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I Bury the Living (July, 1958)

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I Bury the Living

Released in July, 1958: Richard Boone, in his only horror picture, is the volunteer caretaker of the local "Immortal Hills" cemetary, and discovers that he controls fate of the living with the push of a pin.

Directed by Albert Band

The Actors: Richard Boone (Robert Kraft), Theodore Bikel (Andy McKee), Peggy Maurer (Ann Craig), Howard Smith (George Kraft), Herbert Anderson (Jess Jessup), Robert Osterloh (Lieutenant Clayborne), Russ Bender (Henry Trowbridge), Lynette Bernay (Elizabeth Drexel), Cyril Delevanti (William Isham), Ken Drake (Bill Honegger), Matt Moore (Charlie Bates), Glen Vernon (Stuart Drexel)


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This Richard Boone Horror flick starts with the statement: "Science has learned that man possesses powers which go beyond the boundaries of the natural. This is the story of one confronted by such strange forces within himself." So begins a modern day 1950's mystery that may or may not be based on fact. Richrd Boone was famous for his cowboy persona, including his smash hit television show 'Have Gun, Will Travel.' This is the only known horror movie that Richard Boone starred in.

Bob Kraft (Richard Boone) is a young businessman that is president of the town's largest department store. When Bob is chosen to be the volunteer head of the local 'Immortal Hills' cemetary, he resists, insisting that he is too busy with his work at the department store. But his uncle George reminds him that for generations the Kraft family has donated time and money to the local community, and it is now time for Bob to serve the town as head of the town cemetary for one year. On his first day the elderly caretaker shows him around, and proudly explains the large map on the wall. It has spots for every gravesite already taken, and the ones that have been purchased and reserved for living towns people. If the person has already died and been buried, there is a black push pin in the map, but if the plot has been reserved but the person is still alive, there is a white push pin in that spot.

As they are talking, a young couple that have just been married drop by. The new husband explains that in order to get his inheritance, he must reserve gravesites for himself and his young wife as soon as they are married. So Bob grabs a couple of push pins and marks the spot for the two new grave spots and returns to his office at the department store. He isn't there long before he gets word that the newlyweds have died in a car crash. When he returns to the cemetary to handle the details, he discovers that by mistake instead of putting white push pins into the map, there are black push pins there. Did Bob put black push pins into the map instead of white ones? Did the young couple die because Bob put black push pins into the map? Bob has weird feelings that he was responsible for their deaths because he mistakenly put the wrong color pin in the map. When the old caretaker is not paying attention, Bob grabs a black push pin, and with his head turned away puts a black pin into the map at a random spot. When he turns to see where it landed, he leaves the black pin and removes the white pin that was next to it, and leaves the cemetary. Later he learns that the man that reserved the plot that got his random black pin has died, and Bob is now more convinced that he has the power of life and death by putting black pins into a cemetary map. Uncle George is still convinced that there is nothing to this, and convinces Bob to put a black push pin in the grave site of the previous year's volunteer cemetary director, and when he dies that night, uncle George is still unconvinced.

Bob wants to quit his duties at the cemetary, and his uncle agrees, on one condition. Uncle George gets together with two other businessmen and they make a deal with Bob. He is to replace all three of their white pins with black pins. Bob reluctantly does, and when all three die in separate and seemingly natural ways, Bob is just about out of his mind with fear and grief. The unbelieving policeman that Bob tried to convince comes to the cemetary and asks Bob if there is a plot reseved for a certain man, and when Bob says, yes, the policeman tells him that he'd better put a black pin in the spot. Bob does, and asks the policman how the man died. The cop answers that he isn't dead, but is a healthy young businessman currently in Paris, France. The police will only believe Bob if this man in paris, an ocean away, dies suddenly.

Bob remains in the small cemetary building with the map, going quietly insane with fears of his power over death, when a strange thought overcomes him. If he can kill people by putting a black pin in the map, can he bring them to life by replacing the black pin with a white one? He grabs the box of white pins and puts a white pin in all of the plots that he may have influenced with the black pins, and then falls to the floor in an inconcious stupor. On awakening it is night, and he rushes outside the building to look at the fresh gravesites of the recently departed, and discovers that the graves have been opened and appear to be empty. He rushes back to the small cemetary building and once inside . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.