George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Gary A. Sherman. Sorry, who was that last one again, Gary A. Sherman? Never heard of him. Having said that, chances are you've probably seen more of his films than you think. Poltergeist III for example. Absolute trash but chances are you've seen it. Wanted: Dead or Alive starring Rutger Hauer. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but chances are you've seen it.
Then there's Dead and Buried, a shameless 1981 horror movie you may have missed. Which would be a crying shame because it's a real blast with a killer ending to boot. Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino, so bad he's good) has a quiet life with his wife, Janet Gillis. Let's just stop there for a minute. Janet Gillis is played by Melody Anderson, a beautiful young actress who you definitely remember from Manimal, Flash Gordon, The A-Team, The Fall Guy, T.J. Hooker and CHiPs. All your favourite TV shows (and one movie) growing up. God bless her.
Sorry, where was I? In the small coastal town of Potter's Bluff, that's where. Where visitors die mysteriously before coming back to life. Dead and Buried pulls you in from the outset. There's a welcome Carpenter vibe running through its veins and that's not just down to the sleepy fishing town setting. James Farentino goes from regular leading man to Wicker Man crazy in the blink of an eye. Fans of Juan Piquer Simón's campy goodness, Pieces, which arrived one year later, will know what to expect from his hammy (ham-fisted) performance.
It may also help to explain why Dead and Buried isn't as fondly remembered as John Carpenter's early works. Pantomime delivery works against the lively direction and creative special effects from a young Stan Winston, no less. A strong script, smart direction, great effects work and a who's who of recognisable faces elevate this 80s gem above the glut of forgotten horror. Dead and Buried deserves a little loving. Worth a nip/tuck.