July 18, 2013

Movie Review: Burial Ground - The Nights of Terror

Have I ever told you that there is nothing quite like Italian horror from the 1970s and 1980s? Yeah, I know. I probably sound like a broken record. Still, it nears repeating if it gets the word out about these uniquely exceptional films. They stand apart, instantly recognizable, taking outside inspiration and filtering it through their singular subconscious. The latest one to cross my hollow eye sockets is Andrea Bianchi's Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror. It may not be the best example of the genre, but it is one that is certainly worthy of your time.



As the movie opens we are introduced to some doctor with a giant beard learning a secret about some caves he is in. He unlocks a tomb and releases reanimated corpses, some really grimy, maggot covered zombies. He cries out for them to stay back, that he was to be their friend. Do they listen? No. Why? They are zombies.

The scene cuts to a trio of couples, one with a creepy kid in tow, who have been invited by the doctor from the opening. They arrive, let themselves into the expansive villa, make no notice that their host is absent, and split off to enjoy some private adult time.


As they are off doing their thing, weird things in the case of the weirdo kid and his over-coddling mom, the zombies are making their way from their tomb to the villa, they know a good meal when a doctor kind enough to set them free invites it over.

There really is no story here. What you read in the previous few paragraphs is about it. Zombies are set free, people show up, zombies hunt humans, humans run, and humans die in bloody ways. This is no a movie about subtext or the human condition or anything. There is no lip service to any bigger ideas, like Nightmare City's fall of man and search for power being a monster. It is kind of like director Andrea Bianchi and writer Piero Regnoli (who was also involved in writing Lenzi's Nightmare City) took Lucio Fulci's Zombie and filtered out any it ideas and the serious feel and left the bare minimum. The end result is a movie that is oddly entertaining.


One of the movie's big draws are the zombies. Now, some of them are not exactly good, but a lot of them have a nice rotting look that is enhanced by the use of maggots. They don't look like Fulci's or Romero's, they have a unique look as the wander and meander around, slowly walking up on their victims who just stand there, frozen with fear. The end results are nice and bloody with plenty of guts for the zombies to share amongst themselves. There is also the one super creepy not between mother and son (26 year old Peter Bark cast as a 12 year old, just acting to the creep factor), towards the end.

Burial Ground is a solid entry in the pantheon of Italian zombie films. It may lake much in the way of story or character, but it more than makes up for it with zombies, gore, and some general weirdness.

Recommended.


And to leave you with a little mother/son weirdness...


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