“WHEN THE MOON TURNS RED THE DEAD SHALL RISE"
So reads the poster tagline for Andrea Bianchi’s 1981 Italian zombie film Burial Ground. Gee, I wonder if that tagline was inspired by the memorable poster blurb for a certain 1978 George A. Romero zombie classic? Alternately known as The Nights of Terror, Zombi Horror, The Zombie Dead and Zombie 3, so much of Burial Ground seems to borrow from other, better known (and just plain better) movies, including Lucio Fulci’s 1979 masterpiece Zombie/Zombie Flesh Eaters (to which this was peddled as an official sequel in some parts of the world). Despite this, Burial Ground winds up being something completely unique and of its own, an utterly delirious, wacky and gory movie that roars along at a great pace and never fails to entertain, containing pretty much everything you could possibly want from an Italian grindhouse zombie flick from this era.
Amazingly, I had never sat down to watch this film before, so experiencing it for the first time via the new Blu-ray release from Severin Films was a complete treat and a real eye-opener. The 2K scan and restoration makes the mud-bleeding zombies look suitably slimy and gross while the film often looks quite stunning thanks to it being filmed at the beautiful old Villa Parisi (a location used in quite a number of Italian genre flicks since the 1960s). The film pretty much dispenses with any plot establishment or character development and gets stuck into the gut-munching zombie action almost from the get-go, and rarely lets up from there. As if the film isn’t jaw-dropping enough as it is, Bianchi and screenwriter Piero Regnoli take things even further by casting the strange-looking Peter Bark, then 25 but playing a 15 year-old kid who has a sexual attraction to his mother (played by the voluptuous Mariangela Giordano) and at one point even kisses her on the lips and fondles her bare breast while she is trying to comfort him in the midst of all the chaos and horror taking place around them!
Burial Ground also benefits from a great synth/electronica score by Elsio Mancuso and Burt Rexon, which really adds to the film’s ambience and helps give it a unique feel. The print on the new Severin Blu-ray actually contains the title of The Nights of Terror. Extras include several featurette interviews with producer Gabriele Crisanti and a number of actors involved with the film, a modern tour of Villa Parisi, trailer and some deleted and extended scenes. Audio has English dubbed or Italian language tracks (with English subtitle options).
Another winner from Severin Films.