Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981)

Andrea Bianchi

Peter Bark - Michael
Mariangela Giordano - Evelyn
Karin Well - Janet
Gianluigi Chirizzi - Mark
Simone Mattioli - James
Antonella Antinori - Leslie
Roberto Caporali - George

Genre - Horror/Zombie/Euro

Running Time - 85 Minutes

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4

**Part of Final Girl's Film Club**

Sometimes when I'm laying on my bed with a bottle of baby oil to my side while focusing on reaching temporary Nirvana, I fantasize about what it would be like to be rich and cultured. I would buy whatever I want and travel the world with my close friends to learn about other cultures and the arts. I would even marry a hot Italian woman with a son who looks like an adult dwarf wearing a toupee who wishes he was married to her rather than me. Not that I can blame the man-kid. She does have beautiful breasts. And let's not forget the zombies. They're always fun as they munch on our flesh.

Unfortunately, this life will never happen to me because I was put on this Earth to watch crap like ANKLE BITERS, BLOODY MURDER, and THE NAIL GUN MASSACRE [-shivers-]. But at least the Italian zombie flick, BURIAL GROUND: THE NIGHTS OF TERROR a.k.a. THE NIGHTS OF TERROR a.k.a. ZOMBIE 3 a.k.a. THE ZOMBIE DEAD a.k.a. HOW MANY FUCKIN' TITLES CAN ONE FILM HAVE, can put my fantasy in the form of a cheesy exploitation flick that could only come from the Italians. While it's no DAWN OF THE DEAD, THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, or even ZOMBI 2, those zombie films can't take away the mind-boggling incest angle in BURIAL GROUND. Breast feeding has never been more inviting. Let's see how much milk we can suck out of this bad boy, shall we?

Some old fart who looks a homeless Santa Claus (Renato Barbieri) snoops around some old catacombs near some castle. Apparently he's some sort of professor who seems to have found a way to revive the dead [maybe he was a necrophiliac - hey, they need love too!], but doesn't do much to wake them up from their hibernation. Even though he pleads for friendship like the pussy that he is, the zombies could care less and feast on his old ass. Unless you're playing Mortal Kombat II and III, friendships don't mean jack!

Anyway, it seems this professor dude invited a bunch of people [three couples - one with a dwarf passing off as a ten year old] to the castle, I guess to discuss his "discovery". Not even within a minute of settling down, the couples begin fornicating as if someone sprayed Love Potion No. 9 in the castle air or something. One of the couples don't get to finish as the dwarfishly young Michael (Peter Bark) catches them in the act and is lusting after his own mother!! Oh Momma!!

While these couples lust away at each other, the zombies surface as a single unit - hungry for some Italian flesh. Between bear traps, decapitations, glass cutting, and Michael making out with his mom for about two minutes before it being stopped, these idiot humans have no chance against the much smarter zombies. Oh to be rich and incestuous...

Believe it or not, I have reviewed 281 films [this is the 281st review] and none of them have been for a European horror flick like BURIAL GROUND: THE NIGHTS OF TERROR. Better late than never, right? It's quite the occasion that this film had to be the one to pop my Euro-horror review cherry, as any film that blatantly portrays incest in lieu of a zombie invasion deserves to have the attention of anyone who watches and/or reviews horror films. Is it the best zombie film I've seen? Absolutely not. Not even close. But in midst of the many negatives BURIAL GROUND visibly possesses, there's something about this cheesy film that puts a small smile on my face.

The story, like in most other Euro-horror films, is pretty non-existent for the most part. This film is about zombies feeding on stupid and oblivious humans, with everything else coming secondary to that. This does hurt the film, as it leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. For example, why did the dead wake up? The professor didn't do anything remotely magical to get their attention. I didn't see any toxic gas being used here. Why did the dead pick that exact time to finally feast? It's never explained.

Speaking of the waking dead, how did the characters who were recently murdered by the dead become zombies so damn quickly? In usual zombie films, the zombies pass on some infection to the victim to turn them into a fellow walking corpse. These zombies had no infection and were based on magic, I believe. So how did the others turn?

Also, this is the first zombie flick where the dead seem to have the power to manipulate with electricity, which is shown when the light bulbs inside the castle flickered on-and-off until there were no more lights. Not that I have a problem with this. I would just like some sort of short explanation as to what the fuck was going on. I just didn't realize Italian zombies knew the Jedi-trick or something.

And I think the thing that bugged me the most about this film: who in the hell would put a fuckin' bear trap in the garden? Is this bear country? From what I could tell, Yogi and his friends were nowhere near this place. Hell, I would think George would have told his friends about the trap. Hell, I think he would have just got rid of it just in case someone would fuckin' stick their foot in it! But I'm not an idiot, so I can't speak for George or the filmmakers of this film.

Besides the zombie invasion, the sub-plot that gets the most attention in BURIAL GROUND is obviously the incestuous relationship between Evelyn and her son, Michael. Boy, this whole idea just made me chuckle because it was just so freakin' bizarre, especially for a zombie movie. To see a dwarf passing for a child making out with a woman who's supposed to be his mother just made the whole experience more surreal than it actually was. Especially when this mother lets her son fondle and tongue her for two minutes before she decides it's wrong! The aftermath of this whole angle is pretty much worth the price of admission alone, when Michael shows Evelyn how to take breast feeding to a higher level. It's disturbing, yet funny at the same time.

The dialogue in BURIAL GROUND is also pretty funny. However I wonder if the dubbing is legit to the actual source since the DVD I watched had no Italian track with subtitles. But Michael's "Oh Momma!" exchange during his fondle session with his mom, to James' "You look just like a little whore...but I like that!" charming pick-up line [I actually had to rewind this part just to make sure I heard that right], to the Professor's frantic "No! I'm your friend!" mercy plea with the zombies - this film is full of unintentionally hysterical bits of dialogue. Usually this would drop points in my overall score of any film, but it just raised the score up a notch for making me laugh and entertaining me. Most modern comedies have nothing on this film's dumb script.

Speaking of dumb, these human characters are some of the stupidest zombie victims I have ever watched in film. They're lustful, they're selfish, and they are extremely ignorant. I mean, what dumbass would get caught in the ONLY bear trap in the entire castle grounds? What idiots would point out the obvious and just stand there as the zombies approach rather than run? Hell, there's even one dork who decides the best idea to survive the zombies is to actually let them INSIDE the castle so they can get what they're after. Um...they're after your ass, you fuckin' dipshit! They're not banging down the doors because they want a tour of the castle or to witness Michael Jackson's memorial celebration. They're hungry and you, as a fuckin' dumbass, just served them their dinner. Congratulations, you genius! And who doesn't put phones in their house in case of an emergency? And knowing that blows to the head will kill the dead, why bother attacking them anywhere BUT the head? Yeah, these guys are worth wasting my oxygen supply...

It's sad that the zombies in the film are the characters with the most development. For people who've been dead for who knows how long, they're quite intelligent and definitely know how to achieve their goals. They knew how to break down cars to stop the humans from escaping the area. They knew where the weapons were in order to break down the front door of the castle. One uses a scythe on a victim in a fantastic way. Another zombie thinks he's Peter Parker and climbs up the walls of the castle [I applauded him, by the way]. Plus these zombies knew how to use technology they had no business even knowing. These zombies were smart as hell and brains always win out in the end. Kudos, my dead friends.

The SFX and gore in BURIAL GROUND is actually pretty decent. Let's discuss the yummy gore first. We see flesh being pulled apart and eaten. We get a head being decapitated in a nice way. There's a ZOMBI 2 moment where some chick gets pierced by a shard of glass to the face - still lovely nonetheless. And then we get the infamous tit scene, where Michael gives Evelyn a breast feeding session she'll never forget. I couldn't stop laughing at how sick it was, yet it was something I had never seen in a horror film before. So it definitely won me over. The makeup job on the zombies was okay. They did look like rubber masks at some points, where the eyes were covered most of the time. The complexion on these masks looked kind of fake, as if someone molded them with apple sauce. But I gotta give credit to the men behind the SFX for added maggots and worms to these zombie faces. It definitely added to their cool factor and made things more realistic in a surrealistic sense. I did think the blood was a bit too red or too pink at times, but it didn't really distract or bother me. I thought the SFX were actually a step above from the story.

The music soundtrack was also okay. It wasn't a thrilling score, but it didn't make me want to go deaf for 85 minutes. There was a jazzy little ditty during the opening credits that made me chuckle and the soundtrack during the more horrific scenes were kind of hokey. But you know what you're getting into with most of these Italian zombie flicks, so I'm cool with it.

The direction by Andrea Bianchi, who also directed STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER, was also okay. It wasn't an exceptional piece of filmmaking but it wasn't totally incompetent either. I think the pacing was a real issue here because the film seemed really energetic at times and then just slow and lazy at others. I also didn't get much sense of suspense or tension here either. It didn't help that the filmmakers decided to have the film occur during the daytime for the most part. I also think the location of the castle and the grounds outside could have been used more. It's such a massive space that a lot of things could have occured to really create some nice atmosphere. But we don't really get that all that much, although the location shots were really beautiful. I do think the editing was very nice and the cinematography wasn't all that bad. I just wish Bianchi could have infused this film with more life [no pun intended].

The acting is pretty bad here, but I think it actually made me enjoy the film more for some reason. It's hard to really decide what was good or what was bad due to the dubbing, which can bring any great foreign film down a few pegs. I will say the dubbing was hysterical, especially Michael's, who sounded like an adult trying to act like a 10-year-old boy. It's bad enough that the actor was already an adult. The voice just seemed to rub it in. I thought the dude sounded like a creepy pedophile. So since I can't really judge the thespian work, I will say that the actress who played Janet (Karin Well) annoyed me to no end due to the screaming and whining. The character was stupid enough to get caught in a bear trap. I have no idea why the other survivors decided to lug her around. I would have left her ass to be food for the dead.


- In Europe, calling a woman a whore will get you laid. In America, it'll only get you in trouble. Remember, European girls are easy. American girls are prudes. John Wayne Bobbitt learned that the hard way years ago.

- Janet only seemed motivated to model when she was near a bunch of trees. Some women just can't get enough wood.

- Some women are not fans of writers. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. But the penis tells a better story than any pen.

- 95% of women in horror films either fall to the ground or get caught in some kind of trap while running to safety. Sorry ladies but if you're in this percentage, I'm leaving your asses behind to die. As for the other 5%, they'll probably end up traumatized, crazy, or dead in the sequel. No wonder I'm single.

- The maid got impaled through her hand by a zombie, as well as getting decapitated by them as well. Well it's about time she got nailed and gave head to someone other than her boss!

- Leslie got the skin of her face slided by a shard of window glass. It seemed like the real thing only to find...mucho distrust...the zombie's got her behind.

- Janet kept stabbing one zombie repeatedly with a poker. But it had no visible effect on him other than making him moan a few times. I have a stinkin' feeling that this zombie was in prison in his past life...

- Michael loves his mother so much that he wants to fondle and suck on her breasts. While incest is nasty, I can't blame the guy. She does have beautiful breasts. Can I be her son too?

- James pleaded for help from a bunch of monks, who turned out to be zombies that ended up eating him. I always find it interesting to see The Last Supper from a different perspective...

- Michael took his mom's breast in his mouth and chewed it right off to feast upon. Talk about a breast reduction!

I wish I could have liked BURIAL GROUND: THE NIGHTS OF TERROR more but it's pretty generic and not all that well-made to be quite honest. Yet, it did entertain me and any film that works an incest angle in the manner that this film does deserves points. So let's call this a mediocre, yet extremely memorable, Italian zombie film. I think if you love zombies or Italian zombie cinema, BURIAL GROUND is a good watch. It'll make a great party night with your friends because this film is full of cheese and unintentionally funny moments. Just make sure these friends are not bouregoise. They don't believe in phones, in brains, or in incestuous children who actually look like children. Just looking out for you guys.


  1. Hello, congratulations for your blog. I like it very much and fantastic films. I invite you to visit mine about cinema world (fantastic and author), comics, music, books and rare art.

  2. Funny review. Can you just make a mini site of your Things I've Learned? :-P

  3. A truly terrible, terrible film. I always want to like it when I rewatch it, but by the 1:15 point I find myself getting anxious to just turn it off and take a shower to wash away the shame



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