Now if you've been following my movie reviews of what Anchor Bay has been sending me the last little while you know it's been a mixed bag at best. Loved the Hellraiser dvds. Imurder...not so much.
So when I Sell The Dead arrived at my door, I tried not to get my hopes up.
Sure it co-starred Ron Pearlman who can bring quality to any part he plays despite a film being a big floating turd. But this was a period piece on a very low budget. So with some trepidation I put the disc in the dvd player.
And thankfully I was rewarded with a nice little comedic horror flick.
I Sell the Dead stars Dominic Monaghan (from Lost and former hobbit), Larry Fessenden (who also serves as a producer on the film but still brings the noise as an actor in it) and Ron Pearlman (Hellboy, lord among character actors) with an appearance by Angus Scrimm (the Tall Man from the Phantasm series).
Set in the 17 or 1800's (it never gives a clear date...not like it's needed), Arthur Blake (Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Fessenden) steal bodies and sell them to medical science. It works out alright for them but when business really picks up is when they start dealing with the undead and selling them to medical science. Eventually the two are accused of murder and the story is told in flashback as Blake speaks to Father Duffy (Pearlman) about his past adventures.
While I was watching the movie it reminded me a lot of the old Roger Corman drive-in movies that I used to watch on late night tv. Decent script, decent actors, no budget but yet had a charm to it that over came the fact that the set in the Pit and the Pendulum was then transferred and dressed up with plants for Little Shop of Horrors.
I instantly fell in love with Blake and Grimes and their ridiculous adventures. Stealing bodies, waking vampires, finding aliens, the characters, while we don't find out a heck of a lot about them, they seem to be completely there from the moment they hit the screen. Fessenden in particular really grabbed me as Grimes, the grave robber with a heart of gold.
The film itself I would describe as a comedy with strong horror overtones. And well written. Unlike a lot of other indy horror flicks I've sat through, at the end of the movie, I did not feel like I wasted over an hour of my life and I didn't feel like a moron for giving this movie a chance.
In fact my only complaint about the movie is I want more! At 85 minutes it ends just as the story is getting good. It would make a great pilot for a tv series which I would watch religiously every week. But hey, if they want to make full length sequels, I'd be more then happy with that.
As for the tech specs, the picture quality is great, the sound mix is alright in 5.1 surround and it even comes with a few extras including a one hour making of, commentary by the director and the two stars and a full small graphic novel adaptation in the dvd case.
The film is being distributed by Anchor Bay here in Canada and made by Glass Eye Pix's Scareflix division.
So good was this film that I will gladly sit through any other movies they will come out with even if they are only half as good as this one.
In short, this is a buy or at the very least a rent. Please do one or the other cause I want a sequel!
I Sell The Dead is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.