Judge Russell Engebretson likes low-budget horror movies as much as the next guy, but he can't abide procrastination.
Is there love after death?
I'll Bury You Tomorrow is an oozing slab of '70s style splatter horror served up on an Italian Giallo platter; or to employ a more mobile metaphor, the movie lumbers along at a slothful pace for the first hour, then sprints through the final half to deliver the requisite smorgasbord of rough-and-tumble Grand Guignol mayhem that would do Herschell Gordon Lewis proud.
Facts of the Case
Events get off to a ghoulish start as a pair of grave robbers rendezvous in a dark alley to transfer a freshly stolen body from one car to the other. After a shouting match and a bit of mutual physical abuse, they speed off separately to destinations unknown. In the next scene, Dolores Finley (Zoe Daelman Chlanda) disembarks at the train station of Port Oram with an ominously heavy steamer trunk that she will not allow the station attendant to move or even touch. She asks him for directions to the local funeral home, where she hopes to gain employment. It turns out that Delores is a crackerjack practitioner of mortuary science who truly relishes her occupation—perhaps to an unhealthy degree.
Unfortunately for Delores, the grave robbers Jake and Corey (Jerry Murdock and Alan Rowe Kelly) are employed by the mortuary and manage to embroil her in their illegal activities—in the end to the bloody misfortune of all.
Even my fannish appreciation of indie horror flicks is strained past the breaking point by I'll Bury You Tomorrow. There are a multitude of things wrong with this movie, with only a little glimmer here and there to relieve the overall badness. I'll cover the negative stuff first, and it's a long list: The sets are often poorly illuminated (as in the nighttime alley scene), which causes the actors to merge into the shadowy background; the picture is very soft and flat; continuity errors abound; the blocking leaves much to be desired; the sound is out of sync for at least the first 15 minutes; the bloated edit turns the first half of the movie into a laborious, uphill slog; and most of the actors are awkward and amateurish.
As for the script, the story oscillates uneasily from pathological psychodrama to campy gorefest: The flashback scene (Spoiler Alert is now in effect) of young Dolores being molested by her parents on a mortuary slab is genuinely disturbing, and the vengeance she wreaks on them later only somewhat less so. Later grisly scenes of bloody carnage are not for viewers with weak stomachs or high blood pressure (a tongue bitten off, neck skewered with an embalming Trocar, evisceration, dismemberment by hand hatchet, and so forth), but the camp factor softens the emotional impact. In one amazing scene of coy necrophilia, Delores embraces her boyfriend in a literal dance of death that falls somewhere in between seriously gruesome and uncomfortably laughable. The inconsistent tone is discomfiting.
On the bright side, the shining dark jewel of this film is Zoe Daelman Chlanda. Depending on the requirements of the scene, Chlanda projects forlorn innocence, radiates waves of feral sexuality, or displays an over-the-top lunacy ferocious enough to make the audience squirm in their seats. The movie would have been a total bust without her zany, spring-for-the-jugular performance.
The soundtrack is a mixed bag. Most of the score is lame, but the musical theme by Tom Burns—arranged for violin, viola, and bass viol—is suitably stark and creepy. It's a simple but effective melody, reminiscent of one of John Carpenter's early scores for The Fog or Halloween.
The extras are passable enough to sift through one time. The photo gallery is a throwaway, but the blooper reel is mildly amusing, and there are 19 deleted scenes for those who just can't get enough punishment. Unfortunately, there is no director's audio commentary, which might have been more compelling than the film.
Don't let those award mentions on the back of the DVD case mislead you into thinking this is a class act. The GORE-GORE award, for instance, is an affectionate tip of the hat to director H.G. Lewis, inventor and king of gore movies beginning with Blood Feast in 1963. The award's name refers to his penultimate exploitation flick, released in 1972, The Gore-Gore Girls, reputed to be Lewis at his most stomach-churning. I suspect the other awards cater to a similar audience.
I have an intense fondness for horror movies—including low-budget independent ones—be they subtle, ghostly chillers or visceral, in-your-face thrillers. I really tried to like I'll Bury You Tomorrow, but it is deficient in too many areas. Admittedly, I'm not a gorehound, so viewers of that persuasion may find the movie more to their liking. Potential viewers of more genteel sensibilities should run shrieking for the exits.
I find this movie in gross violation of almost everything, but due to its extreme mental incompetence, the court recommends it be delivered into the custody of the nearest psychiatric facility.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Heretic Films
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