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Buried Alive (1990)

A husband finds out that his wife and her lover are trying to kill him.


Frank Darabont


David A. Davies (story), Mark Patrick Carducci (teleplay)
4,774 ( 465)




Complete credited cast:
Tim Matheson ... Clint Goodman
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Joanna Goodman
William Atherton ... Cortland 'Cort' van Owen
Hoyt Axton ... Sheriff Sam Eberly
Jay Gerber Jay Gerber ... Quintan
Wayne Grace ... Bill Scorby
Donald Hotton ... Reynolds
Brian Libby ... Earl
Peg Shirley Peg Shirley ... Helen Eberley
David Youse ... Billy
Milt Hamerman Milt Hamerman ... Coroner
Michael Keep ... Foreman
Jan Merlin ... Attorney
James Scally James Scally ... Priest
Dale Swann ... Fire Captain


Clint is an every day working man whose wife Joanna is having an affair with a doctor. They plot to kill him and get the insurance money. Only trouble the drug overdose they give him doesn't kill him. Lucky for Clint he's buried in a cheap wooden box and he unburies himself. Just remember, Hell hath no fury like a man buried alive! Written by Robert Svacha <chisox@azstarnet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One of them put an end to the marriage, until the other came back for revenge. See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


According to John Carpenter on the audio commentary for Vampires (1998) that director Frank Darabont (who are very closed friends and Frank had a cameo in that film) asked Carpenter to play as a truck driver. Carpenter turned the offer down because he stated that he would only play a character that is about to or is killing someone or he's in bed with a beautiful woman. See more »


At the morgue, when Clint is about to be embalmed, his head moves. Earl, the embalmer, says it is just a reflex and that he has seen it before. As embalmers can attest, dead bodies are known to belch, fart, twitch and, on rare occasions, sit up. This is due not to "reflex" but because of gases moving through the body and muscles contracting as chemical changes begin. See more »


Joanna Goodman: [trapped inside the coffin-like crate] Please... why are you doing this to me?
Clint Goodman: [speaking to her through the lid] Like a rat in a maze... remember?
Joanna Goodman: Clint?
Clint Goodman: Our child, Joanna... was it a boy or a girl?
[pause, no reply]
Clint Goodman: Suppose it doesn't matter?
See more »


Referenced in Post Mortem with Mick Garris: Frank Darabont (2010) See more »

User Reviews

Greed loses out.
19 August 2009 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Imagine the nightmare of being buried… alive! Suddenly opening your eyes to find yourself in such a condense space… to only realize where you are. In a panic, heavy-breathing kicks in and you begin scratching the inside top of the coffin in frantic desperation. Then you punch continuously as your fists go numb not feeling the pain as the adrenaline rushes to your head. Screaming out your lungs with no prevail, until you break through the coffin to have dirt pouring in. But the remaining strength you preserved, you go for bust as your hand breaks through the top layer of dirt followed by the rest of the arm to eventually pull yourself up, as your head arrives to take a big grasp of air and to finally end it yelling in growing pain. Resurrection… ready for vengeance!

The TV movie 'Buried Alive' is an exceptionally solid and always compelling atmospheric little revenge thriller with a considerable dark streak and a fitting sense of humour. The performances are very strong with Tim Matheson's hearty performance leading the way. The gorgeous Jennifer Jason Leigh's sassy, but extremely cold-hearted turn is picture-perfect and William Atherton hammers down his seamy role. Hoyt Axton is good with his short level headed part as the town sheriff.

Clint Goodman is very likable, do-it-yourself man with a very productive timber business in a small town. However his unhappy wife Joanna is having an affair with her Doctor, the weasel Cortland Van Owen. He gives her a deadly serum, taken from the ovaries of an exotic fish which will induce a heart attack. She tries it during dinner (dropping it in a glass of wine), and it comes off. Well not for long, as he didn't die and rises from his grave in anger for revenge on his wife and lover.

The brooding story sometimes moves in and out of the profound concept with it leaking some contrived aspects, but it's scheming and double crossings are pulled off in a very entertaining (if not convincing) manner. Director Frank Darabont (best known for Stephen King adaptations of 'Shawshank Redemption', 'The Green Mile' and 'The Mist') makes his directorial debut with great assurance. The direction is well-grounded and tightly handled with quite a few well-derived set-pieces of striking imagery and atmospheric tension. Michel Colombier's score is just as calculative as the story melding in a dangerously soothing current with some eerie piercing. Screaming riffs with beaming basses.

A commendably amusing TV thriller entry.

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Release Date:

9 May 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Till Death Do Us Part See more »

Filming Locations:

Botswana See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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