Le Notti Del Terrore (1981) AKA Burial Ground – The Nights of Terror
Directed by Andrea Bianchi (Strip Nude for Your Killer, 1975) Burial Ground is your quintessential sleazy euro-trash picture, mixing sex and horror. The film draws a lot from George A. Romero, Lucio Fulci and Amando de Ossorio. Inspired by Lucio Fulci’s Zombie which was in turn inspired by Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. You have a group of people cut off and trapped while hordes of the undead are just trying to get a meal (Night of the Living Dead). The zombies move just like the Templar Knights in Ossorio’s Blind Dead series and there at least 2 scenes that came straight out of Fulci’s Zombie (1979). Scene one is when a zombie rises from the earth (very menacingly) to feed on two unlucky people and it looks exactly like the main zombie raising up from the ground in Zombie. It is such a famous scene that it has been used as the cover art work for many releases of Zombie. The other is a scene when a zombie forces glass from a broken window into the side of a woman’s face and eye which is reminiscent though not as spectacular as a zombie forcing a wooden splinter into Olga Karlatos’s eye in Zombie.
The film took four weeks to shoot and it looks it but what do you expect from a low-budget B-Horror film. Basically every one in the cast are inexperienced no names’s except for Mariangela Giordano. The zombies are especially gross with maggots and worms coming out of eye sockets and the like. They seem to be rather dry because when ever someone hits them in the head their heads sort of crumble but when they get shot, brownish and greenish fluid comes out (huh). There is sex but not a whole lot of nudity, the gut-munching is strong though.
The most disturbing thing about this film is the incestuous relationship between Michael (Peter Bark) and his mother Evelyn (Mariangela Giordano). Mostly because they cast a twenty five year old man to play her child, and he is a very strange, freakish looking guy. They cast him because he was relatively small for his age and the laws in Italy at the time forbid minors to participate in films like this. Especially considering what he had to do to his mother, before and after he became a zombie. He tries to molest his mother (Later on she does give in), she slaps him and he runs away saying “What’s wrong, I’m your son”. Lines like “You look just like a little whore–but I like that.” are just a couple of the gems in this film. The dialog can be silly, the dubbing hysterical. But that’s just the fun.
The plot is simple as you have probably figured out. A professor who has invited a group of people to his estate to tell them something (we never really find out what because he) disturbs an ancient burial ground and the undead rise and eat him. From then on it is just about these people surviving the night. . .but they don’t.
The film is an Anamorphic widescreen transfer, uncut, and it has some interesting special features. Most notable are an interview with Mariangela Giordano and an interview with the films producer Gabriele Crisanti.