10/9/08

Have Corpses, Will Bury Reads the Tomb of a Man

Just a little special announcement, the Bug was chosen for The Large Association of Movie Blogs Lamb Chops for this week. I submitted my post "There's Always Room for Giallo", and I am quite happy it got chosen. If you haven't visited LAMB, then check it out for more great movie blogs about all kinds of cinema. Now on with today's review.

The MonsterCon movie roundup continues today with another DVD I picked up there. Before I even get into the movie I want to take a moment to talk about the DVD itself. I put it in, and it started right up. No menu, nothing, but hey, that's no problem. I've had more than a few cheapo disks that did that. What it did special, I didn't notice until after the credits rolled. Soon as the characters started talking I was greeted with yellow French subtitles. I hit menu and was surprised to find a title screen, but sadly no way to turn off the subtitles. No big deal I suppose but it bothered me the whole movie through. I suppose some No Region DVD's take their stuff seriously. It never detracted from the movie really, and it did give me some time to bone up on my French. So I give you tonight's film, J'enterre la vie, or......

I Bury The Living (1958) starring Richard Boone, Theodore Bikel, and Peggy Mauer. Directed by Albert Brand.

The film opens up with a message saying "Science has learned that man possesses powers which go beyond the boundaries of the natural. This is the story of one confronted by such strange forces within himself." Then we are introduced to Robert Kraft (Boone). Robert is the head of Kraft's department store, and this is his year to serve as president of town cemetery, Immortal Hills. He's assisted by Andy McKee (Bikle), the Scottish caretaker. Richard is just settling in when a young married couple stops by to check on their grave plots. McKee shows Robert the map of the cemetery and how they mark used graves with a black pin and reserved graves with a white pin. Robert absentmindedly puts a couple of pins in the young couple's plots, and gets back to work at Kraft's.


The next day he is greeted with the unfortunate news that the young couple has been killed in a car wreck. When Robert returns to change out the map, he finds that he had placed black pins into the map instead of the white ones. Thinking it a strange occurrence, he picks a grave at random and places a black pin into the space. Soon enough the lovable toymaker that Robert had doomed passed away. Robert begins to unravel, and no one he talks to will believe him. His Uncle George takes him out to the cemetery to try another time, and the same results ensue.
A Word of Advice from the Bug
I've got to take a moment here. If you think, even for an instant, that you have the power to kill people by putting black pins in a map, then why in the name of Savini would you continue to do it? Did it work? Yep, but we should totally check again. That's just plain dumb folks. So if it happens to you, just put the pins down. Thanks.

Robert continues his descent into madness, but his partners at Kraft's including his Uncle, take a vote and want him to change out their pins for black ones. Here's the part where Robert could have used a word of advice. He does it again! The movie stumbles on like that until it fakes out a zombie turn, and it ends on a twist that makes little sense. Yet somehow I still found enjoyable.

I Bury the Living was a fairly good film. It has some good acting from Boone and Bikel (although I have only heard one Scottish accent as strong and caricatured, and yes, I am looking at you James Doohan). There are several shots that are quite nice, and few of them even evoked the show The Prisoner for me. However it disappointed on many counts. The first is that there is no burial of the living. Truth in advertising. I demand it. The second is that it seemed inconceivable that Robert would just continue time and time again to check to see if he's killing his business partners. The third thing that bugged me to no end is that the Map he puts the pens in gets ominous music. I hate trying to read a map, fold a map, or follow one, but I've never felt like any map was imposing, more annoying. Yet I would still say give it a watch. Hopefully the copy you get wont have subtitles through it or the poor sound quality mine had, but even if it does hang in there. There's enough atmosphere here to entertain for 80 minutes easily. Until later, Au revoir du bogue d'├ęclairage, personnes de lune.
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