I do not believe many people have heard of the movie I Sell the Dead (2008) from Irish director Glenn McQuaid.; but it is a nice little gem of a film for lovers of comedy-horror movies.
The movie begins in the 19th century; grave-robber Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden) is being brought to his fate; paraded in front of a crowd to the guillotine. He struggles, and makes fun of the executioner; but his fate is sealed, and his head chopped off. What a way to open a movie.
Awaiting the same fate as Willie Grimes is his partner Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan of The Lord of the Rings) who is visited by Father Duffy (Ron Perlman of Hellboy) come to give Blake his last rights before he faces the guillotine.
Father Duffy questions Blake, and is very interested in the rumors of the ghoulish activities that Grimes and Blake have gone through. Blake tells the story of how Grimes raised him since he was a boy, and how he was taught the trade of grave robbing. The two had a loyal client, a doctor, who only know what he was really doing with all the bodies he was given.
Well, one night of grave-robbing Grimes and Blake found a corpse that was buried away from the town with garlic around her neck, and a stake in her heart. The two thought it was odd but decided to take the body anyway, after Grimes pulls the stake out of the corpses heart the two are attacked by the corpse who seems to be a vampire. After subduing the Vamp. The two get a brilliant idea. Why not dig up other undead creatures, and sell them to anyone who will pay a high price for them.
Unfortunately, the two grave-robbers encounter some competition. The Murphy gang, a ruthless family who would not let anyone stand in their way to take what they believe is theirs. One night, after getting a tip of a new freshly dead prospect. Grimes and Blake spend hours to dig up a body surrounded by intense cold. They open the box only to find what looks like an alien.Yeah you heard me; a big black eyed, bald gray alien, there are various other surprises like this in the film.
This is the first-time the two grave-robbers encounter the Murphy gang. For Cornelius Murphy (John Speredakos) is awaiting them to steal their prize. They struggle over the body of the alien only to have the alien disappear in a ball of light. The two grave-robbers later face the Murphy clan again in a race to steal boxes filled with zombies.
There are plenty of funny moments in this movie. One moment is when a young Blake pretends to grieve for an old relative at a wake only to have the boy lock out the caretakers of the funeral home while young Blake and Grimes drag the body out the window.
One of my favorite funny scenes is when Grimes and Blake are on the Zombie Island and are captured by the Murphy clan along with one of the zombies. One of the Murphy clan is a woman who had survived a fire, and her normal habit is to show her deformed face to whoever she is about to kill.
As the two-grave-robbers sit all tied up and stare in agony as they view the female Murphy’s distorted face; the decomposed zombie in the cage behind them also becomes horrified and screams along with them.
Even though this movie was not a huge box office hit. According to Box Office Mojo I Sell the Dead only grossed $8,050 worldwide. I thought it was a fun quirky movie that’s worth a viewing. If you have an 1 hour 25 minutes to spare it makes for a nice movie night.
Here’s a little known fact. Believe it or not in late 1700’s and in the 1800’s grave robbing and underground autopsies were quite common. In fact, it was just discovered that under Benjamin Franklin’s old house in London, England they found 10 human skeletons (talk about having some skeletons in your closet); these skeletons date to when Franklin lived in the home.