Thursday, August 19, 2010


I plead guilty. A few months ago, I started watching I Sell the Dead when it first aired on the premium channels… and I just couldn’t get into it. I think the story framing devise is what frustrated me with this film initially. The film opens with Arthur Blake being led into a small room in a (late-19th century?) prison. He sits at a table and is interviewed by a priest, who wants his testimony on how he came to be a grave robber. This leads to his first story of his youth and how he becomes an apprentice grave robber to his soon-to-be partner and mentor Willie Grimes. This set up takes about a half hour of film time and that is where I initially became bored with it. For weeks, I Sell the Dead kept festering in the back of my mind. How could a film with such a great cast star in a dull film. So, this Saturday night, I sat though it again and stuck though I Sell the Dead to the end. I’m glad I did, because this horror comedy is delightful blend of a period piece, a character drama and a truly unique and darkly funny horror film. As Arthur continues to tell more stories of his business with Willie, we are treated to their run-ins with many different denizens of the undead. They eventually start selling vampires, which become a hot commodity on the corpse market. Eventually, they dig up all sorts of supernatural (with one very funny and surprising exception) corpses that eventually end up with them being arrested for killing rival grave robbers. You’ll have to take my word for it that if you stick with I Sell the Dead through to the end, you'll be rewarded with one bizarre and hilarious climax.


  1. I can't say that it would be on my high priority list, but I love Perlman and certainly Dominic is an engaging little actor. It looks bizarre, but definitely something I might enjoy. I enjoyed hearing about it from you because it was completely off my radar. Interesting. Thank you Doc.

  2. This one was “off my radar” as well sci-fi fanatic. When I read the listing on my cable guide, I immediately IMDBed it, because of Perlman (my favorite genre character actor) and Dominic (whom I loved in LotR). Despite some negative reviews, I thought the film deserved a chance; a second chance as it turned out. I’m not sure what your tastes in horror are, S-FF, but the closest in tone that I can compare I Sell the Dead to is The Frighteners (1996). The Frighteners is an odd blend of horror-comedy, which stared Michael J. Fox as a phony ghostbuster and was Peter Jackson’s first “American” film.

    As a side note: Ron Perlman, who plays a priest in I Sell the Dead, must have a thing for the clergy, because he also plays “Father Drake” in Five Girls (2006) and “Brother Samuel” in Mutant Chronicles (2008).

  3. Yes, I've seen The Frighteners and that was quite good. If I recall correctly, Peter Jackson directed it or had something to do with it. All the best.

  4. Reading this review just reminds me of how many genre films I still haven't seen!!!
    Maybe I need to hunt this one down soon!
    Cool blog!

  5. Thanks for the kind words about Guardians of the Genre, Cyberschizoid and welcome to our blog. I know how you feel about feeling like you haven't seen all the many horror, sci-fi and fantasy flicks that come out every year. Horror flims in particular seem to grow like weeds. That's why the many fine blogs of the Horror Blogger Alliance are invaluable for finding out about the few excellent films in the morass of mediocrity that crops up in theaters and TVs every year. Unlike some other blogs, I don't even try to review every genre film that I watch. I do try to at least give a "heads up" to the films that I think are worth giving a try.