Bury the Living
Review by Lucas
= Highest Rating
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?
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).
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.
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).