I Sell the Dead – USA, 2008

I sell the dead

‘Never trust a corpse’

I Sell the Dead is a 2008 American comedy horror feature film about grave-robbing written, edited and directed by Irish-born Glenn McQuaid (V/H/S). The Glass Eye Pix movie stars Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman, Larry Fessenden and Angus Scrimm.

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Plot:

18th century justice has finally caught up with grave robbers Arthur Blake and Willie Grimes. With the spectre of the guillotine looming over him, young Blake confides in visiting clergyman Father Duffy, recounting fifteen years of adventure in the resurrection trade.

Blake’s tale leads from humble beginnings as a young boy stealing trinkets from corpses, to a partnership with seasoned ghoul Willie Grimes as they hunt creatures unwilling to accept their place in the ground…

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Reviews:

“Even though it’s played for laughs, the film does a great job of setting the period and atmosphere. It’s authentically Dickens-era in the costumes and set designs, while the graveyards are sufficiently spooky and the undead make-up is adequately sepulchral. It was a darling of the film festival circuit, naturally. It is better to have wasted a good potential than to have no potential to start with.” Pete Trbovich, All Horror

I Sell the Dead is not only one of the few horror comedies to really work, but also a fittingly tongue in cheek Hammer tribute. McQuaid shows himself to be a genuine genre talent, and it is rewarding indeed to see a director really put effort into recreating, rather than simply referencing some of the classics of old.” James Mudge, Beyond Hollywood.com

“The gothic horror film has become somewhat of a lost art, so it’s nice to see someone trying to resurrect it (so to speak). And while McQuaid pays homage to the classic movies with his shrouded moors and grave-robbers, the movie simply falls short.” Mike Long, DVD Sleuth

I sell the dead blu

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

“If I have one criticism of the film it’s that I wished the two, when tussling with the undead, had a few more action scenes, but I assume that budget limitations killed the chances of this happening. This tale of buddy body-snatching is warm and witty and deserves high praise…” Darren Amner, Eye for Film

“As it stands, this delightful bit of gallows humor has its high points. It also suffers from occasional stumbles. Still, in a genre that sees more misfires than masterworks, I Sell the Dead is an excellent minor example of the latter. While it could have possibly been better, fans know it could be a whole helluva lot worse.” Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

“As far as the horror elements of the story are concerned they are centered around some of the stronger comedic moments of the film and do provide the bigger laughs. And there were some great laugh loud moments […] But I Sell the Dead is not without strong horror scenes and a good amount of blood letting.” Andrew Mack, Screen Anarchy

I-Sell-the-Dead-DVD

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“You’ve basically got it all here. There’s genuine scares and genuine laughs. The makeup work on the monsters is quite impressive and frightening, and there’s even some bits of zombie gore to enjoy. The script is smart and clever, and filled with intentional anachronisms that only serve to make the film more unique than it already is.” B-Sol, The Vault of Horror

“First-time director Glenn McQuaid is especially enthusiastic about the duo’s rivals (a Burton-esque family of rogues dubbed “The House of Murphy”), but the editing rushes through the best bits and trips up Arthur and Willie’s partnership. Supporting hobbit turned Lost axiom Monaghan is too reserved anyway, and even Fessenden holds back from hork-in-yer-top-hat unsavoriness.” Nicolas Rapold, The Village Voice

Cast and characters:

  • Dominic Monaghan … Arthur Blake
  • Larry Fessenden … Willy Grimes – Wendigo; Beneath; et al
  • Angus Scrimm … Dr. Quint – Phantasm franchise
  • Ron Perlman … Father Duffy – Season of the Witch; Pacific RimHellboy and Hellboy 2; Cronos
  • Brenda Cooney … Fanny Briers
  • John Speredakos … Cornelius Murphy
  • Daniel Manche … Young Arthur
  • Eileen Colgan … Maisey O’Connell
  • James Godwin … Old Man
  • Joel Marsh Garland … Ronnie
  • Aidan Redmond … Jack Flood
  • Alisdair Stewart … Bulger
  • Heather Bullock … Valentine Kelly
  • Chris Shaw … Executioner
  • Martin Pfefferkorn … Howling Man

Technical details:

85 minutes | 2.35:1

Filming locations:

Staten Island and East Village, New York

Related:

The Unsubtle Art of Body Snatching – article

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