Friday, December 18, 2009

Dan O'Bannon (1946 - 2009)

Dan O'Bannon died yesterday at the age of 63. He was the cousin of my college friend Brian, and one of the screenwriters (along with Ronald Shusett) of Ridley's Scott's 1979 masterpiece of space horror, Alien. He directed 1985's zombie comedy Return of the Living Dead and worked on the screenplays for Lifeforce and Total Recall, among other films.

But the movie for which I will most remember him is his and Shusett's follow-up to Alien, 1981's Dead & Buried. Starring James Farentino; Melody Anderson (Flash Gordon); Jack Alberston and Robert (Freddy Kreuger) Englund, Dead & Buried is set in the small Rhode Island town of Potter's Bluff. When a series of strange murders starts to take place, the local sheriff (Farentino) starts to become suspicious of the kindly undertaker/coroner (Albertson). As directed by Gary Sherman, D & B is shot through a dream-like foggy filter, making its strange events seem even more surreal.

I saw Dead and Buried with my sister (who will always be my favorite movie companion, even if it's been years since we actually went to the movies together) at a long-gone movie theater in the Quakerbridge Mall and we were both freaked-out by it's slowly building, quiet sense of doom (not to mention the freaky murders).

Thanks for the movie memories, Dan. I hope the projects you had in development come to fruition.

More on Dan O'Bannon's career on tomorrow's Zombie Zone post.

More, anon.

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