A pair of grave robbers strike gold when they discover a wealth of undead corpses (including zombies, vampires, and other ghouls) buried in the local cemetery, bodies that earn them a fine reward from the seedy local doctors working under the guise of science. Their framed story is retold by Arthur Blake, the younger of the two thieves, who relays their adventures to a priest while awaiting the guillotine. Glenn McQuaid similarly strikes gold with this off-beat but highly original Horror Comedy, offering the same stunning cinematography and art design as the Hammer productions with a classic Gothic aesthetic. Fessenden and Monaghan make for a charmingly clever pair of down on their luck grave robbers, and they are joined by an equally talented and enjoyable cast of miscreants including the great Ron Perlman as the wayward priest. The production and design of the film could not have been improved, but I SELL THE DEAD falls just short of becoming a modern classic due to the uneven pacing brought on by its structure and format. As Blake begins each new tale, a great amount of time is spent setting up each new scenario and introducing new characters, which inevitably undermines the action, suspense, and horror. The fleshed out characters and plot are both appreciated, but not at the cost of a rushed payoff for each of the vignettes. McQuaid displays a tremendous amount of potential in this, his second film, and hopefully the open ending will allow for an even stronger sequel with the same sharp scripting and humor.
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