I Sell the Dead

I Sell the Dead is currently on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime.

I Sell the Dead (2008) – Not rated.

“As 19th-century grave robber Arthur Blake faces the guillotine, he confesses his sins to a priest, revealing a life filled with unearthly high jinks in this macabre comedy starring Dominic Monaghan as the doomed digger and Ron Perlman as the cleric.”

“Every Burke needs a little Hare.”

Glenn McQuaid not only writes, directs and edits I Sell the Dead but also wrote a graphic novel for Image Comics based on his screenplay. This is not terribly surprising as many of the film’s segues are told as comic panels. After working for Larry Fessenden on The Last Winter as title designer and visual effects supervisor, McQuaid cast director Fessenden as gravedigger Willy Grimes. Fessendon does a good job of playing second fiddle to our other gravedigger.

Dominic Monaghan finally gets a lead role as likable gravedigger Arthur Blake. The creepy Angus Scrimm, the Tall Man in all the Phantasm movies, plays the demanding Dr. Knox fill-in, Dr. Quint. Genre stalwart Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Outlander, The Last Winter) plays Father Duffy, sent to interview Blake before his execution.

The movie references are innumerable. The priest speaking to the condemned man to get his life story, setting up the movie to be told in flashback was used in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957). Obviously the charming gravediggers harkens to the story of Burke & Hare which was told in The Body Snatcher (1945), The Flesh & The Fiends (1960), and Burke & Hare (1972 and 2010).

I Sell the Dead has a rather dry, dark sense of humor. This raises more smiles than chuckles but is quite enjoyable none the less. It starts off like Burke & Hare but then the enterprising gravediggers discover a body wreathed in garlic with a stake through her chest. That is just the beginning of surprises that I do not want to spoil.

People Watch: I Sell the Dead has numerous in-jokes and homages to classic horror films. As in Frankenstein (1931), “A good cast is worth repeating!” is shown before the end credits.

Lost – Do Not Get on That Plane week

This is Do Not Get on That Plane week. Lost seasons 1-5 are currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Lost season 1-5

“Stranded on a tropical island after their plane crashes 1,000 miles off course, a group of castaways must learn to survive in their new home, avoid the gigantic something crashing through the trees and determine whether they are really alone. Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Terry OQuinn, Dominic Monaghan and Naveen Andrews head the diverse ensemble cast in this landmark series, which won an Emmy for Best Drama.”

What can I say about one of the best shows on television? It begins with a bang and is endlessly fascinating.

The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous with locales chosen from all over Hawaii. It looks especially good in HD for those who are using a set top box.

The large ensemble cast is definitely one of the reasons the show is such a winner. While there are members who get more attention than others, hardly anyone is skimped on. Almost all of the characters arrive on the island while on the run.

Matthew Fox appears to play our quintessential hero, Dr. Jack Shepherd. It is not long before we find out that while the Doctor is heroic and a natural leader, he is also deeply flawed. He represents the voice of reason. Michael Keaton was originally cast in the role.

Terry OQuinn plays John Locke, almost the polar opposite of Jack. He is a deeply spiritual man who finds his answers on the island. He represents the voice of faith. Terry had previously worked with J.J. Abrams on Alias.

John Locke is not the only character named after a philosopher. Lost also has characters named Jeremy Bentham, Anthony Cooper and Rousseau as well as scientists Faraday and Minkowski.

Other main characters include Sawyer, a rogue, Kate, our woman of mystery, the Kwons, an unhappy Korean couple, the hapless Hurley, and Sayid (my favorite), an Iraqi.

Telling you much more about the characters spoils a few of the surprises though Sawyer, Kate and Jack form the main romantic triangle in the show.

The writing is simply amazing. It manages to be very literate while giving each character their own voice. A common failing among series is that the dialogue of different characters becomes interchangeable.

The writers juggle dozens of plot threads with a great deal of finesse. The only thing that is infuriating is that for every mystery they resolve, they add two more. Having said that, it does come together as one big story as opposed to 24 where Jack Bauer and CTU clearly forget every lesson they learned from each season when the new season starts.

Lost is not the best TV series on instant Netflix (Dexter carries that honor) but I heartily recommend it if you have the time to invest. The first five seasons are currently available on instant Netflix. The current season (6) is supposed to be the last and they are clearly winding up the threads.

People Watch: Two members of the cast of Con Air (covered earlier this week) also appear in lost. Rachel Ticotin appears in two episodes as Captain Teresa Cortez and M.C. Gainey appears in 18 episodes as Tom Friendly.