Thank you, Glenn McQuaid, for letting us laugh at the desecration of holy ground again.
Shot on a tight budget, with New York City — mostly Staten Island — standing in for the British Isles in the nineteenth century, I SELL THE DEAD has pretty much nothing going for it except a neat cast, plus the visual inventiveness and sheer, audacious wit of its director, Mr. McQuaid. Fortunately, that’s more than enough.
Essentially a depiction of what would happen if Laurel and Hardy had to stoop to a less-savory profession to make their living, the film tells the tale of Arthur Blake (LOST’S Dominic Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden, better known as the director of such films as WENDIGO), two legendary grave robbers who specialize in the acquisition and redistribution of, shall we say, product that is very dead yet also quite animated.
Yup, not satisfied merely with portraying the finer points of digging up cadavers, McQuaid rallies zombies, vampires, and a few other creatures brought in from way left field to his cause, and throws in Ron Perlman as an inquisitive priest and Angus Scrimm as, what else, a big, scary guy. Granted, there’s not much in the way of a strong, narrative through-line here — watching the film, you’ll well understand how, at one point in its voyage to the screen, the script became a comic book — but I SELL THE DEAD’S approach is so infectious that you can’t help but relish every last, silly, episodic minute of it.
Click on the player below to hear my interview with McQuaid.