Antic horror comedy “I Sell the Dead” nods to the ’60s Hammer heyday of fog-swirling Victorian chillers, as well as that period’s penchant for teaming genre favorites (Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Peter Lorre, etc.) in genial sendups. Fondly crafted, amusing if slight item has toured fests since last fall, selling rights in several territories. IFC will give the pic simultaneous U.S. theatrical and on-demand rollouts starting Aug. 7 in New York and Aug. 14 in L.A. (VOD release is Aug. 12), with partner Blockbuster handling rental/download distribution.

In addition to producing, contemporary horror helmer Larry Fessenden (“The Last Winter”) steps before the camera here as rascally Willy Grimes, who apprentices Arthur (Dominic Monaghan) in the fine art of grave-robbing, their primary client being sinister Dr. Quint (Angus Scrimm, “Phantasm”). As if this illegal trade weren’t trouble enough, the duo’s exhumed corpses have an exasperating habit of coming back to hostile life. Stringing together several macabre episodes, framed by Arthur’s pre-guillotine confession to blase Father Duffy (“Hellboy’s” Ron Perlman), Glenn McQuaid’s feature writing-directing debut doesn’t build much narrative steam. Still, droll perfs, diverting f/x and handsome B-pic atmospherics ensure a good time for horror fans with a memory past last weekend’s slasher remake.

I Sell the Dead

  • Production: An IFC Films release of a Glass Eye Pix presentation. Produced by Larry Fessenden, Peter Phok. Directed, written, edited by Glenn McQuaid.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Richard Lopez; music, Jeff Grace; production designer, David Bell. Reviewed at San Francisco Independent Film Festival, Feb. 13, 2009. (Also in Slamdance, Rotterdam, Seattle, Los Angeles film festivals; Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 85 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Dominic Monaghan, Larry Fessenden, Angus Scrimm, Ron Perlman, Eileen Colgan, John Speredakos, Brenda Cooney, Daniel Manche, Joel Garland, James Godwin, Aidan Redmond.
  • Music By: