Public Domain Movie: I Bury The Living (1958)

I Bury The Living: Review

I Bury The Living is a 1958 horror film starring Richard Boone. Boone plays Robert Kraft, who has just been appointed chairman of the Immortal Hills Cemetery Management Committee. Kraft is the president of Kraft Department Store and is less than keen on taking on the extra–unpaid–responsibilities, but his uncle George pressures him into it, telling him that it is his turn and reminding him that it is only for a year anyway. Apparently the Krafts have a tradition of serving on comities and serving for free and that is why they have, through the generations, become such a respected family.

Despite his misgivings Robert accepts the position, but soon realizes that there is something strange going on. There is a large map hung on the wall of the cemetery office and it is vital part of the job. All of the cemetery plots, full and empty, are marked on the map. If someone reserves a plot there name is placed in the relevant section of the map, along with a white headed pin. A black pin indicates that the plot has been filled and this is how the problems start. When a couple of newly-weds reserve a plot Kraft uses black pins by mistake. He doesn’t even realize his mistake until he finds out that the couple has been killed shortly afterwards. When he goes to the map to swap the pins he sees that he does not need to and gets an odd feeling about it. Unfortunately for all concerned, Kraft just can’t seem to get the hang of sticking the right colours in the map and every time he sticks a black pin in by mistake someone dies.

Kraft quickly realizes what is happening but is at a loss to explain why it is happening and nobody else seems to believe his theory about the map. In fact the rest of the committee are so convinced that he is wrong that they insist that he stick black pins into their plots. It is the best way that they can think of to prove to him that there is nothing strange going on. Kraft gets his pins out and goes to work and shortly after that the gravedigger is getting out his shovel and going to work and Kraft is heading a committee of one. Then he has a brainwave and starts swapping black pins for white.

I Bury the Living is a strange film that is in a similar vein to The Twilight Zone TV series or the movie Carnival of Souls. It is one of the better B movies of its time and really is very good. Special effects are limited, the story itself is the driving force and the cast is strong enough to make it all seem strangely believable.

Additional Information

Director: Albert Band

Cast

Richard Boone … Robert Kraft
Theodore Bikel … Andy McKee
Peggy Maurer … Ann Craig
Howard Smith … George Kraft
Herbert Anderson … Jess Jessup
Robert Osterloh … Lt. Clayborne

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