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Cortland 'Cort' van Owen

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Dr. Cortland 'Cort' van Owen is the second main antagonist from the film Buried Alive (1990 TV film).

He was portrayed by William Atherton.


Clint Goodman is a successful contractor who has built his comfortable house and his construction company in his hometown through hard work. He loves his wife Joanna, but she is very resentful to him most of the time, they have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. Clint's best friend is Sheriff Sam Eberly and every now and then they spend the night fishing in the lake.

Unknown to Clint, Joanna has been having an affair with the local doctor Cortland van Owen. The lovers plot to kill Clint and sell his company and his house, then move to Beverly Hills to buy a clinic. Cortland gives poison to Joanna, which is taken from a rare poisonous tropical fish. She is hesitant at first to go along with the idea but changes her mind; when they are having dinner she spikes Clint's wine with the poison. Clint has a heart attack and dies. When the coroner asks if an autopsy should be done, Cort refuses. While Clint is at the morgue he shows signs of life and just before he is to be embalmed, Joanna gives him a quick and cheap funeral instead, skipping the embalming process. Clint is put in a cheap water-damaged coffin, varnished to look like new. After his funeral, Joanna and Cortland celebrate.

During a stormy night, Clint, who has surprisingly survived the dosage, wakes up buried alive, and succeeds in escaping his grave. He goes to his house and finds the truth about his wife and the doctor. He hides himself downstairs in the basement to recuperate. The next morning, Joanna meets with a lawyer to discuss about selling his business for $1,500,000. Clint wakes up and plans to kill Joanna but when Cortland comes by to pay a visit he overhears that Joanna was pregnant and Cortland had conducted an abortion of his child behind his back, Clint changes his mind about shooting Joanna, believing it to be too easy, and after he cleans himself up and tends to his wounds, he plots a dark revenge against Joanna and Cortland.

The next morning, after Joanna has sold Clint's business and collected the money, Sam discovers that Clint's grave is exhumed. After further examining the coffin he believes that Clint could still be alive. Joanna goes into her bathroom and finds it covered with mud. She suspects that someone has been in her house. She frantically calls Cortland and is startled by their dog, Duke, whom she chased away earlier. Just as she's about to shoot the dog, Clint, disguised in a welding helmet and armor appears out of nowhere and she falls in the basement, knocking herself unconscious whilst Clint locks her inside and boards up the windows.

Meanwhile at his apartment, Cortland is gathering some fish poison, putting it in a syringe and leaves. He arrives to see and secretly inject Joanna, where finds the money lying on the bed. Cortland enters the basement, which is now open, as he searches for Joanna, who has now regained consciousness. Believing he might be the masked figure, she hits him in the head, causing him to drop his syringe which rolls out of view. She then takes the money and tries to escape but Clint locks them both inside. As Cortland regains consciousness, Joanna realizes her mistake, where he argues about wanting to burn the money to prove he truly loves her. As they both try to find a way to escape, Clint has replaced all the shotgun bullets with blanks and Duke is guarding the basement windows, making it impossible for them to leave the basement. In the meantime, Clint is knocking out some walls and moving furniture.

As time passes, Cortland suspects that Sam may be behind everything, whilst he is waiting for the figure to release them. Joanna finds the syringe filled with the fish poison and figures out that he was going to kill her and take clinic for himself. Cortland reveals that there never was a clinic and that he was going to take the money and move to the tropics so he can live the good life. As a result, they fight and just as Cortland is about to use the syringe, the door opens, where the pair find out that most of the house is now boarded up. While trying to find a way out, they are led through a maze of corridors and are split up; Cortland sees the figure (still thinking it's Sam) and tries to bribe him, secretly planning to syringe him with the poison. Clint appears, saying "keep it." A stunned Cortland tries to get away but trips and accidentally sticks himself with the poison, killing himself in the process. Soon after, Joanna is caught between Clint, who is now wearing the mask, and a small hatch. As her only option, she crawls through the hatchway where it dead-ends, allowing Clint to shut her inside. Clint reveals himself to her and speaks of their child, asking if it was a boy or a girl. He then puts the now dead Cortland and the money inside with her to what is now a wooden coffin, where he then nails it shut tight and sets the house on fire, leaving with his dog.

Sam, who now believes that Joanna and Cortland murdered Clint rides out to find his house set ablaze. When the fire is extinguished, there is no trace of a body inside the house anywhere. Sam then rides off and finds a person at Clint's grave, with his back to Sam. Realizing it is Clint, Sam tells him to never to come back, and therefore promising to keep his secret. The final shot reveals that the still alive Joanna and the deceased Cortland now occupy Clint's grave, with the money.


A sleazy doctor who's having a affair with Jonna with the main character Clint Goodman played by Tim Matheson he will do anything to get that money anywhere he can if it means killing.Doctor Cort van Owen is wooing a very tasty Joanna Goodman (q.v.), and the pair of them shares a nice sex life. Problem is, she's already married, and pregnant with her husband's child. So, the two lovers decide that the hapless and well-insured Clint will have to go.

Luckily, the good doctor knows his exotic tropical fish, and convinces Joanna to use it on her husband's dinner. This ploy is partly successful, although it does not kill her husband sufficiently well enough to be considered a complete success, but they bury him, only for Clint to escape from the grave. At this point, Clint is now plotting revenge, which he executes with a cleverly constructed maze, to which no exit exists.

He separates the two lovers by sliding sheets of plywood between them when they enter a dead-end. Of course, it's not a dead-end, but merely a form of control: he leaves Joanna while he attends to Cort, one-on-one.

The wall in front of Cort slides upwards, and he is led down a separate corridor until Clint confronts him directly. Cort's got a few tricks up his sleeve, though, hiding a syringe behind his back. It is filled, of course, with the same poison that didn't quite kill Clint last time, but in a much larger quantity. Clint, wearing a scary-looking welder's mask, is wise to the doc's advances, and easily sidesteps his attempt. The doc trips, the syringe plunges into his chest, and he ends up dying from a severe myocardial infarction. In layman's terms: his heart exploded.

Later on in the movie, his corpse is unceremoniously dumped in the casket of his lover, and the two schemers are buried together, except that Joanna is still alive. Nice and creepy.<null> </null><null> </null><null> </null><null> </null><null> </null><null> </null><null> </null>

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