"I Sell the Dead" DVD, Blu-ray Review (2010)

4/01/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Review

"I Sell the Dead"

Written and directed by Glenn McQuaid, 85 minutes.

By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree

"I Sell the Dead," the new Glenn McQuaid film, is so ripe with horror references that it's a wonder that the movie stays so fresh.

Larry Fessenden (who also serves as producer and editor) stars as Willie Grimes, a 19th century grave robber and mentor to Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan). We first meet Grimes with his head under a guillotine--he's been convicted of grave robbery and murder alongside his partner Blake, who is being held in prison.

While in his holding cell, Blake is met by a priest (Ron Perlman) interested in hearing the duo's adventures. The body snatcher reflects on his days in the business while maintaining his innocence — he's a grave robber, yes, but not a murderer.

The film takes its horror twist when the two unearth the body of a woman with a wooden stake in her heart and garlic around her neck. Not knowing any better, Grimes and Blake remove the garlic and stake, and have their first encounter with the undead in a scene that could be straight out of Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead 2."

Once the duo gets into the trade of the undead, they realize there's significantly more money to be made on it in a niche occult market. Unfortunately, that market's already cornered by the House of Murphy, a nasty gang of ghouls who not only make Grimes and Blake look like amateurs, but also somehow normal.

"I Sell the Dead" uses its premise as a foundation for its sick sense of humor, a tool used particularly well with its undead characters. The film does take its absurdity a little too far sometimes (a close encounter will leave you scratching your head rather than doubled over with laughter). However, the banter between Baker and Grimes is usually enough to bring a scene together. The actors all share a chemistry that seems infectious, particularly Monaghan and Fessenden--and that contagious energy is transferred to the viewer.

As present as the humor is in "I Sell the Dead," it isn't what drives the movie. With fog rolling through nearly every frame, horror fans will note how the film pays homage to almost everything that has come before it in the genre. From the Universal classics to Sam Raimi, "I Sell the Dead" covers it all. McQuaid breaks up segments by turning still frames into art inspired by EC Comics (a comic book is included with the DVD as well), and goes so far as to cast Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man from "Phantasm"). The filmmakers' share a passion for the genre, and it shows.

It would be hard for a horror fan to watch "I Sell the Dead" and not be satisfied. It's entertaining, fun to watch, and if you know the genre, it satisfies on another level because it refers so often to the genre. For small-scale horror picture such as this, there's nothing more you can ask for.

Grade: B

Below is the trailer for "I Sell the Dead."  What are your thoughts?

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