Aug 21, 2020

Graverobbers (1988)

Nora is a waitress who marries a director of a funeral home in a small town.  She soon realizes the citizens of Newbury aren't normal, and the funeral home is the source of some bizarre shit.

 Nora Mae Edwards (Elizabeth Mannino) is a waitress in a diner who is proposed to by a complete stranger, John Henry Cox (David Gregory), and she accepts.

 Her colleague wonders what the hell is going did I.  A very bizarre way for our main character to get hooked up with this guy.

 She's taken to Cox Funeral Home, which serves as his place of business and his home.

 She gets married.

 We find that the inhabitants of this town are a bit peculiar.

Shit really starts to get weird when Nora takes a walk.

 She witnesses a cheerleader, Cicely Matthews (Kathleen Margo), get driven off the road.

I love that this is the best Kathleen Margo could muster for an expression as she crashes to her death.

The creepy EMT

 Cicely's body is put in the back of the ambulance.

The EMT takes off her bra and spreads her legs.


At the funeral home, Nora watches through a grate as Cicely is prepped in the mortician's lab.

 But something isn't quite right.  She's connected to electrodes and shocked.

 Nora explores the small town of Newbury.

 She goes to the library.

I love how in so many movies the protagonist is able to figure everything out just by going to the library.  It's like the movie makers think the library is some kind of mythical place where all the secrets of the world can be unlocked.  You see it in everything from Fonda's Race with the Devil to Se7en.

I miss the card catalog. 

 Nora finds a book which has a chapter on necrophilia. Did she really need to look this up in the library?  She didn't know this existed?

Cicely's funeral is attended by her cheerleader friends.

Nora takes a bath and is massaged by Cox.

He tries to drown her, but then laughs it off as a weird joke.

Nora teams up with Evan Matthews (Jerry Rector), Cicely's brother.

They open Cicely's casket and find it empty.

 They're pursued by zombies.

At the funeral home, she's attacked by Cox and thrown into his lab.

 She escapes and runs frantically through the town.

She hides under a table until the butcher lands a knife through the top.  She runs to the sheriff who isn't any help either.

Finally, she gets in a Hearse and hauls ass out of town.

She's pursued by this guy.

 As he gets further from Newbury, the "spell" loses effect and he loses any semblance of being alive.

 This is fucking awesome.

She's captured and taken back to the funeral home... but then she wakes up in the diner.  Was it all a dream? 

I'd hesitate to call this a hidden gem, but it was surprisingly good - and I'm amazed I never heard of this, or even remember seeing it on the shelves at the old video rental store.  It could have used a bit more gore and sleaze, but still well executed, and the rural New York location was perfect. Elizabeth Mannino, in her only film credit, was good enough, but a bit plain and flat in her performance.

Double Feature: Another film which oddly centers on necrophilia as the source of dark comedy - Drop Dead Sexy (2005).

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