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(aka DEAD MATE)
dir. Straw Weisman, 1988
90 mins. United States.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 18 – 10 PM
“Don’t kiss me, I’m not dead…yet.”
We’ve all been there, you’re jolted awake from the reoccurring nightmare of having your still beating heart torn from your chest just before you head to your job working third shift at a diner where a man you’ve never met proposes marriage to you on the spot. Pretty standard fare. As it turns out this seemingly normal encounter would set off a chain of events for Nora Mae Edwards (Elizabeth Mannino in her only role) that she might never recover from. After accepting the proposal from John Henry Cox (David Gregory, a staple of 60’s television in his last role) and despite the ring drawing blood, she takes her meager possessions and heads off with her new fiancé to the subtly named town of Newbury.
Upon arrival the blushing bride-to-be is met by a gaggle of townsfolk who help usher her into her new abode – the local funeral parlor. Henry (as Nora prefers to call him) is a third generation mortician and the parlor serves not only as a business but a home as well. After a quick ceremony and honeymoon Nora settles in and finds a closet filled with clothes that just happen to be her exact size. Consequently she also finds a peep hole that looks directly into an operating room which she has been told is “off limits.” A series of bizarre encounters around town and new knowledge about her husband lead Nora to believe there may be more to these nightmares than once thought. What dark secrets are the town and its inhabitants hiding?
A titillating tagline and lurid box art during the video boom were essential and GRAVE ROBBERS (released as DEAD MATE in most markets) delivered on all fronts. Fans of similar genre fare like the recently screened NEKROMANTIK or Dan O’Bannon’s classic DEAD & BURIED take note – beneath the tawdry exterior is a creamy nougat center – a love story for the recently lobotomized. With countless notches on his belt from a four decade career as writer, director, producer, editor, and more – Weisman has seen and done it all and on the landmark 31st anniversary of the film’s release Spectacle is thrilled to host screenings of the beautiful restoration throughout the month of May with an appearance by the Brooklyn born director on the 10th.
Special thanks to the director, David Ginn/Films Around The World, and the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome for making these shows possible.