I Bury the Living
U.S.A. / 1957
Directed by Albert Band
Starring
Richard Boone
Theodore Bikel
Peggy Maurer
B&W / 80 Minutes / Not Rated
Format: DVD (R1 - NTSC)
MGM Home Entertainment

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7
    5   10 = Highest Rating  
Guest Review by Lucas Micromatis
When picked to be the unwilling chairman of the Kraft (not the cheese folks) company's cemetery, Bob Kraft (Have Gun Will Travel's Richard Boone, in an intense performance) discovers strange occurrences plaguing his new position. Central to the goings-on is a large, somewhat foreboding map of the cemetery, with black pins identifying plots already occupied and white pins denoting plots owned but unfilled by its owners, who have not yet passed on.
Things proceed relatively normally, in spite of the mysterious groundskeeper (Theodore Bikel) lurking around, until a young just-married couple stops by to purchase two grave plots (nice way to start out the honeymoon!). When Kraft inadvertently sticks black pins into the map instead of the white ones, the couple suddenly dies. Coincidence? Perhaps, until the same thing happens again... and again.
Does Kraft have some strange mental power subconsciously that is somehow causing these people die? Does Kraft wield the power of life and death? Or is there an earthly albeit just as sinister force at work?
    I Bury the Living is a taut, moody little thriller well-concocted by director Albert Band (helmer of many a B-movie, including Zoltan: Hound of Dracula, and father of Charles Band, the brains behind that low-budget churner of direct-to-video horrors, Full Moon Pictures). Although the script shoulders a few implausibilities most notably, if Kraft believes he's killing people by sticking black pins in the map, why the heck does he keep doing it? Band's sure hand guides the viewer on a creepy and fast-paced path. Somehow, Band manages to make pushing pins into a map suspenseful! There are two scenes loaded with tension: a frazzled Kraft, wondering if he has the power of life as well as death, frantically takes out the black pins of the people he thinks he killed and replaces them with white pins, followed by an eerie run through the cemetery. Richard Boone (The War Lord) gives a fine performance in an against-type role, as does veteran Theodore Bikel. The film unfortunately commits a cardinal sin in its disappointing cop-out ending, but there are more than enough creeps to warrant a viewing or two. (If not for the ending, I'd rate I Bury the Living a full 10 points)
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Once again, MGM has delivered the goods in its Midnite Movies line. I Bury the Living looks beautiful with its rich blacks and stark whites; it could almost pass for a recent film. As always, the trailer is included. Evocative cover art, too. 12/03/01
UPDATE This DVD, like most of the Midnite Movie single-title discs, went OOP in 2005. Seven years later, however, copies are still readily available (factory sealed for $10 - $15).
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