GRANDSON OF MADE FOR TV MOVIE WEEK: Buried Alive (1990)

Before he became known for his adaptions of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist, as well as his work on The Walking Dead TV show, Frank Darabont wrote the screenplays to Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors and the remake of The Blob. This film was the first he’d ever get the chance to direct.

Originally airing May 9, 1990 on the USA Network, this movie was produced under the title Till Death Do Us Part. It’s a very EC Comics-ish story of Clint Goodman (Tim Matheson, Animal House), a contractor who is very much in love with his wife, Joanna (perennial crush Jennifer Jason Leigh, the daughter of Vic Morrow who took the name Jason in her stage name as a tribute to family friend Jason Robards). Joanna, however, wants out of Clint’s small hometown, where he’s content to live simply and fish with his best friend Sheriff Sam Eberly (Hoyt Axton, Gremlins).

So she does what any of us would do. She shacks up with Cortland van Owen, a doctor who has plenty of tropical fish that he’s able to make poison out of. He’s also the guy who keeps performing abortions for her so that she never has to get stuck with Clint’s child. He’s played by William Atherton, who is the go to guy when you’re making a movie in the 1980’s and need someone to be a complete asshole.

Needless to say, the bad guys are comically evil in this one and Clint is the nicest guy ever, until he awakens in his own grave and has to claw his way back. From then on out, this becomes a revenge picture and a pretty decent one at that.

This is one of those films that has been long out of print and commands high prices on eBay. You can always turn to the gray market and find bootleg copies of it, as well as the sequel. It’s one of Becca’s favorite movies and we watch it pretty often in our house.

 

6 thoughts on “GRANDSON OF MADE FOR TV MOVIE WEEK: Buried Alive (1990)

  1. Gosh I loved this movie when I was growing up. Nothing better than a Count of Monti Crisco style revenge movie. I think the second one involved the guy aiding a woman that went through the same ordeal. I could be wrong though. What I loved is how he uses his craftsman skills to construct the maze and walks around with the welding helmet.

    I think I remember the ending being sort of bitter sweet. He gets revenge on his wife but has to leave town. His friend and sheriff played by Hoyt Axton (the dad from The Goonies) kind of sends him off knowing he’s alive yet not wanting to let anyone else know. I don’t know why, but that part always made me kind of sad. Anyways, it’s a great little TV movie.

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    • This is a great movie, but the sequel is a lame rehash. It is Tim Matheson’s character “Clint Goodman” who aides the woman, and digs her out, believing she was alive (she was). But besides the little subplot with Goodman, Buried Alive 2 is the exact same movie as the original, only with the gender roles reversed.

      With that said, I love the ending to the original Buried Alive. The Sheriff basically puts all the pieces together in the end, that Clint’s wife had tried to kill him, but apparently failed to, and that Clint had somehow dug his way out of the grave. He likely figured Clint got his revenge on her, but being a man of the law, he basically told Clint to get out of town, or he’d have to arrest him for murder (he doesn’t directly say all of this, but it’s implied). Clint acknowledges this, and leaves permanently (well, until Buried Alive 2 at least).

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  2. This has always been one of my favorite 90s made-for-TV horror movies, even though a guy who did a video review of the movie on YouTube stresses that you shouldn’t keep the VHS or DVD among your horror movie collection if you ever buy the movie. At the time that he did the review, I don’t think it had been released on DVD yet because he showed viewers a VHS that had been sent to him. I used to own this on VHS; that’s how much I love it! Couldn’t have been more thrilled because it gave me the chance to watch it hundreds of times! If you look for it on Amazon.com, it seems to have finally received an American DVD release (about time!) I don’t buy movies or books online, even though I like to browse online bookstores, so I’m glad that the man who did the YouTube review provided a link to go to if you want to watch it again (or for the first time.) I have also seen the sequel and I like it, but the first movie is a lot better. I feel that there are 2 problems with the sequel: 1. Despite beautiful Ally Sheedy’s great performance, it is, as others have complained, a complete rehash of this one. 2. The climax is completely implausible. She gets her revenge by trapping on a boat, a yacht, I believe. If they had shown the adulterous husband and his lover submerged underwater and drowning after showing the boat on the ocean floor, that would have been convincing. But they are shown in a seemingly airtight room, screaming in terror, as if there was no way that room could possibly have flooded, like the rest of the boat! I’m no expert, but isn’t that impossible?? The first time I watched the movie, I liked everything about it. On later viewings, I wanted to laugh at that ending because of how ridiculous I thought it was! One last thought: Not all of them were this great, but I loved USA Network’s “world premiere movies” from the 90s. Since I’ve discovered many years ago that I like scary movies that are made for television, I grew up with quite a passion for the majority of their movies. I just thought they had a lot of really good ones!

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