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Movie review: "I Sell the Dead"

Updated on June 13, 2011

One of the best movies I've seen in a while!

 "I Sell the Dead" directed by Glenn McQuaid, starring Dominic Monaghan and Ron Perlman is an awesome horror-comedy I recently enjoyed from my local library.

The story is told as the last-minute death-row confession of Arthur Blake, a professional grave robber in 18th-century England. He had his partner and mentor, Willie Grimes start out stealing corpses for the vaguely sinister Dr. Quint who refuses to pay them but ensures their cooperation through blackmailing them with the threat of the police. On one job, they encounter a corpse impaled with a wooden stake and draped with garlic cloves, both of which they remove. The dead girl regains a semblance of life and tries to attack and bite them both.

From this initial encounter with the undead, they discover that there are a "select few" that will pay more for walking corpses than traditional, still ones. Competing with Arthur and Willie in this underground cottage industry is the House of Murphy, a criminal gang of disfigured freaks and sociopathic killers who take their grave-robbing much more seriously. What follows is a crazy heist story with zombies, aliens, knife-throwers, and men with donkey teeth. You have no idea how cool this movie is.

I am a huge Ron Perlman fan, and that was before he played Hellboy. Hellboy is one of the greatest and most original comic book heroes of all time, and even though the movies are lacking some of the qualities of the comic, Ron Perlman's performance cannot be faulted. It is seldom as a fan that one watches the movie and says, "Wow! That's what the character should sound like!" In "I Sell the Dead" Perlman is Father Duffy, the priest sent to take Arthur's confession before the guillotine. His obssession with the occult is as thick as his Irish brogue, and I loved it. What a great character for a great character actor!

No, as far as straight horror goes, this is not very scary movie. The emphasis is more on dark humor, with a liberal smattering of blood and gore. There are a few jump-out-and-grab-you "eek" moments, and the makeup effects are very well-done. The casting is exceptional, and the script is fantastic. I really can't find flaw with this movie; I would in fact like to have watched more of it and can only hope for a sequel. I would strongly recommend this for viewers who are already fans or aficianados of traditional horror and monster movies; it is not a good introductory movie to the horror genre, nor will it appeal to the "Saw"/"Hostel"/"Captivity" fan of extreme gore and torture porn.


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