I Sell The Dead (Blu-ray / DVD)

I Sell the Dead on Blu-ray and DVDReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman, Larry Fessenden, Angus Scrimm

Written and directed by Glenn McQuaid

Distributed by IFC Films

So, it’s a fairly simple equation. What do you get when you take the great Hammer films of yesteryear, add in even more of an EC Comics flavor, dab on a tiny bit of Creepshow, and hire an incredible cast to bring it all to life? Four words — I Sell the Dead, the latest feature film to hit home video from IFC.

Before we start singing the flick’s praises, of which there are many, let’s bang out a quick plot synopsis for the uninitiated. Larry Fessenden (channeling an amazing Jack Nicholson-like amount of craziness) and Dominic Monaghan are two Victorian-era grave robbers who make their living the old fashioned way — by digging it out of the dirt and plundering as many caskets and crypts as they can. Unfortunately for our somewhat nefarious duo the trail of corpses leads right back to their front doors, and they are both condemned to death. There’s just one problem — death isn’t what it used to be! In fact, these buggers, from zombies to vampires to ummm … you’ll see, prove to be quite lively despite the no doubt painful rigor mortis.

I Sell the Dead on Blu-ray and DVDI Sell the Dead‘s plot(s) unfolds via Monaghan’s character, who finds himself with only a priest (Ron Perlman) as company on his last night before facing the gallows. His various yarns detailing how exactly he got into said predicament will have you both shrieking and laughing equally as loud. There are a few bumps along the way in the form of some minor pacing issues, but otherwise this is one of the single most enjoyable, fun, dark, demented, and pitch perfect horror comedies to come around in quite some time.

The DVD and the Blu-ray releases share the exact same bits of supplemental material, but if you have the tech, I simply cannot recommend enough nailing this flick down on Blu-ray. While its standard def cousin looks and sounds pretty damned good itself, in full 1080p and with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that’s home to Jeff Grace’s appropriately over-the-top score, this world just comes to life. You’re gonna love it!

In terms of the supplemental features things kick off with two commentary tracks, one with actors Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden and the other with writer/director Glenn McQuaid. McQuaid’s is, as expected, a bit more on the technical side, but if that’s not your bag, then Monaghan and Fessenden’s will have you laughing your asses off. Either one cannot miss.

I Sell the Dead on Blu-ray and DVDWhat does miss its mark a bit, though, is the over an hour long making-of. While there are a few interesting bits here and there including cast and crew interviews, it’s mostly comprised of random b-roll someone was shooting on the set. You’ll be really challenged to watch this without hitting fast forward. After that we get a much better featurette on the film’s various visual effects that clocks in at around thirteen or so minutes. Add on the trailer and a really cool comic book adaptation, and we are finished. Overall this is a fairly solid haul.

Mark my words! Keep your eye on director Glenn McQuaid (and read our recent interview with him here). This guy has some serious chops and, should he continue within our beloved genre, is going to go very far! Also, I don’t know about you, but once I saw director Larry Fessenden acting in front of the camera, I found myself hoping that he stays there a bit more. He owns the screen every second that he’s on it. Really good stuff.

If you’re looking for a break from the endless barrage of remakes, the multitude of torture porn flicks, and the non-stop crop of graphic novel adaptations, I Sell the Dead is a fine reminder of just how good an original movie can be when some heart and soul are thrown in with the severed limbs and lovingly splattered blood!

Special Features

  • Commentary with stars Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden
  • Commentary with writer/director Glenn McQuaid
  • The Making-of I Sell the Dead featurette
  • The Visual Effects of I Sell the Dead featurette
  • Trailer
  • Comic book


    4 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss I Sell the Dead in our Dread Central forums!

    Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    Get Your Box of Dread Now
    *US Residents Only .
    • Floydian Trip

      Best way to tell if a horror movie is good during this generation if it’s impossible to get by convenient methods. Can’t buy it at a store and can’t rent it either. It must be great.

    • Floydian Trip

      I actually prefer Larry as writer/director/actor. Habit is great.

    • Floydian Trip

      Do it for Larry.

    • Vanvance1

      Definitely going to pick this one up. Thank-you for the review.

      One request though: ‘torture porn’. What the hell is that? I seem to recall it’s something the mainstream media used a few years back to slam horror (yet again).

      It is an ugly, stupid phrase that should be abolished from the horror fan’s vocabulary.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Torture Porn is really not too as much of a slam as saying that hunting magazines are gun porn. With the 100’s of movies which feature some poor schelp being tied to a chair and mutilated while they scream and cry incessantly it’s actually become its own sub-genre.

        • Vanvance1

          Creepy and Terminal make valid points.

          Fine, we now own ‘torture porn’.

          I eagerly await a balls to the wall torture porn flick. I suppose it will come from a French director.

          • Floydian Trip

            Just watch Martyrs dude it’s as balls to the wall torture flick as we’ll ever see and it was French.

            • Vanvance1

              I loved Martyrs! It’s everything American horror needs to be and isn’t.

              I also loved Frontiers and Inside.

              I fantasize about taking the Twilight crowd and having them watch a double feature of Martyrs and Inside so they know what real horror is.

            • Floydian Trip

              The Twilight crowd doesn’t think Twilight is horror.

            • The Woman In Black

              But the Oscars crowd does! LOL

            • Floydian Trip

              Either way we’re fucked!

            • FireRam

              I thought FRONTIERS was really good. Saw INSIDE also. I have yet to see MARTYRS yet and damnit I mean to just haven’t. The fact that you grouped MARTYRS with two that I have seen and liked gives me an inclination that I will like it so damnit I need to get it watched!

      • Terminal

        “Torture Porn” is a phrase used to slur the genre, yes, but we’ve made it our own. People also used to call many grindhouse flicks “Exploitation” and look how we turned it in to a word we can wield proudly.
        “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

    • Cinemascribe

      I foresee a rental if not outright purchase in my immediate future. This sounds like a lot of fun.
      “I’m saying that I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man…and loved it. But now the dream is over..and the insect is awake.” – Seth Brundle