I Sell the Dead
Larry Fessenden, Brenda Cooney, Dominic Monaghan, Ron Perlman, Angus Scrimm
Arthur Blake (Monaghan, aka Charlie from Lost) steals corpses from their graves, but it’s not his fault. “It was body snatchin’ or the streets for me,” Blake explains. After his father died, Blake was forced to support his mother and baby brother by taking the only job available to him: grave robber’s apprentice. Willie Grimes (Fessenden), a whiskey-swilling, cadaver-burgling pro, shows Blake the rope — as in the rope you tie around the corpse to pull it through the hole you’ve chopped in its casket lid. I Sell the Dead begins with Grimes decapitated by a guillotine blade and Blake, awaiting his own execution, offering a sort of confession to a priest (Perlman). Blake, arrested after the police followed a trail of dismembered body parts from the station to his front door, claims he’s been framed for the murder rap, but he does cop to being a grave robber, and later a “ghoul,” someone who obtains the undead — vampires, zombies, and others. The plot reads like a custom-made cult classic, and it very nearly is. The principals are awesomely cast and seem to be having a great time, and secondary characters such as the thug with dog teeth grafted into his gums and the lecherous corpse-coveting Dr. Quint (played with cartoonish creepiness by Phantasm’s grave-robbing Tall Man Scrimm) deserve their own action figures. The plot, however, is episodic and insubstantial, made up of shaggy-dog pub stories and more interested in introducing these characters than having them interact — it’s light and enjoyable, but unlikely to inspire actual fanaticism. It’s not a cult classic, but I Sell the Dead will keep you occupied until the next one comes along. I Sell the Dead is available beginning Wednesday to cable subscribers via the Independent Film Channel’s video-on-demand service.