Pay dirt

Be­ing buried alive is old ground in the movies.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - by SU­SAn KinG

GASP! Ad­just your eyes. Feel around at your sur­round­ings. Don’t panic, but you’ve been buried alive.

And you have just 90 min­utes of air, a cell­phone, a lighter and a Swiss Army knife to help you es­cape from the suf­fo­cat­ing clutches of death.

Ryan Reynolds plays a truck driver in Iraq who finds him­self im­pris­oned un­der­ground by ter­ror­ists de­mand­ing US$5mil (RM16.5mil) for his re­lease in the new re­lease Buried. But he isn’t alone: there have been short sto­ries, movies and episodic TV an­tholo­gies that have also ex­plored this fright­en­ing predica­ment that gen­er­ally sends au­di­ences on a roller-coaster ride of thrills, horror and chills.

So catch your breath and en­joy some of the other buried-alive good­ies:


Edgar Al­lan Poe’s le­gendary story has been the tem­plate for many buriedalive-in-cof­fin movies.

In 1962, Roger Cor­man di­rected this de­li­ciously fun adap­ta­tion star­ring Os­car-win­ner Ray Mil­land as a man who has been tor­mented by the be­lief that his fa­ther was buried alive af­ter suf­fer­ing a catalep­tic at­tack. To avoid the same fate, he cre­ates a tomb with an es­cape route. Of course, his best-laid plains don’t ex­actly pan out.

In 1990, Frank Darabont helmed the USA TV movie Buried Alive, which of­fered a quirky twist on Pre­ma­ture Burial.

Tim Mathe­son plays a hus­band trapped in a love­less mar­riage with Jen­nifer Ja­son Leigh. She and her boyfriend (Wil­liam Ather­ton) de­cide to do him in and in­ject him with a lethal poi­son from a trop­i­cal fish.

Be­liev­ing he’s dead, they bury him. But he’s far from meet­ing his Maker and sets out to claw his way out of the grave and get re­venge. Mathe­son went on to di­rect the 1997 se­quel, Buried Alive II.

Czech di­rec­tor Jan Svankma­jer com­bined Poe and the Mar­quis de Sade for 2005’s an­i­mated horror film Lu­nacy, in which the Mar­quis is so afraid of be­ing buried alive that he em­ploys “purga­tive ther­apy”: In or­der to rid him­self of the fear, he has him­self en­tombed.


The sword-wield­ing char­ac­ter the Bride (Uma Thru­man) is buried alive as a pre­emp­tive strike by one of her would-be vic­tims (Michael Mad­sen) in Quentin Tarantino’s 2004 hit.

To the strains of En­nio Mor­ri­cone’s L’arena, from the 1968 spaghetti western Re­venge Of The Gun­fighter, she me­thod­i­cally works her way out of her cof­fin.


The 1988 French/Dutch in­ter­na­tional film, di­rected by Ge­orge Sluzier, is a breath­tak­ing thrill ride based on the Tim Krabbe novella The Golden Egg.

A man’s wife dis­ap­pears and he spends three years try­ing to dis­cover what hap­pened, al­though the au­di­ence finds out be­fore he does: she was kid­napped and buried alive.

The ab­duc­tor even­tu­ally re­veals him­self and sug­gests that he can sat­isfy the man’s de­sire to know ex­actly what she ex­pe­ri­enced. Bernard-Pierre Don­nadieu, Gene Ber­voets and Jo­hanna ter Steege star.

Sluzier also di­rected the 1993 Amer­i­can re­make, to far less ef­fect. Jeff Bridges plays the bad­die; Kiefer Suther­land plays the griev­ing boyfriend and young San­dra Bul­lock is the vic­tim.


Wil­liam Whit­ney, who di­rected many of the great se­ri­als dur­ing the 1930s and 40s, helmed a splen­did 1964 in­stal­ment of the Mas­ter of Sus­pense’s clas­sic tele­vi­sion se­ries, Fi­nal Es­cape.

Edd Byrnes from 77 Sun­set Strip plays a prison con­vict who de­vises a


Wel­come Home, a 1961 black-com­edy in­stal­ment of the ven­er­a­ble Boris Karloff-hosted horror and sus­pense TV an­thol­ogy, casts Karloff and Estelle Win­wood as dotty res­i­dents of a de­crepit South­ern man­sion who have a pen­chant for bury­ing their relatives alive and putting them in their mau­soleum. – Los An­ge­les Times/ McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices n Buried opens in Malaysian cine­mas on Oct 14.

Uma Thur­man stars as the Bride in Kill


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