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I Sell the Dead

Montreal Premiere

  • USA 2008
  • 85 min
  • HD
  • English
Hosted by writer/director Glenn McQuaid, actor/producer Larry Fessenden and producer Peter Phok

WINNER: Vision Award, Slamdance Film Festival 2009
WINNER: Best Independent Feature, Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008
Official Selection, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2009

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Director: Glenn McQuaid
Screenplay: Glenn McQuaid
Cast: Dominic Monaghan, Larry Fessenden, Ron Perlman, Angus Scrimm
Producers: Larry Fessenden, Peter Phok
Distributor: Anchor Bay Canada


“Never, ever trust a corpse.” Cult filmmaker Larry Fessenden and LORD OF THE RINGS’s Dominic Monaghan star as a pair of ambitious graverobbers who stumble face-first into one occult freakout after another in this Victorian-era thrill ride that’s been winning awards everywhere its been exhumed. Arthur Blake (Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Fessenden) make their livings scavenging the dead in what is not so affectionately known as “the resurrection trade.” Our story begins with Blake sweating it out in a prison cell, hours before he’s slated to be executed. A hulking priest (played with relish by HELLBOY himself, Ron Perlman) has joined him to administer his last rites. Morbid curiosity being what it is, he sits Blake down and prompts him to spill the cemetery dirt on his crimes. And so begins a dizzying journey through 15 years of bodysnatching and supernatural strangeness—vampires, zombies, surgeons looking for undead cadavers and a thug who had dog teeth grafted into his gums are but a few examples of why it’s hard out there for an 18th-century ghoul!

A gothic love letter to classic Hammer horror films and all the unnatural things that go bump in the night, I SELL THE DEAD is reminiscent of Tim Burton’s best work, powered with the passion of early Sam Raimi. Beautifully shot and always cleverly staged, this is a film packed to the bursting point with personality, wit and invention, not to mention phenomenally individualistic performances (watch out for PHANTASM’s Angus Scrimm as an unscrupulous doctor). Director Glenn McQuaid tore up from the underworld as an accomplished visual effects artist, cutting his fangs on a wave of features for Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix, including THE LAST WINTER, TRIGGER MAN and THE ROOST. If you bore witness to the dawning of McQuaid’s directorial muscles when we screened his short THE RESURRECTION APPRENTICE at Fantasia in 2005, you’ll be happy to know that I SELL THE DEAD is a direct jump-off from that film, hurling its crypt-smashing protagonists through an increasingly bizarre series of adventures that will leave you giddy and amazed. Fessenden himself, the visionary writer/director behind HABIT, NO TELLING, WENDIGO and THE LAST WINTER, produced this one, and uses his manic energy as an actor in ways that are nothing short of career-defining. A joy from start to finish, and one of the best horror/comedies we’ve seen in deathless ages.

—Mitch Davis

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