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Dead & Buried (1981): Soundtrack

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Dead & Buried (1981): Soundtrack

Dead & Buried‘ is a horror film released in 1981 and was written by horror legend Dan O’Bannon and directed by Gary Sherman.

This is definitely not a pure zombie film – it is an eccentric and curious film that features the dead coming back to life, but at its heart it is a detective-horror story, almost like Twin Peaks in some ways.

The plot centers on a small town in Rhode Island that wakes from its sleepy day-to-day existence and erupts in violence when gangs of locals start murdering tourists and strangers that are passing passing through. Soon the murder victims start rising from the dead and a bewildered Sheriff is left to try and solve just what the hell is taking place.

This is a gory and intriguing horror where everything seems offbeat and an air of menace lurks in many of the shots. This is another one of the many films that got caught up in the early 80s ‘video nasty’ hysteria and was subsequently banned for a while.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack was composed by Joseph Renzetti who is a US composer born in 1941.

Renzetti began his career as a session musician and played guitar on a number of famous records in his role as studio guitarist for Cameo Records. Renzetti’s interest in music and his fascination in the fast-developing modern music technology and production techniques led him to broaden his skill-set as an arranger and a producer.

His big break came in 1973 when he was nominated, and won, an Oscar for ‘Best Adaptation Score’ for his work on the film ‘The Buddy Holly Story‘.

Renzetti went on to create soundtracks for a number of other films, including some well known horror movies like ‘Child’s Play‘, ‘Poltergeist III‘, and ‘Tales from the Crypt‘.

Renzetti’s soundtrack for ‘Dead & Buried‘ is a sorrowful and beautiful score – and it is a real shame that so far it has never been given a proper release.

The opening theme is an atmospheric treat that starts with a slow and sorrowful piano, that then slowly opens out to feature violins and eventually a saxophone that adds to the mournful atmosphere. The main theme makes you feel that you are already at the end of some distressing emotional event, and not at the opening of a film which is setting the scenes and locations for the action which is yet to happen.

This is a piece of music that stands up to repeat listens and the more you hear it, the more it gets under your skin, and transports you to a different place. It’s one of the most beautiful horror themes that we can remember hearing.

You can listen to the Main Theme and the Closing Credits below:

Like we said, this soundtrack has not been made commercially available, which is disappointing as there are many fans that would be chomping at the bit to get hold of a copy of this. Many of Joe Renzetti’s other works, including his soundtracks for other films, like ‘Child’s Play‘ and ‘Poltergeist III‘ are available and are worth checking out ( /

Joseph Renzetti is still composing at the time of writing this, and he is currently is scoring episodes of Tom Holland’s ‘Twisted Tales for Fearnet‘.

Useful Links

Official website for Joe Renzetti:
Joe Renzetti on Twitter:

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