Midnight Rec: I Bury the Living (1958)

I don't know how the weather is by you, but it is absolutely freezing in my neck of NJ. It's cold enough that I've called off plans to take a trip into NYC for research and a movie. I have two schools of thought on dealing with inopportune conditions: watch something that takes place in far greater conditions, or watch something that makes me realize things could be a lot worse. Today is the day for the latter.

I Bury the Living is a polarizing B-Movie classic from director Albert Band. You hear stories about producer interference in films all the time. Sometimes an ending is too dark; other times, too confusing or otherwise off-putting. With this film, all three have been cited as reasons why the original ending of the film was changed. 

I Bury the Living is the story of man who discovers he has the ability to cause anyone to die with the use of a funeral plot map. It's an effective device within the film that results in a very nice build of suspense. Originally a purely supernatural tale, the film's ending was changed to offer a logical explanation for everything that occurred. Some hate the hackneyed twist ending, claiming it makes no sense (it doesn't); others embrace the film for its style and performances (they're good). There are some very disorienting and unnerving visual effects used in what's mostly a one-room film. The transformation from cemetery office to psychological landscape is slick and stylish. The constraints of the budget do not show.

Sadly, this is a horror film that often gets dumped into 5/10/25/50/100 Scary Movie collections with a poor transfer and unexplained cuts to the running time. You could do much worse than this YouTube upload, but I'm sure there's a better quality torrent available. The problem is how the film lacks an actual DVD release by itself. 

The trailer is available after the jump.

Grammy/Oscar Round-Up

Side by Side by Susan Blackwell