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The Undertaker (1988)

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  • The Undertaker (1988)



    For years Roscoe (Joe Spinell) has been the town undertaker. However, inside his funeral home, he’s been amassing a bloody collection of human souvenirs, which he uses in unspeakable acts of violence and perversion. When some townspeople begin to disappear under strange circumstances, Roscoe’s nephew starts to grow suspicious of the goings on at his uncle’s funeral parlor. As he gets closer to the truth, he inadvertently begins putting the lives of those around him at risk, as well as his own…


    As a big fan of Maniac, I tried to temper my expectations before watching this. At first, this seemed more like a low-tier slasher from the tail end of the 80s. It mostly is, but once Joe Spinell shows up, it becomes so much more entertaining. His scenes are easily the highlight as there's a genuine quality to it combined with a surprising amount of nastiness. More astonishing is that I started to really dig the scenes without him as the movie continued and teetered between well executed tension and laugh out loud moments. No, the rest of the film doesn't rise to match the intensity of Spinell who plays his character either like he's channeling Vincent Price or simply laughing like a lunatic. It's fun because of how inept the other characters are coupled with their acting. The character Nick is hilarious as he's so over the top in every scene. He can't go ten feet without bumping into someone and then there's the moment where he just screams at his girlfriend out of nowhere. Looking back on Spinell's character, Uncle Roscoe, he's not much more developed than any of the other disposable victims (and there's plenty), but he makes it feel like there's more to it. If anyone's a fan of Joe Spinell or of badly acted and terribly written slasher movie characters, you'll have fun with this. Oh, and keep an eye out for how much people sweat. It's as if everyone is melting before the camera.
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

  • #2
    After your review and that trailer I will be adding this one to my list of obscure horror I’ve missed out on! I thought I was well versed in this genre but man you’ve touched on several I’ve never heard of. Keep em coming!

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    • #3
      Word of caution: there are two releases. One is on DVD by Code Red and features a different cut of the film. The other release is a BD / DVD combo by Vinegar Syndrome and features (I think) the uncut version. Honestly, the Vinegar Syndrome release is beautiful other than 6 minutes of footage that was missing from the camera negative and had to be spliced in from a tape source. Definitely go for the Vinegar Syndrome release if you're looking to see it in some form or the other.
      People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

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