Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blogger Zombie Walk Feature: Burial Ground (1980)

If a zombie is supposed to be a degraded form of pure motorized instinct to carnivorously feed, why do they still have the ingenuity to use axes, power saws, and battering rams or to throw knives with extreme precision to get what they want? I suppose there is some sort of unholy guidance that accompanies the feeding frenzy of the walking corpses in Andrea Bianchi’s BURIAL GROUND THE NIGHTS OF TERROR. 

Who knows what the filmmakers were thinking while making this, but this is a zombie film of recognizable influences that is still unlike any other zombie film by a long shot. The zombie makeup from Mauro Gavazzi is overdone to the point of being excessive, but the result is still very cool and also quite nauseating to look at. There is a lot of attention to detail for most of the zombies, such as maggots, murky green blood, and wormy eyes, and the smell of death can be sensed right from the viewer’s TV screen every time there is a close-up of one of these flesh eaters. 

BURIAL GROUND feels Influenced by Fulci’s ZOMBI 2 as well as Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD with that familiar scenario of a band of humans locking themselves inside an architecture as the living dead outside desperately try to get in. When I watch it, I often find myself chuckling at the sight of the walking dead but also a bit ‘creeped out’ and a little scared. 




The first 20 minutes includes a fair share of softcore love scenes as well as some rolling around on the villa grounds makin’ out as the vacationing couples enjoy the country side. The initial non-zombie ‘sexy-time’ action that takes place while the walking corpses slowly make their way to the mansion is not unfamiliar territory for Bianchi, who helmed directorial duties for the sleazy EXORCIST influenced MALABIMBA and the subpar giallo STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER. The women of BURIAL GROUND are terrific, especially the ravishing Mariangela Giordano, and the men could easily pass for swinging '80s porn stars. When the zombies finally arrive to the villa, it is nonstop fun and craziness or better yet luridness until the end.


 

The death of the house maid is a very inventive, dark, and extremely grim sequence involving a decapitation with a scythe from the second story of the villa. When another character stumbles upon the body hanging out the window he acts appalled, but he then decides to throw the rest of her to the zombies outside as if it’s best she not go to waste. 

By the later portion of the film, the zombie close-ups start to feel slightly monotonous. In order to break up this feeling, the film introduces something entirely different that was subtly hinted at earlier on and that’s the disturbing relationship between the young boy, Michael, and his mother Evelyn, Giordano. Certain filming laws in Italy forbade the use of a child actor for this sort of thing and so Evelyn’s son was played by then 25 year old Peter Bark. Michael’s attraction and passes to his mother may’ve been an unnecessary addition to the film, but it nonetheless contributed big time to its memorability.


 

The soundtrack is not remarkable on its own, but works for BURIAL GROUND with my favorite theme consisting of unnatural sounding bloops and bleeps set over a surreal music piece that ends up being both melodic and dissonant, giving a haunting ambiance to the zombie plagued villa in the country side. 

The special effects from Gino De Rossi (not to be confused with Giannetto De Rossi) consists of excessive visuals of organ tearing and chomping that are likely to ruin a few lunches for some, and I love it. The immensely satisfying ending, which appears to take place on a different movie set still under construction, has to be seen to be believed.


 

The characters act dumb, but this isn’t surprising since dumb characters are needed to make the situation interesting. The way everyone opts to run back into the villa in order to get away from the zombies and trapping themselves inside might have been the film’s own way of satirizing NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. 

BURIAL GROUND is extremely entertaining, sleazy, and recommended to any zombie movie fan, good or bad. It sucks, but I love it and so have several people I’ve shown it to, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you’d likely be doing yourself a favor checking it out. It is available on Blu-ray disc.







I’d like to say thank you to Autumnforest of Ghost Hunting Theories for coordinating this Blogger Zombie Walk.  It was a lot of fun preparing for it.  The following links will lead you to the other participants in the Zombie Walk, so be sure to stop and visit every one of these other sites today.

Ghost Hunting Theories

Above the Norm: Bizarre Arizona

Zombies Everywhere

Holly's Horrorland

Little Gothic Horrors

Anything Horror

Katy Bennett Horror Writer and Poet

Bubba's Place

Horror Smorgasbord

Gnostalgia

Monkey Man

Words and Music

Red Shoes Chronicles

The Wolf's Eyes

My Day in a Sentence

Pixie's Horror Galore

Strange State

The Misadventures of HalloweeNut

Halloween Blues

Kweeny Todd

The California Blogging Massacre

Horror Shock Lolipop

Vanessa Morgan

Improbable Frontiers

No Really, You Can Eat It

Art By Living Dead Girl Nicole

Two Gory Chicks

A Dust Bunny in the Wind

A Ghoul's Best Friend

Zombies Are Magic

Cherry Neko Saves the World

Tall Tales

The Haunted Rose

The Rotting Zombie

Halloween Overkill

Out of the Shadows

Keyhole Gallery

Creepy Glowbugg

Bifocal Univision

Haiku-Koo-Koo

Sherry Soule

Anchors and Roses

Paranormal Researchers Group

Whispering Pines History

Lovely Miss Megs

Sean Thomas Fisher's Blogwash

Rise and Fight

Stump Town Horror

LoliClown's Little Blog of Horror

Zombies Can't Love

Books and Beyond

The Grave Bandits

Screaming Goregasms

Lazy Daisy Life

Icky Monster

Pretty in Fiction

Ivy's Closet

Justine's Halloween

Annie Walls

Just Johnny

22 comments:

  1. Awesome--that was a classic. I love to see the ways people do zombie makeup. It can be sooooo different. This definitely had that twist. Thanks for being such an awesome asset to the blogger world!

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  2. Fantastic review Giovanni. Burial Ground truely feels like one of the weirdest Italian Living Dead films, most probably due to Peter Bark who puts the film in a different league altogether. He's got that great line where he says, "Moma this cloth smells of death", and for some irrational reason which I can't explain, I always feel terribly sorry for the archaeologist who encounters the zombie in the opening scene with "I'm your friend". What a bonehead...

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  3. Zombilicious movie review. I've often wondered why movie zombies are is such good repair (relatively speaking) when they should be falling apart and rotted.

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  4. Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing. Zombies ROCK!! :-D


    ~Sherry

    Check Out My Books!

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  5. @Autumnforest: Thanks, it’s been a blast so far and the traffic stats are boomin’. You were right to call this a huge internet event.

    @Wes M: There are so many great lines from this movie and there’s something so disturbingly brutal about the intro to this film that it’s not unusual to feel bad for the Archaeologist who nonetheless should’ve known better. Thanks for reading and my compliments to your video nasty series on your site.

    @Eric ‘Bubba’ Alder: These zombies were resurrected from some ancient burial ground and so it would’ve made more sense if they were skeletons instead. But are walking skeletons considered Zombies? Maybe that’s a tough call. Actually, I was going to initially write about one of the blind dead films, but I couldn’t convince myself that the bearded skeletons in that film were zombie enough, at least the groaning gut munching kind, so I opted for Burial Ground instead.

    @Sherry Soule: Thanks. Indeed they do.

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  6. Someone else was just recommending Burial Ground to me today. As I said to her, the plot of this movie didn't even need zombies to be creepy!

    Yeah, a lot of movies fit into the "It sucks, but I love it" category. :)

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  7. I've never heard of this movie so I'll have to check it out. Great review!

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  8. I can't believe I haven't watched this. I feel so wrong.

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  9. Enjoyed reading your review. Thanks

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  10. @Justine’s Halloween: I’d recommend it too, especially if you like older zombie movies, but just don’t go in expecting something brilliant or mind stimulating. Burial Ground is pure Schlocky fun with several parts that are just disturbing and wrong.

    @Little Gothic Horrors: Thanks! The movie is a great time and definitely worth checking out.

    @Pangs: Don’t go another day without seeing it ;)

    @Katy Bennett: I’m glad you liked it, thanks for joining. I thought the ending to your zombie poem was very well done and beautiful in its own way.

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  11. Hi, Giovanni!
    Review very precise, congratulations!
    This film is a cult among the Italian fans, because gross, unintentionally ironic, etc.. The scene of the maid is legendary, with the zombies who throw the blade with extreme precision! : D And the one where the zombie comes out of the jar? Eheheh ...
    Anyway I saw him when I was a kid on VHS and scared me a lot! The zombie make-up worked!
    I also feel beautiful in its own way!
    I liked the ending, better than a happy ending!

    Luigi

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  12. This seems like an awesome movie, it does seem very Fulci’s ZOMBI 2! I'd love to check out it.

    You look like a cool zombie! :P

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  13. @Occhio sulle espressioni@ Thank you so much for the compliments, I kind of thought that this film is considered a cult classic in Italy. It’s a cult classic among American fans too. Also, your comment made me question my using the term “throw darts” since it wasn’t a dart, but as you said, a blade that the zombie threw. So I made a small edit and changed it to “throw knives” instead, which I think is more accurate than what I wrote before.

    @Real Queen of Horror: Hi Zena, thanks for stopping by. I do think you’d enjoy this film. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure, and if you do watch it, be sure to watch out for a particular scene that nearly images the iconic splinter in the eye scene from Fulci’s film, just done a bit differently here with glass. Thank you for the compliment regarding the zombie photo, I think it looks pretty cool too.

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  14. It's been a while since I have seen, even I do not remember exactly which object was, but yeah, I remember it was a knife. :)
    Also you will see and reviewed "Malabimba"? It is always in the vein of unintentionally ridiculous, eheh, but the setting is nice! ;)

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  15. It's so hard to watch because of the MAN CHILD THING. Freaks me out WAY more than the zombies do.

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  16. @occhio sulle espressioni: Malabimba is most certainly a candidate to be reviewed here, I agree with you that it has a nice setting, but the epic sex scenes end up being a bit distracting.

    @Kev D: I don’t blame you. Michael is very creepy, just thinking of the scene where he is lying in bed with colorful flower dotted sheets while his mother checks in on him gives me the creeps. Thanks for joining by the way.

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  17. Excellent review! I was actually suckered in to buying this film. A few years back i bought Romero's Dead trilogy on DVD. I needed a zombie fix so i found Zombie flesh eaters. Still not satisfied i decided to buy Zombie 3 (as this movie is called in the Netherlands). The boy and his mother creeped me out and the zombies using axes and other stuff rubbed me the wrong way. Does this movie suck? Yes. Do one need to see it? Hell yes! This is one of those oddball, "Out there" zombie flicks. It's so bad, it has to be seen to be believed. I am glad i have it in my collection. :)

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  18. @ H A R R Y G O A Z: Thanks, you too.

    @ Johnny Madrid: Much thanks for the compliments, I’d say your enthusiasm for this film matches mine. The way the zombies utilized tools in this film seemed too much like a blatant attempt to break standard zombie rules which either works or it doesn’t, and I’d say it probably didn’t work here, but that’s not to say zombies can’t use weapons, I think Bub from DAY OF THE DEAD firing off rounds was a brilliant innovation that worked. I'd say that Bub was a brilliant innovation altogether.

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  19. Hey Giovanni, great review of a great movie. This is easily one of the most entertaining zombie movies of all time. Your screenshots and review capture the feel of the film perfectly.

    And to your post on my recent blog on zombies, many thanks! Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things is a great flick if you get the chance to see it.

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  20. Great zombie film,make-ups are even better in some ways than fulci's 'Zombie' I think!.

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