Story: Arthur Blake is jailed for grave robbing and murder. Before he’s beheaded, a monk comes in and asks him to confess. Roll the backstory of how he came to do what he did, and all the strange and scary things he’s seen!
Scares: Though this is a horror comedy with an emphasis on black humor, there are a few groovy ghouls and just enough gore to keep horror hounds happy.
Splat Factor: See above. There’s some blood, but mostly it’s dead bodies and ghouls that rule the day. Or night. For a low-budget flick, the FX are surprisingly good.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Yep. But it’s fun rather than the usual drag.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul): Original. Burke and Hare came along two years later, but though that’s also about grave robbers, it takes a different tack.
Trick or Treat?: Like old-time horror? Body-snatchers? Black humor? Who doesn’t? I Sell the Dead is a hoot; one of those films that I figured would be a crapfest that tries too hard, but ultimately is a delightfully dark horror comedy that throws in a few good scares for good measure.
I especially love the spin on Jolly Olde England. No sepia, no grainy cinematography. It’s all shiny, though the props, set design and costuming aren’t given short shrift. Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden as the dead sellers, along with Ron Perlman as Father Duffy all seem to enjoy the hell out of their roles, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Phantasm’s own Angus Scrimm as the not-so-good Dr. Quint. A modern day horror film that feels like a goofy homage to Hammer films. No wonder it was a hit at Slamdance in 2009. Seek it out.
4 out of 5 pumpkins.