Friday, December 10, 2010

Burial Ground (1981)

I know, Burial Ground (or Nights of Terror as it’s also know as), is one of the most loved and respected zombie-flicks ever made. It’s up there with Hell of the Living Dead and of course Steve Miners criminally underrated Day of the Dead (and of course, because I’m conservative, I don’t count Nightmare City as a zombie movie). This is pure saturated madness, so pure from silly messages or any for of deeper meaning. This is sleazy, bizarre entertainment of the best kind!

We all know the story (house, zombies, dead people) and everyone focuses on Peter Bark, the weird-looking, kinda freaky actor playing Michael, the horny teenage son. And yes, I agree. He’s strange, he looks odd and he behaves odd. But very few (if none!) bring up the fact that he’s more than a decent actor, probably the most talented in the whole movie. Check his reactions, his way of interacting with his colleagues – he’s doing a great job play a confused teenage boy, probably dominated by his very sexual active mother. After he kisses her and starts fondle her breast, she hits him and the expression in his face looks real. I guess Mr Bark didn’t have anything to loose. It was probably his only big part so far and he wanted to make his mark on movie history. The other actors had done it before, and did it again and just took the small paycheck and left. I’m serious, the guy is good!

It’s easy to accuse Burial Ground to be a sloppy mess. In parts I have to agree on that, but it’s also hard to avoid noticing the very naturalistic and beautiful cinematography and a lot of carefully arranged shots. Andrea Bianchi almost treats this movie with an arthouse sensibility. The colour schemes seem to be very planned to, from the saturated outdoor look to the colourful, but still not too much, interiors and clothes of the actors. It’s just a visually very handsome movie, broken only by some clumsy shots here and there, grainy (but fantastic) inserts of exploding pot-heads in slow-motion and one of the worst editing in history when the bulbs starts to explode and the butler and the maid stars as chaos erupts around them.

We also have to mention the fantastic score that’s credited to two persons, Elsio Mancuso and Berto Pisano. The movie has two different kinds of music, one very electronic and experimental kind and one more traditional jazzy style. I guess the last one could be stock music, bought from some company, but the electronic stuff is unique and actually damn good. The first track, when the zombies first appear to kill dear big-bearded Professor Ayres, is pure brilliance.

Burial Ground has recently been released in Scandinavia by Njuta Films and Another World Entertainment (under the title, Zombie – The Nights of Terror), and I have the Njuta-version from Sweden. The print looks great, at least compared to the old Italian Shock disc I own. This is also, for me, the first time I’ve seen it with Italian language instead of the classic English dub. I’m not sure it makes any difference, but it was interesting to hear Italian for once in this movie.

A trashy and unique classic.


David A. Zuzelo said...

Wow, does this have English subs and Italian audio? I'd love to see it that way myself. This movie gets played at least once a year if not more in my house, a true favorite.

Ninja Dixon said...

Sorry, just scandinavian subs :/

CiNEZiLLA said...

WOW! Italian Dub! I have to pick this one up TODAY! I've never seen it with an Italian dub, and feel that this one needs a third spin of the year. In Italian!


bruce holecheck said...

Are there any variations in music or does it play identical? BURIAL GROUND's one of my all-time favorites and I'd *love* to see a deluxe release someday!

raculfright_13 said...

I was so happy to hear that the actor that played Michael wasn't actually a minor. Cause if he was... Umm... I wouldn't like this movie at all, haha.

Jack J said...

The funny thing is that there's probably gonna be Scandinavian fans who would have bought this DVD if they knew about the Italian audio but now they're not going to because they'll think the DVD only has the English dub! It's NOT listed on the DVD cover or even on either of their homepages! Only the English dub is listed.