DVD Review: Burial Ground
Burial Ground (The Night of Terror) (1981)
Studio: Shriek Show
Theatrical Release Date: June 11, 2002
Directed By: Andrea Bianchi
Cast: Mariangela Giordano, Peter Bark
Review By: Marc Patterson
I really enjoy keeping up with the happenings of Stacie Ponder. If you’re not a reader of her Final Girl blog then you should be. For those of you not in the know, each month she showcases a film from the annals of horror via The Final Girl Film Club. Those who are interested will watch, and review, and send in a link. Along with her review comes a compiled list of the monthly participants. This month’s selection is a forgotten bit of cinema from Italian filmmaker Andrea Bianchi.
An archeologist unleashes horrors of the underworld when his research takes him to deep tombs that should have been best left undisturbed. When a group of partying adults take a holiday in a nearby mansion they soon are in a fight for their lives against the lumbering hordes of the undead.
Burial Ground was simply awful in nearly every way. Though in a twisted fashion it would work well as background filler during a party, it is nothing short of a mess from start to finish. It features a lame plot filled with one-dimensional characters, bad dialogue, and poorly scripted action scenes. Literally you could watch this film in fifteen minutes on fast forward and not miss a thing. The gore is the one redeeming quality to the film, though this is more the sort that Herschell Gordon Lewis would love. And luckily the film features plenty close ups of zombies kneading through human entrails, and over the top splatter heavy sequences making these moments the few you’ll want to slow down to real time to enjoy. The zombies themselves are pretty impressive, given the time. They resemble the undead of Fulci’s Zombi, though this is as close to Fulci as Bianchi will come to making a seminal entry to zombie cinema.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the film that can’t be ignored is the heavy emphasis on the relationship between the mother (Mariangela Giordano) and son Michael (Peter Bark). First, Michael is a damn frightening looking child. He’s the original Benjamin Button, a kid who looks like an old man. His preposterous haircut and buggy eyes only add to his alien like features. That he shares an incestuous relationship with his mother is bothersome, though most of the time it’s laughable and only adds to the twisted nature of the film. The first hint we get that all isn’t right is when Michael walks in on his mother having sex. She jumps out of bed naked, and makes a poor attempt at covering herself up, standing in front of her son, unflinchingly showing all of her womanhood. Later, while sitting with his mother Michael begins to feel her up, and she hesitantly makes him stop. It only gets more bizarre as the film goes on, ultimately putting more emphasis on this dysfunctional relationship rather than the onslaught of flesheating zombies. Mommy issues aren’t a foreign subject matter for Bianchi, who directed the more famous giallo Strip Nude for Your Killer, but here it goes center stage in a big way. Bianchi was clearly working through some personal issues with this one.
While it would likely prefer itself to be compared to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Burial Ground compares more closely in style, substance, and effect to Spanish filmmaker Amando de Ossorio’s Tomb of the Blind Dead, which isn’t a bad thing for fans of old school zombie horror. There’s even a troupe of zombified monks! But frankly, for all its endearing qualities I ultimately found this to be uninteresting and dismissible. The DVD case heralds this as the new Rocky Horror Picture Show, a comparison so far off base that it only solidifies the hokey, ridiculous nature of the film. Without a doubt this one best belongs relegated to a gory version of Mystery Science Theater. Let’s hope next month’s Final Girl Film Club is more interesting!
Brutal As Hell Rating:
2 out of 5