Thursday, December 1, 2016

Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror

Director - Andrea Bianchi (Massacre, What the Peeper Saw)
Starring - Karin Well (Skin Em Alive, The Perfect Killer), Gianluigi Chirizzi (Terror Express, The Nun and the Devil), and Simone Matioli (Guardian of Hell, Nero Wolfe)
Release Date - 1981
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The gates of hell have opened"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Horror fans all have a different picks when it comes to Italian horror.  Most people prefer Lucio Fulci's Zombi, The Beyond, or City of the Living Dead while other prefer the work of Dario Argento.  Though all of these are great examples of Italian horror but one of my favorites is and always will be the 1981 Andrea Bianchi film Burial Grounds.  A friend of mine once had the film on VHS so we would watch it a lot.  Believe it or not it made a great triple feature with Peter Jackson's Bad Taste and Cemetery Man.  A few years back my wife ordered me the film on blu from Shriek Show.  Sadly, I never watched it.  I just put it on the shelf and never touched it.  However, recently Severin released the film on blu and they were nice enough to send one my way.  This streak at not watching one of my favorite films was about to end.
     The film begins when a professor opens an old crypt and releasing the living corpses inside.  The kill the professor and leave the crypt where they make their way to a nearby villa that is preparing for a party.  One by one they fall prey to the flesh hungry dead.  The remaining few flee the villa and make their way to a local monistary where they learn that the monks living there are now dead as well and their futures look bleak.

     The first time I watched Burial Grounds, or as the tape said The Nights of Terror, I fell in love.  I know it is far from perfect and there is better examples of Italian horror out there but this film was the most fun I had with Italian horror.  Everything from the cast, the location, the effects, and the story had me hooked even though they are very flawed.  The acting in this one is very, very rough.  The cast has a hard time finding their "volume" to speak.  Their emotions is dialed up to 11 which makes most of the scenes almost laughable.  When they should be scared they are hysterical and completely unhinged.  They have a hard time finding the right way to handle the situation and overact to each.  If the cast had a little more direction it would have went a long way.  The story for this one is mindless entertainment.  Nothing more and nothing else.  The film is just one scenario to another resulting in the group finding their way to the zombies.  The story is nothing new, clever, or thought provoking.  It is a mindless zombie film with zombies, blood, gore, and a little incest.  How the zombies came to be is never fully explained.  All we get is the professor opening the crypt and they scuttle out like roaches.  I would have loved to see why the zombies are there.  Finally, the film is full of gore and blood.  We several imaginative kills from the maid and her unusual zombie death to the mother losing a nipple to her son.  The kills are fun and the effects are solid as well.  The blood is the bright red 3M blood that we see in the original Dawn of the Dead but it works for the most part.  The gore looks great but the zombies are questionable.  Burial Ground tries hard to capture that Zombi look which it does on some of the zombie but on the other zombies are ridiculous which only adds to the film's charm.  Overall, Burial Ground is not a perfect film but by god it entertains.  The film leaves a bloody smear on Italian cinema and claws at your heart.  Check it the fuck out!

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