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Come on everyone, together..."Peter Bark, Peter Bark, Peter Bark...!" There are those who will totally get it, and all others can go rent "The Grudge: Part 10". Me, I'm just a "Burial Ground" kind of guy...
The graphic violence is excessive in almost every case, a plus for those seeking grue and crimson splashes. The best actor in the film by far is Peter Bark who is a twenty (thirty?) something that plays the role of a ten-year-old boy. This was due to child labor laws in Italy at the time and Peter Bark shines in his role of the Oedipal boy, Michael. It adds so many levels of sleaziness to the film Bianchi is to be applauded for tackling this difficult social issue. The climax of the film is a guaranteed disappointment as the film feels more like it either just ran out of budget and closed shop or Bianchi just ran out of ideas. The ending is not unlike reading a book only to find out someone ripped out the last ten or fifteen pages, it ends that abruptly. The pacing of the film up to the end is decent, being that the characters are one step above an amoeba on the evolutionary scale we aren't bothered by such things as characterization or advancement of personality. From the moment the dead rise it's just a series of encounters where the protagonists make horrible judgment calls and pay the price for it. If anything the breakneck pace of the film keeps a person entertained rather than bogging down. Seriously, if the characters are not fornicating they are battling the living dead. It at least keeps the action, one way or another, flowing. If you enjoy the Italian living dead genre Burial Ground will not disappoint, others are probably better turned away.
Also the movie has one of the most spaced out characters in the history of cinema. I'm talking about the young boy named Michael. Only he's not actually played by a little boy. He's actually played by an adult who looks like a ghost.
If you like Italian zombie movies than this is your wet dream. I highly recommend this to anyone interested exploitation.
The whole subplot of the Oedipal son played by a midget is a bit creepy and ends very gruesomely, but I didn't let that distract me from the real focus. "Burial Ground" obviously borrows from "Zombi", even having the same make-up/effects artists from the Fulci classic. However, I must say I liked "Burial Ground" more than "Zombi". Faster pacing (I barely noticed the 90 minute run time), more zombie for your buck, and creepier setting in the abandoned mansion and nearby abbey. 9/10
Of course it's not without faults, the dubbing is terrible and the dialogue is laughable. Who can ever forget Professor Ayres' line when the zombies are attacking him (No! I'm your friend!), or the weird Michael (Mama, this cloth smells of death). To summarize it, this movie is like a Lucio Fulci movie with an Amando De Ossorio script and Jess Franco characters.
Enough about Man-children and incest, there's much more fun to be had. The first twenty minutes of this epic mostly involves the giddy couples spouting ridiculous dialogue, flirting with each other, and frolicking about with not a care in the world, until it happens, the dead are coming back to life, and unfortunately, for some reason, there are a dozen or so rotted corpses buried in the garden. As bad as the English voice-overs are, they do a great job at sounding terrified once the madness begins. Probably more powerful than it was meant to be, Burial Ground gives you the strong impression that these dozens of zombies, some of which resemble the Toxic Avenger, just might take over the world after they're done with these guys. Burial Ground is a prime example of grainy, bad film quality unintentionally enhancing the horror quality. Some scenes, you cant even make out what's going on. Although the sci-fi-ish sound effects are out of place, it adds an apocalyptic feel that makes things seem even more hopeless and dismal. Some how, the unintentional humor doesn't overshadow any of this. Calling Burial Ground creepy would be an insult, nightmarish would be a good start.
The darkness of this masterpiece goes far beneath the dark, grainy quality of the film, even when they show a sunny day, all I see in this film is darkness, things just seemed doomed from the very beginning, and that, exploitation fans, is the makings for true horror. Burial Ground is best Italian gore has to offer, better than The Beyond, even better than Beyond the Darkness, Burial Ground has no equal. The only thing I can recommend more than this, is this on VHS, the film quality is even worse, the sky looks almost pink. VHS really brings out "that look" that the DVD format has ruined. Plenty of Gore, nudity, incest-humor, Burial Ground is the measuring stick of any horror sub-genre it may represent. Aside from the profecy being mis-spelled, the ending leaves quite an impression. Don't talk to me about no damn Evil Dead. Burial Ground has them all beat. That one wasn't that great anyway. 10/10
Entertainment Value: 10/10 This is a very entertaining movie that moves at a fast pace. The best part is that the zombies are twice as clever as the living. The undead concoct plans to outwit the living, similar to tapping on the left shoulder then standing behind the right one.
Plot: 1/10 Thank goodness there were other zombie films made before this one, otherwise you wouldn't know what the heck was going on! This is basically derivative of all the better done, and known zombie films of the 70's, with some totally bizarre twists thrown in to keep you guessing. The script is very disproportional, and the dialog is awful. Basically, it would be extremely challenging to write another script as horrible as this one ever again.
Production Value: 2/10 This movie has almost no directorial style, and the class equivalent of an 80's porno movie. The gore and makeup is done with very little, or no attention to detail, so it's hard to believe that the same guy that did the make-up effects for Fulci's "Zombie" did the effects for this one. Also, the image looks murky and the camera compositions, undesirable. The crew is seen once, for certain, and the dubbing is sloppy. However, it should be noted that now and then the score is pretty good.
Acting: 0/10 or 10/10 (depending on how you look at it) The acting is completely overdone, and definitely one of the funniest parts of the movie. I found myself gleefully anticipating every line.
So there you have it, a very entertaining, very bad movie. Possibly, one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen. Check it out!
It ticks all the right boxes for complete trash - bad acting, lousy music, dodgy make up, no logic whatsoever,poor dubbing etc.
The story (ha ha you're kidding me,right?) has a professor accidentally releasing a hoard of zombies which spend the rest of the film killing off the other bad actors.Quite a serious situation to be in yes? However, no one in this film uses a phone to ring for help, jumps in a car just parked outside or even thinks to outrun the slow moving dead to escape. Fantastically trashy stuff.
This film wasn't made to be a social comment or to have a moral undertone. No. It was made to cater to the gore hounds out there who can overlook most shortcomings in movies as long as the special effects are good. Therein lies a problem. The effects aren't too bad but fall way short of a Romero movie.
What you end up with is the most funniest, ridiculous wannabe horror movie of the century.It's hard to imagine that when this was first released in England several years ago over 10 minutes were cut from it. Now we have a full version. I think I love this film because, believe it or not, I find it very inspiring. When you have trash like this you just know you can do better with five pounds and a cheap camcorder. There is hope for us all yet.
Director Andrea Bianchi ("Strip Nude for Your Killer") dives almost right away into the gory set pieces, as a nosy professor creates trouble for his associates by opening a crypt, unleashing a zombie horde that proves to be very relentless in their efforts to make meals out of our various chump victims.
Now, these zombies are some of the ugliest one may see in this sort of thing, and are pretty damn smart to boot, being able to manipulate weapons and tools. And our fated-to-be-zombie-dinners human characters sometimes don't try very hard to save their worthless butts. You add to that some typically hilarious work by the actors doing the dubbed in English voices, deliciously ridiculous English dialogue ("You're getting a raise from me, all right, but it has nothing to do with money!"), great music (by Elsio Mancuso and Berto Pisano), an attractive bunch of ladies (Karin Well, Antonella Antinori, and Mariangela Giordano), a generous dose of sex, and some very entertaining masks and makeup effects, and it creates an often quite funny and fairly action packed flick worth checking out.
But no review of this movie would be complete without mentioning the reason why it should have a reputation & following: perhaps THE greatest depiction of an Oedipal relationship in the history of cinema, as the extremely memorable Peter Bark (who indeed bears something of a resemblance to director Dario Argento) plays a young man who laments the passing of the days when he could suck on his dear mothers' breast, and gets to relive this experience before the whole sordid story is over.
Slip this into your DVD and/or BD player and be prepared to have some good laughs and thrills, done in that irresistibly wild Italian fashion that always guarantees a good time.
Eight out of 10.
The weird young boy, played by the 35 year old jockey(!) is one highlight (his breast feeding and eventual biting off of his own Mother's mammary gland being a particular favourite), but the main stars of the show are the zombie's, which are excellent: Rotting flesh, worms dangling from eyeballs, these look horrid, just as a zombie should. Yeah, you could outrun them without a worry, but they would still terrify you to the very core of your being.
The music is excellent too.
One of my favourite zombie movies.
I remember renting Burial Ground when I was, like, 15, except the box was labeled The Gates Of Hell. As any fan of Euro-horror movies knows, these flicks sometimes have half a dozen different titles (or more), depending if you've got the Italian, American, German or Laplander version. But, The Gates Of Hell was also the American title for Lucio Fulci's City Of The Living Dead. The box even had the same art as C.O.T.L.D. Yeah, nothing too relevant to the review, I just thought it was funny. As I started getting more into horror movies and heard about City... and it's U.S. title of Gates..., I thought I'd already seen it. Then, it took me awhile to figure out what I'd actually seen was Burial Ground.
OK, enough with the childhood memories. Almost 20 years later, this is still one of my faves. You hear all the time about these types of movies being plot-less and devoid of character development... welcome to exhibit A! Well, there is an idea behind the movie but, I wouldn't go as far as to call it a plot. Basically, a small group of people (two couples and a newlywed Mom and her, erm, son) are heading to an Italian villa owned by their friend, Professor Ayres. He's been working in a tomb on the property, trying to... I dunno, raise the dead? Well, he succeeds just in time for his guests to arrive and is the first to go. While he's getting munched on, his guests make themselves at home back at the mansion.
By "at home", I mean they start boning (hey, maybe it was a long drive). These scenes feature a little soft-core sex and randy dialogue. My favorite line of the movie is when one of the girls, named Leslie, is playing dress-up for her man and reveals herself to him in a skimpy (and quite fetching) ensemble and asks him if he likes what he sees, to which he responds, "You look just like a little whore but, I like that in a girl". You sweet talker, Betty Crocker! It doesn't take long for the zombies to make their way outta the tomb and towards the mansion. These aren't your average dumb-ass zombies either. They take up weapons, climb walls and even use a battering ram on the door. When a maid reaches out of a window to close the shutters, the zombies pin her hand to the outside wall with what looks like a railroad spike and cut her noggin off with a scythe. So, these are some clever cadavers.
At this point, I'd like to take a moment to tell you about Peter Bark. I suppose anyone very familiar with Burial Ground knows where I'm going with this. Bark plays the role of the son, named Michale. Now, maybe it was the sexual content or child labor laws but, this role was not given to a child. Instead, Bark appears to be a 30 year old with a bone deficiency or something, as he stands about 5 feet tall. The really creepy part is that he looks like a 30 year old. Well, a 30 year old with a obvious problem.
Michale is constantly on his Mom's jock. He gives her new husband the stink-eye something fierce. After surviving a zombie attack, Michale cuddles up to his Mom and starts.... well, he starts hitting on her. Yes friends, The Incest Scene... part 1! I mean, homeboy starts feelin' her up and whatnot. Well Mom, for some reason, freaks out and slaps him (surprised it didn't turn him on, kinky lil' s.o.b.). So he takes off, seemingly forgetting that zombies are lurking about. Michale eventually falls victim to some zombie nastiness, which sets up... Incest Scene part 2! When Mom next sees Michale, such is her relief that she clutches him to her bosom... and offers him a suckle.... which he uses as a opportunity to bite her boob off.
That's pretty much it. Zombies arise, zombies attack, zombies kill everyone in sight. That's the "plot". If someone was to ask you what Burial Ground is about, just repeat those three things... arise, attack, kill. Oh yeah, and Peter F'n Bark! The Good: They don't skimp on the gore here. As usual, it doesn't always make sense (like when a freshly turned zombie has her head bashed in, why does it leak what appears to be gray paint?) but, like, whatever. A couple of the lovely ladies get naked... not Janet, though (seriously, am I the only one that thinks that chick looks a lot like Kate Hudson). The zombies look pretty good. Some are really revolting (rotten flesh,worms hanging outta their grill), while others are kinda ridiculous (you can plainly see the screened over holes at the eyes and mouth that the "actors" see and breathe through). I like the music, very moody.
The Not So Good: All the usual suspects for this type of film. Bad acting, bad dubbing and a plot you could jot down on the back of a pack of matches in about a minute and a half. All the stuff I mentioned in The Good could be, in someone else's opinion, considered Not So Good (shock and disbelief!).
The storyline is extremely thin, and the existence of the zombies gets even less explanation than in other zombie films. However, the film's nauseating qualities easily make up for what it lacks in plotting. The living dead in this film are, without exaggeration, some the most disgusting Zombies ever in cinema. The makeup department really did an amazing job here - zombies do often look rotten, but these guys are literally in the process of rotting. The zombies have disgusting worms and maggots crawling out of their eye-sockets and other orifices, and the mere look of them is already a delight for every fan of nauseating and disgusting gore. Additionally, the film provides an enormous amount of remarkably nauseating gore, even for Italian Zombie flick standards. The film furthermore includes an extremely irritating little boy who has the face of an adult (and who was actually played by an adult, Peter Bark), and whose looks are not the only strange thing about him... I don't wanna give away more, as I don't want to spoil any of the fun, but I can assure that the fans of the really explicit and demented kind of gore-cinema will have the time of their lives watching "Burial Ground". The film is never even remotely eerie or suspenseful, and the plot is as thin as it gets, but there is no doubt about one thing: this is demented stuff! I recommend "Burial Ground" to all my fellow fans of Italian Horror cinema, especially to those who like their Zombie flicks extremely gory. If you want GORE, then this is for you!
If I had one word to describe Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror, that word would be gratuitous. The film has gratuitous nudity, gratuitous gore, and gratuitous dubbing. In other words: It's an Italian zombie classic. This is one of those films that is utterly enjoyable z-grade trash. But be warned--You have to turn off your brain and throw your zombie rulebook out the window. These ghouls are smarter than your average bear. They disguise themselves as monks, have the catlike ability to scale walls, and have mastered the ninja ability to throw railroad spikes with the accuracy of Michael Dudikoff. Seriously though, the film is a lot of fun. It doesn't seem to take itself too seriously and, thankfully, never gets dull. There are some pretty cool set pieces and the film does have a certain atmosphere to it. The best aspect is the setting. The movie takes place in an Italian mansion that is ripe for the living dead. Also, it features one of the most memorable sequences of Italian cinema: the incestuous, zombie boy-child being breast-fed by his mother. *Shudders* That's creepy stuff. All in all, Burial Ground is an offbeat zombie offering for those of us that can't get enough of the walking dead.
The movie starts with a scientist somehow resurrecting the dead in a cave underground. The scientist is quickly killed and the zombies start to make it out of their "Burial Ground". After this, a group of people head over to a mansion to I believe go on vacation. It isn't soon after that the dead start to pick each of the people off one by one.
I must admit this movie is rather hilarious almost all the way through. The characters all act like a bunch of idiots and you really don't feel bad when they start dying. The way the zombies looked was fake but still cool nonetheless as they looked like a bunch of rotted monks. The gore was all there so if you are a gore hound you should be pleased. Plenty of gut ripping and head smashing to go around. And the best part (and most controversial) is the mother and her incestuous son. If that doesn't leave you laughing for days I don't know what to say.
Definitely a fun movie with some very bizarre music, gore, bad acting, and bad plot. Highly recommended. 8/10 stars
This one gets going quickly and NEVER lets up. Despite the plodding pace of the zombies themselves and the less than stellar make-up the tension was a slow rise. Just when you thought relief was in sight, here they come again. A constant rising panic and a 'one by one the all die' body count. A lot of the actors and actresses were porn veterans as well. Probably explains the dry love scenes in the beginning.
And 26 year old Peter Bark playing a mother fixated 12 year old? That's either brilliance or insanity. Either way I loved it. These people were obviously not meant to be role models. Only the owner of the villa ("No, no, I'm your friend.") seemed likable.
No happy ending here, They all die. And gore fans will love every juicy second of it.
But...it is also a classic for many reasons. The decision to cast thirty-year-old Peter Bark as the ten-year-old son of Antonella Antinori, is one of strange genius. Bark looks like a jockey and wears his pants so high, he surely must have ruined his testicles forever. In one great scene, he begins to feel his own mother up so he can return to munch on her breast later.
The problem with many zombie films is the zombies don't get enough screen time. That's not the case here. Within ten minutes, the zombies are everywhere, and they remain centrestage for the entire movie. They are rotting, shambling, maggot-ridden creature of the Fulci variety, and they are lots of fun to watch. In one scene, a victim's eye is skewered by broken glass, ala "Zombie", and the constant close-ups of decayed flesh echo the master's best works.
Director Bianchi uses the living dead army well and keeps them busy chasing a party of bad actors. The overlit nature of the photography robs the horror scenes of atmosphere at times, but the simple, electronic soundtrack keeps everything on a strange note.
For fans of schlock, there is plenty to enjoy. The flesh tearing and munching scenes are very graphic and the location -- an old monastery -- is suitably evocative.
Valid in spite of its aesthetic deficiencies.