You know, there are sometimes when I go into a movie not really knowing what to expect and I come away from them really pleasantly surprised. Not that I was expecting them to be horrible movies or anything of the sort, you just really do not know what you're gonna get with them. And then there's times you go into a movie, particularly 80s horror, expecting a complete cheese fest with goofy deaths and even sillier plots. Sometimes there's a movie that sort of combines the two and what you end up having is pleasantly surprising with a decent amount of cheese involved. And, dare I say, this is one of those movies. I will say, however, that the cheesier aspects of the film, completely relating to James Faretino's overacting, really do hold the film back to me. Conceptually speaking, this movie is actually really fucking cool. While this movie was released in 1981, when the horror genre still hadn't figured out what it wanted to be during this decade, when you look back at it and what actually came after, this is a movie that, to me, was somewhat ahead of its time when it came to its story. Perhaps that's not really even what I mean, but when you compare it to a lot of the horror films that came out in the same decade, this movie really has far more on its mind than a lot of them. It's not just a horror movie that you watch for its gore and blood, it's a movie that actually gets you intrigued in its narrative and its setting where outsiders/visitors are murdered and then reanimated as members of Potter's Bluff, a small New England coastal town. The film sees James Farentino, who's both good and bad in this movie, investigating a series of increasingly gruesome murders taking place in town and the frequency with which they're occurring. The film is compelling enough to get by on the fact that, realistically speaking, until the climax, they don't really give you a whole lot of information to go on. They just show you the murders of the outsiders by all of the townspeople, who take photographs and film videos of these acts. They certainly give you something to work with, for sure, but there's not much. There's not really even any red herrings involved here. This isn't really a problem, since you're able to actually focus more on the motivations the villain may have. But for people who have grown accustomed to modern films, this might be a little weird, that they don't play with the possibility that it may be something else other than the first thing they throw out there. One of the flaws of the film that I found, and this may have SPOILERS so skip ahead, is the fact that everyone in town are reanimated corpses under control of this 'master'. They're aware of this and every week they go out to get a little make-up done to make their skin look perfect, as opposed to it rotting. The problem with this is the fact that Dan (Farentino's character) is also a reanimated corpse, which is the big reveal in the climax of the film, and yet he never once shows any signs of his skin deteriorating or rotting. Not to mention the fact that all of the townspeople are aware of their current status, whereas Dan isn't. And, again, that's not to mention that why, if Dan was gonna be brought back as sheriff, he would not just be under the control of the master. Why would the master run the risk of Dan ruining his entire operation? The theory goes that the master buried the corpse's heart in their casket instead of the body and that's how he's able to keep them under his control. So why would he not do that with Dan? These are all questions I had that I wish the movie would have explored or given me answers to, cause there's some holes in the film that, I think, were difficult to look over. Dobbs, the mortician, is a really interesting character in that he is absolutely obsessed with death and obsessed with reconstructing the faces of the corpses that are sent his way. He sees it as his art. So, really, the identity of the master should not be a surprise to anybody. There's a very limited number of possible suspects and Dobbs is the only one that makes sense. But I like Dobbs and his motivations for his actions. He's basically trying to perfect his reanimating techniques. He doesn't really even care about bringing back corpses, that he controls to do his bidding and murder outsiders, he just sees himself as an artist who's trying to completely dominate his art. As far as 80s horror villains, he might actually be one of the best. At least in terms for the motivation behind his actions, there's obviously far more memorable 80s horror villains. Jason, Freddy and Pinhead all come to mind. So, really, it shouldn't surprise anyone that a 70-year-old mortician might not make it on anyone's list, but he's still a great villain regardless. With that said, I really liked this movie. I'm only giving it 3 stars though. There's one reason for that and that is the fact that James Farentino's horrible overacting in the last act really robbed the film of some of its effectiveness. Because there are some downright laughable moments during the third act and they all relate to Farentino's terrible acting. If you had gotten someone that could, at the very least, tone it down a bit, I'd have no problem giving this 3.5 stars. There's also some plot holes that I felt were impossible to ignore, but that wasn't as much of an issue as Farentino's performance was. As it stands, the movie is still quite good. It's got an interesting story that has far more of its mind than horror films in the great decade and it's got a great villain to boot. In spite of its flaws, I'd still recommend this movie. I think horror geeks will enjoy it. There's certainly more good than bad here and that's more than enough for me.