Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A review of "I Bury the Living"

Confessions of a Junkie: A review of “I Bury The Living”

By: Brian Cotnoir

     “I Bury the Living” is a wonderful B-Horror movie made and released in 1958.  I recently watched this film for the first time and I was absolutely blown away by it.  I’m actually surprised that you never hear people mention this film, when they talk about Great Classic Horror films.  Let me explain my reasons why, I think “I Bury the Living” deserves a special place of recognition in the “Classic Horror Genre”.     
A mind-bending Thriller!
“I Bury the Living” is the story of a small town business owner, named Robert Kraft (played by Richard Boone), who has recently been appointed the new committee chairman of a group that oversees a large local cemetery.  Kraft does not want the position, but takes it at the aid of his Uncle George because it’s “good for business”.  Kraft, isn’t alone at this new volunteer job, he is also helped out by the Cemetery’s caretaker Andy McKee (played by Theodore Bikel).  Andy explains to Robert how the map works: all the plots in the cemetery that have been reserved are marked with a white pins, all the graves that have been filled are marked with black pins.  His first day on the job, Kraft accidentally places two black pins on the map of the cemetery on two plots that a newlywed couple just purchased.  That night the couple died in a horrific automobile accident.  Although everyone tells him, that it was a tragic accident, Bob can’t help but feel party responsible.  The next night he replaces another white pin on the map with a black pin—to test fate—and it happens again.   Everyone tries to tell him that he’s overacting and that the deaths are all merely a coincidence, but every time he changes a person’s pin from white to black they mysteriously die.  Are these all mere coincidences or has Bob Kraft developed a Grim Reaper like power that lets him decide who lives and who dies?                                  
Uh-oh, looks like someone gave into the madness
    This is a fantastic film!  It has great suspense, interesting characters, and a fantastic story.  “I Bury The Living” is almost like if they took a “Twilight Zone” episode and made into a full-length movie.  Richard Boone is wonderful as the films protagonist, Robert Kraft.  You really can’t tell whether his character is sincere in his actions or whether he is teetering on the brink of madness.  It’s a nail-biting suspense ride.  I will confess to you all that I did find the ending to the film to be incredibly weak, and was the only bad thing I found about the film, but I don’t think it was the writers fault.  Like many Horror films “I Bury The Living” had to adhere to “Motion Pictures Production” Code, which was a list of rules all films that were released in theatres had to follow.  One of the rules was that the bad guy could never win, and always had to end with a heroes triumph.  I feel like the MPP Code is what really held this film back from being one of the All-Time Greats.  If this film had been made a few years later, after the Motion Picture Production Code was done away with, then “I Bury the Living” would be on the same level as films like “Psycho” and “Night of the Living Dead”.                                   
    You know, I’m actually quite surprised that no film studio has tried to re-make or reboot this film, yet.  I think with a few revisions to the story and the write actors that this could be a very successful Horror re-make.
Don't let him screw with your fate!
One last interesting thing I thought of the film is that the town, it takes place in is called “Milford”.  I was born in the city of Milford, Massachusetts, and was wondering if it was the same town or if it was a coincidence.  I looked it up on IMDB and there was no named location for filming and it only said that it was made and released in the summer of 1958 and was released by United Artists film studio.  However, there was one line that suggests it may have been set in Milford, Massachusetts when Robert Kraft’s, Uncle George says that if he told people that he could control peoples destiny’s by changing a pin on the map to a different color that they’d “send him up to Providence Hospital”.  Providence, Rhode Island is not all that far from Milford, Massachusetts.  However, they could have been talking about Milford, Connecticut as well as they are both relatively close to Providence, Rhode Island.  Just an interesting thought I had.                                         
    So make sure you check out “I Bury the Living”, it has a running time of 76 minutes, so it’s not too long and is an ideal film to watch if you are a fan of Horror films or are just looking for a short film to watch in your spare time.  

A Special Treat for you, the loyal readers ;)

1 comment:

  1. This sounds surprisingly good! Not sure if it can surpass those Ed Wood classics...