Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Bury the Living (1958)

Director: Albert Band

Starring: Richard Boone

More Info: IMDB


Plot: A newly appointed cemetery chairman discovers that, merely by inserting a black pin into a wall-sized map of the cemetery, he can cause the deaths of that plot's owner.

My Rating: 6/10 (with the SHIT ending, 8/10 w/o the SHIT ending)

Would I watch it again? Not with that ending

I'm beside myself. For 71 minutes I'm glued to this thing like napalm on children. Then BAM! They fuck it up in the worst way possible by destroying EVERYTHING they built up until then. I had such high hopes for this one, too.

After seeing Boone in the amazing TV show, HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL (1957-1963), he catapulted into the top echelon of great actors in my book. And of everyone in this picture he certainly stands out. His performance, like the other films I've seen of his, is genuine and believable. That they would use that to lure me into this intriguing film only to smash all of it in the last five is despicable.

They do such a great job of creating this atmosphere, much of it in the cemetery shack where the plot board is, and there are some really neat warped perspective shots of the pins that they become characters themselves.

As far as the actors, the only real familiar face, besides Boone, is Herbert Anderson. You'll instantly recognize him. He played the father in the TV show, DENNIS THE MENACE (1959-1963). Theodore Bikel's portrayal of the grounds keeper Scotsman, Andy McKee, has GOT to be the inspiration for Grounds Keeper Willie on THE SIMPSONS. No doubt about it.

Gerald Freid's score is fantastic. It's pretty dark for it's time.


Toward the end, Kraft (Boone) gets the idea to replace the black pins with the white ones in the hope that it will bring them back alive. Then he baracades himself inside the shack. At this point I'm getting all giddy that there's going to be a zombie attack. Nope.

In the last five minutes we discover that McKee has been killing the victims (with fright!!!) all along and that Kraft had no supernatural power at all. With Kraft's fiance hanging on him with glee the ending is about as upbeat as it can be, especially considering they spent the previous 71 minutes bringing us deeper and deeper into grim territory. Inexcusable.

I thought that he would either accept and use his gift strategically, or, better still, he'd put a final pin on his plot (which they do show peripherally if you're looking for it) and he would have, in effect, killed himself.


Had the ending been more in line with the rest of the film then this would easily be an 8/10. This really saddened me. I'll get over it eventually. Maybe a nunsploitation movie will snap me out of it.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't really care for this movie that much. And I could not even remember how it ended until I read your blog. Pretty sad. But I was also disappointed that there were no zombies.