Burial Ground (1981)

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Burial Ground (AKA: The Nights Of Terror) (AKA: The Zombie Dead) is an Italian zombie horror film directed by Andrea Bianchi: an Itialian exploitation director whos films never gained as much notoriety as his more popular Italian contemporaries such as Ruggero Deodato or Umberto Lenzi. However, Burial Ground gained it’s own cult following throughout the years because of it’s reputation as a cheap, controversial, yet utterly ridiculous and enjoyable zombie flick.

Let me preface this entire reflection by stating that Burial Ground is a terrible film. This film sports so many glaring issues: such as terrible zombie make-up, non-existent plot, one dimensional characters and awkwardly horrendous acting, and sheer incompetence from nearly everyone involved in the films production. However, in my opinion, Burial Ground is the best kind of terrible, the kind of terrible that makes the film unintentionally hilarious, and thus, Burial Ground is one of the best crap movies that exists in the world of Italian cinema.

The worst aspect though, and one that sticks out like a sore thumb, is the make-up, especially on the zombies. I can say that at least the make-up department tried to create zombies that look realistically decomposed and rotting, but they did such a shoddy job that the zombies look dopey and stupid, which doesn’t help when the actors behind the masks look like they don’t know what they’re doing. In the end, the zombies aren’t scary at all, they’re funny to watch every time they come onscreen. However, it isn’t like the living actors are doing any better than the zombies when it comes to good performances. None of the actors are give good or even memorably bad performances. The only memorable performance comes from an actor called Peter Bark (Pietro Barzochini) in his only credited role, and he only stands out because he’s obviously a 25 year old man with dwarfism playing the role of horny teenage boy. The film is really embarassing whenever he’s onscreen, and his sub-plot is so awkward that it’s hard to comprehend that someone sat down and wrote this story.

It feels like the people behind Burial Ground didn’t give a single care about trying to make a good film, not even the story makes any cinematic sense. The first ten minutes of the film is the main characters engaging in lewd sex scenes, then suddenly, crap zombies attack a mansion and the rest of the film revolves around stupid characters making dumb decisions, and multiple scenes of gory death. It’s evident that the only part of the production team who seemed to actually give a damn was the special effects department. The special effects department is the same crew who worked on Lucio Fulci’s City Of The Living Dead, and their experience in the world of cinema is welcome as the special effects are realistic, gory and sometimes even uncomfortable to watch because of the film’s sheer brutality. However, every violent death is quickly juxtaposed with something terrible, stupid, or terribly stupid, so the gore is always welcome whenever it’s onscreen to break the awkward tension that comes from every other aspect of Burial Ground.

In conclusion, Burial Ground is my definition of a film that’s ‘so bad, it’s good’. Whenever I watch it, I can’t help but lose myself to laughing fits throughout the entire film. Burial Ground is such a joy to watch and, in my opinion, is much better than other ‘so bad, it’s good’ films like Birdemic or Troll 2 because unlike those other films, Burial Ground doesn’t become less entertaining the longer the film goes on, nor does it take a long time for the ridiculous hilarity to start. From start to finish, Burial Ground is an enjoyable treat for the common horror-fan, and I love watching this film. I urge everyone out there to check out Burial Ground and give the film the following it deserves.

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