Oct 27, 2013

Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror




Out of all the Italian zombie films I have seen, Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981) aka Le notti del terrore aka Zombie 3 (one of a number of films released under this name!) aka The Zombie Dead aka The Nights of Terror directed by Andrea Bianchi (Strip Nude for Your Killer, Confessions of a Frustrated Housewife) and written by Piero Regnoli (Navajo Joe, Nightmare City) has to be the most innately and inanely idiotic, aesthetically repugnant, morally irredeemable, patently preposterous, and unintentionally entertaining zombie flick ever made, as a rip off of both the films of George A. Romero and Lucio Fulci, as well as the Spanish zombie flick Amando de Ossorio’s Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971). To the minor credit of the film, the special effects for Burial Ground were done by Gino De Rossi who, on top of working on respectable films like The Last Emperor (1987) directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and Casino Royale (2006), created the standout special effects for a number of Guido exploitation flicks, including Cannibal Ferox (1981), but also Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979) aka Zombi 2 and City of the Living Dead (1980) aka Paura nella città dei morti viventi, thereupon making this miserable maggot-infested zombie film mandatory viewing for any serious zombiphile. Aside from featuring Fulci-esque zombies with real maggots and worms crawling out of their eye sockets, Burial Ground is probably best remembered for featuring a 26-year-old Italian midget that looks like a more fetus-like version of Dario Argento (incidentally, a workshop featured in the film was also used in Dario Argento's Inferno (1980)) playing the role of a 13-year-old boy with an odious Oedipus complex who has never gotten over his love of suckling on his wanton whore mother’s mature tits. Featuring an intolerably obnoxious cast of Hightalian jet-set degenerates of the imbecilic and lecherous sort, Burial Ground is also a rare distinguished low-class trash celluloid treat in that the voracious cadaverous flesheaters eat the decadent upper-class humans in what amounts to an anti-bourgeois permanent revolution in zombie form. Before the internet made it so that C-grade exploitation films like it were made somewhat readily available, I managed to secure a copy of Burial Ground by chance while still a preteen and I was left in a state of awe by how absurdly amateurish, sleazy, and morally retarded the film was, as if it was a reactionary zombie flick made in petty protest to the superficial civil-rights-saluting of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and the pseudo-Marxist anti-capitalist subtext of Dawn of the Dead (1978). A horrendously hokey and haphazardly assembled horror fest where every single character is dismembered and devoured by cloaked undead cannibals, Burial Ground is a hopeless film with an equally hopeless message of schlocky gloom and doom that never fails to entertain, even if it fails in every single other regard as a sort of Plan 9 from Outer Space of Guido zombie flicks. 



 A swarthy Professor Ayres (Raimondo Barbieri) who looks like a poor goy’s rabbi has made a major discovery (apparently, he is “the only one who knows the secret”) at an ancient Etruscan crypt he has been rigorously studying and he has invited three couples, who seem to have little interest in ancient history (let alone thinking!) to his quaint mansion to see said magnificent discovery, but he is already dead by the time they have arrived because he has accidentally unleashed a corpse-reanimating curse. Hyper hedonistic and recklessly lecherous jet-set jackasses that seem like a poor Sicilian man’s equivalent to the voracious suicidal eaters of Marco Ferreri’s La Grande Bouffe (1973), the Prof’s guests are the last people you would expect to survive a zombie apocalypse and sure enough, they do not, but some of them do put up a fight with the flesheaters in between sniffing wine and having lackluster sex. The most interesting of the couples is fetus-like preteen pervert Michael (played by wily wop midget Peter Bark) and his sub-MILF mommy Evelyn (Mariangela Giordano), who has just gotten married to a weak man (he is the first person aside from the professor to be killed) who does not love his wife nearly as much as his new stepson does. Jealous of any man that courts his mommy dearest, Michael intentionally walks in on his mother while she is sharing carnal knowledge with her new hubby. Luckily for little Mikey, his mother’s new husband is the first one to be made into zombie meat, thus enabling the incestuous boy to keep the matriarch all to himself, at least for a momentary period of time. Of course, Michael is not the only degenerate at the manor as a fellow named James (Simone Mattioli) also demonstrates his love and respect for his girlfriend Leslie (Antonella Antinori) by telling her, “You look just like a little whore but, I like that in a girl.” The youngest couple is Mark (Gianluigi Chirizzi) and Janet (Karin Well), hence probably why they end up living the longest. 



 Rather ridiculously and ultimately hilariously, micro-man Michael unwittingly prophesies the presence of the zombies after smelling an old piece of cloth and pseudo-poetically stating, “Mom, this thing…it smells of death,” as if he found a pair of skidmark-stained zombie underwear. When the zombies attack the mansion, the brilliant couples barricade themselves inside the lavish home in a Romero-esque fashion and despite ostensibly fighting for their lives, they still demand that the maid brings them beverages and whatnot, as if the hordes of flesheaters will retreat in no time. When the maid is killed after a zombie somehow pins her to a window via throwing a knife (!) at her hand (as if the zombie is a world champion dart player) and subsequently decapitating her pretty little head with a scythe, the infantile inhabitants at the house realize they have reached an all-time low in terms of comfort. Michael, on the other hand, seems to be at his most comfortable and confidant as he makes an audacious attempt to seduce his mother by groping her breasts and going down her panties, confessing to her, “Oh Mom, I love you so much. I need to feel you near me. To touch you…When I was a boy, remember? You always held me to your breast. I liked your breasts a lot,” for which he is rightfully rewarded with a slap to the face, thus causing the little fetus boy to run away crying like the little whiny shit momma’s boy that he is. Of course, mother Evelyn later rather regrets denying her son her flesh because not longer after slapping him, she finds Leslie, who is now a flesh-fiending zombie, dining on little Michael's tiny dismembered arm. In the end, the survivors—Mark, Janet, and Evelyn—make their way to an ancient monastery where they discover all of the monks have joined the ranks of the living dead and are devouring human body parts in a seemingly ritualistic fashion. Eventually, Michael, who is now zombified and more hungry for his mother’s flesh than ever, shows up at the monastery, and Evelyn, who suffered more than just a little nervous breakdown after her son's death, wastes no time whipping out her tits for her undead progeny, thus inspiring her creepy cadaver of a son to bite her nipple off. In the end, Mark and Janet also succumb to hordes of horndog zombies and Burial Ground concludes with the ridiculously misspelled quote, “The earth shall tremble…graves shall open…they shall come among the living as messengers of death and there shall be the nights of terror…”  from the so-called (and also misspelled) Prophecy of the Black Spiders, as if attempting to rip off Romero’s Dawn of the Dead with pseudo-theological apocalyptic mumbo jumbo. 



 Featuring marvelously mediocre acting, over-the-hill actresses of the marginally attractive sort, pudgy pussy male actors who manage to be simultaneously fat and skinny (boney arms yet huge guts and fat faces), fetus-like, testosterone-deprived midgets playing creepy children, zonked out zombies whose skulls (which are made of what seems to be cement) are much larger than the average size human head (this might explain why they are more intelligent than the humans), unfitting degenerate jazz music (thankfully this is only played towards the beginning), and a uniquely unhappy ending where every single character is slaughtered by reanimated corpses, Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror is, if nothing else, one of the most unforgettably incompetently directed cinematic works ever made and a true curious cult item of filmic flesheater crap. An incoherent rip-off of an incoherent rip-off, Burial Ground is like George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) meets Fulci’s Zombi 2 (1979) meets Amando de Ossorio’s Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971) as directed by a man who seems to have just as little interest in zombies as Steven Spielberg does when it comes to historical fact. Admittedly, upon first viewing Burial Ground in middle school, I was awe-stricken as I thought it was easily the worst and most radically repugnant film that I had ever seen, yet it has never left me as the sort of cinematic equivalent of a chickenpox scar that one grows to feel a bit nostalgic for as the years pass. Indeed, with its pseudo-eccentric combination of extra-retarded-looking paper mache-like zombies, Guido midget Peter Bark, unattractive females and even more unattractive males, extra-one-dimensional characters, and mostly anti-climatic death scenes, Burial Ground is one of the very few films I would describe as being ‘so bad that it is good’ (typically, when I read or hear someone describe a film this way, I discover the film is pure celluloid shit with no redeeming qualities).  In its depiction of ancient Etruscan and monk zombies killing uncultivated members of the bloated boobeoise, one could argue that Burial Ground acts as a pro-Traditionalist work where the undead ancestors of modern Italians get revenge for the degeneration of Mediterranean kultur and spirituality, but of course, that would be giving director Andrea Bianchi, who is clearly not the most artistically-inclined of ‘auteur’ filmmakers, a bit too much credit; nonetheless, it's a notable sentiment regardless of the creator's true intentions. Either way, Burial Ground makes for a must-see zombie movie simply for poor little Peter Bark's performance in what is easily one of the most eerie yet needless and nonsensical incest scenarios ever depicted in celluloid.



-Ty E

8 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

The first time i watched this i immediately felt jealous of the midget geezer, and i still do ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

When i submitted the last com-girl-t the word/number verification was '1988' ! ! !, thats Heather trying to get in touch with me again.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I actually thought the design of the zombies heads and faces in this movie were amongst the most impressive i`ve ever seen.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Just to put things into the proper perspective again, while its true that in certain ways this film is indeed appalling garbage, its also important to remember that its still infinitely better than laughable and unwatchable British made zombie horse-shit like "Shaun of the Dead" or "28 Days Later".

Anonymous said...

You have to admit that this is a very cosy movie for a dark and stormy night, accompanied with a bag of crisps and a bottle of pepsi.

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...

The sex scenes in this film are indeed proof that ALL heterosexual porn should be filmed in POV, then nothing can possibly spoil your wank.

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...

I know hes made a lot of films with heterosexual content but something tells me that the director might be a faggot.

teddy crescendo said...

The poster does make it look like a much more flashier and expensive film than it actually is.