Being a nostalgia fiend has some advantages. I’m not just rehashing old material you’ve probably seen or read a billion times before, spewing the muck and bile that’s been regurgitated and swallowed down again only to be regurgitated once more. Hardly do you see another, run-of-the-mill review about Scream, Friday the 13 VIII: Jason Takes Manhatten or Bride of Chucky. Most horror fans are familiar with the bodies of these works; my realm of interest scratches at the indie circuit and those lesser known films that, perhaps, folks are aware of but never seen, or have witnessed them in the past and their minds can’t piece together what that film was in the present. The latter happened to me with an old Frank Darabont TV movie Buried Alive. You know Darabont, right? He only did some of the most prolific work of the last decade and half adapting works from Stephen King and kicking off the hit AMC TV show The Walking Dead!
Clint Goodman lives a humble town with his high maintenance wife Joanna. Her love for Clint has been long gone ever since he constructed, what he thought, was their two story dream home in his home town. Joanna strings along an affair with a city doctor; they plot to kill Clint with a fish secretion that causes a fatal heart attack. When Joanna pulls off the caper, she collects what she thinks is her dues: sells the house, sells the business and is ready to leave town to start her new life. However, Clint awakens. Trapped inside his own coffin, he manages dig himself out, discover Joanna’s dastardly doings and plans his own revenge against his wife and her lover.
Being a nobody in the early 1990’s has advantages. For instance, if an no name director can bring a new technique to the table, a sort of keen eye for a new perspective in cinematography, that nobody has seen than you’ve that seriously gives you an edge in the cinema market. Darabont’s roots run deep with Buried Alive. The TV movie, being the first ever print of an upcoming DVD release by the UK based company Second Sight, resembles much of later work, especially in his breakthrough film The Shawshank Redemption. Editing is really what makes this film work; the combination of scenes places tension right in the heart and mind of the viewer. The tension plays out through mostly Joanna Goodman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her lover Dr. Cort van Owen (William Atherton). Tim Matheson may be the star of the movie, but his dialogue is mostly avenging one liners where as most of the plot plays out between Joanna and Cort. Through them, we know they’re murderous plot agains’t Clint, they play out the actions after the murder is done, and their true intentions come to light through their dialogue solely. Clint turns them tables on them through his action as he becomes, as Cort said it best, Jason Voorhees.
Believe it or not, I remember Buried Alive from a long time ago. Scattered moments of the last thirty minutes haunt me in random moments and the face of Walter Peck from Ghostbusters is clear as day a some points, but I could never recall the title. Thanks to Second Sight, I get my second wind when trying to remember. Buried Alive is not a high tech, super savvy, boggle your mind type suspense thriller that will play a convoluted game of twister with your brain. The simple nature of the beast works well. Boy and Girl try to kill other boy and other boy builds a maze of a revenge. What’s not to like?
The Second Sight DVD will only play on Region 1 players unless you unlock the shit out of your player to make it Region Free! From the VHS and the DVD transfer comparisons, the release is well preserved and cleaned up nicely. No image color reduction and no audio distortions really make this DVD attractive.