice clarity and detail, like when a patient in a hospital is wrapped in gauze, you can see all the little textures. On the audio side of things, the audio is always clear, with the sound effects and score always coming across nicely.
Outside of the film, there is a nice assortment of bonus material here. No less that three commentaries start things off. The first with director Gary A. Sherman is a nice listen, but at times he needs prodding from the moderator. Actress Linda Turley and co-writer Ronald Shusett contribute the second track, and the third is courtesy of DP Steve Poster. For fans of movie making and all the technical stuff, the third track is a great listen.
Once you’re done with the commentaries, a trio of featurettes awaits. The first, “Stan Winston: Dead and Buried EFX” is a nice look at his work for the film, next is “Robert Englund: An Early Work of Horror” a chat with the actor about the film. It’s funny to think he was only three years away from becoming Freddy Krueger. Lastly, a feature on Dan O’Bannon titled, “Dan O’Bannon: Crafting Fear” wraps things up.
I give a solid recommendation of this film to any horror fan. As for the Blu-ray, it looks and sounds great, and has some nice bonus features. Just remember that you may want to turn around if you’re driving down the coast and see a sign that reads: “Welcome to Potters Bluff – A New Way of Life”.
Film Score: 3.5/5 Disc Score: 4/5