Aside from sitting through a Tyler Perry movie marathon, what’s more horrifying than the thought of being buried alive? OK, fine; watching Love, Actually. But you get my point. Being put underground and left for dead is a horrifying prospect. Which is what makes the new film, Buried, so intriguing.
The premise is simple: a man, played by Ryan Reynolds, wakes up six-feet underground with nothing but a lighter, a knife, a cell phone, and no recollection of how he got there. In fact, the premise is so simple that it doesn’t seem like it could carry a feature film. But based on the positive reviews thus far, the filmmakers found a way to make a compelling movie about a man in a box.
In honor of this achievement, we’ve put together a list of nine classic “buried alive” movies. Enjoy, or so help me God, I will put you in the ground while you’re still breathing.
Jeff Harriman – The Vanishing (1993)
Spoiler Alert. This movie sucks. End Spoiler Alert
I guess if you really don’t want to know what happens, you should stop reading now. But considering you already know the title of the article, the ending is already ruined.
At the end of the European version of this film, the hero wakes up in a coffin. At the end on the American remake, the hero wakes up in a coffin, but his girl friend rescues him. In both cases, people get buried alive, which is why this film made the list. The clip above is the American trailer (click here for the European version).
Fergie – Witness (1985)
If you’re playing a deadly game of cat and mouse, it’s helpful to have modern technology at your disposal. Unfortunately for Harrison Ford’s character in Witness, he’s staying with an Amish family. But Ford makes the best of a bad situation by tricking his pursuer into entering a silo and burying him alive in an avalanche of corn. All’s well that ends well. See it happen at the five minute mark…
Julian Marty – Blood Simple (1984)
In Blood Simple, Ray finds the body of Julian, the husband of the woman he is sleeping with. Thinking she is to blame for the shooting, he cleans up the scene in order to protect her. But when he goes to dispose of the body, he discovers that although Julian is badly wounded, he is still alive. Sometimes when you have a plan, it’s best to see it through, so Ray buries him anyway. Watch it above at the five minute mark…
Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
In Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones discovers that the Nazi’s are digging for the Ark in the wrong place. With the help of his friend Sallah, Indy tracks down the correct location. While Indy is retrieving the Ark, the Nazi’s realize what has happened and take the treasure for themselves. Rather than reward Indy for finding the long-lost artifact, they decide to seal him in the tomb along with his girlfriend Marion, making them a permanent addition to the archaeological find. Who knows, in a thousand years, even they may be worth something?
Ann Marie Deacon – Dirty Harry (1971)
If you’re going to kidnap a girl and bury her alive, the last thing you want to do is tell Inspector Harry Callahan about it. I guess the Scorpio killer didn’t get the memo. When he kidnaps a girl and demands ransom before her air runs out, Callahan is the one delivering the money. Rather than just take the money and let the girl live, Scorpio is foolish enough to hit Harry and unveil his intentions to let her die. That turned out to be a pretty stupid move, since Scorpio soon finds himself with a bullet in his leg and Harry’s shoe on the wound. Sure, the girl didn’t make it, but that didn’t stop Harry from dispensing some justice.
You don’t really see much of the girl being buried alive, but click here to enjoy this clip of Harry using some advanced interrogation techniques on the perp.
Carl Bugenhagen – Damien: Omen II (1978)
In The Omen II, an archaeologist who knows the truth about young Damien asks his friend to deliver a box to the child’s current guardian. Insid the box is the secret of killing the boy-Antichrist. The friend is unconvinced, so the archaeologist takes him to a set of ancient ruins (Yigael’s wall) with a depiction of Damien’s face. By now the friend believes, but it’s too little, too late. Apparently old Beelzebub caught wind of what was going on, and decided to cave in the tunnel, burying them alive. Oh well.
Harry Wentworth – Creepshow (1982)
When you think of Leslie Nielsen, the words “double murder” probably don’t come to mind. After all, Police Squad’s Lt. Frank Drebin had his faults, but he wasn’t a killer (Nordberg was, but that’s another story). That’s why it’s so bizarre to see him in Creepshow. During the “Tide You Over” segment, Leslie finds out that Ted Danson (a.k.a. Sam Malone) is banging his woman. Rather than just shoot them both in the face like a normal human being, Leslie buries them both up to their necks in sand, and lets the tide do them in. To add insult to injury, he rigs up video cameras so Ted can watch the woman die first while he waits for his turn, putting a modern twist on an old favorite.
The Bride – Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
When The Bride is buried alive in Kill Bill Vol. 2, she takes an interesting approach to making her escape: she punches her way out. Using martial arts techniques acquired from her master Pai Mei, The Bride repeatedly strikes the top of the coffin until it cracks. She then claws her way back to the surface. I’m not exactly sure why a ton of dirt didn’t pour in and crush her to death. Yeah, it’s kind of stupid, but later on in the movie she rips someone’s eye out, so I don’t care. Take the good with the bad.
Nicky Santoro – Casino (1995)
Obviously, the act of burying someone alive is cruel, but this scene from Casino is particularly brutal. It’s one thing to put a guy in a box and bury him. It’s quite another to pummel him with baseball bats and then cover him up with dirt while he desperately gasps for air. Granted, Nicky and his brother both had it coming, but at least have the courtesy to finish them off.