If you’re any kind of horror fan, chances are you’ve seen at least one or two Italian horror films. There are many iconic titles and names in Italian horror cinema, and their movies run the gamut from slasher flicks to creature-features. I’ve seen many titles in several of these categories, but I have to say my favorite subjects of Italian horror are zombies. For some reason, they get zombies, and they do them right.
Back in 1981, director Andrea Bianchi joined the likes of Lucio Fulci and Umberto Lenzi when he made BURIAL GROUND. This is a film I’ve been wanting to see for a long time, and thanks to the fine folks at Severin Films and CAV Distributing, I got to check it out in HD. My verdict? I loved every minute of it. If you’re a zombie lover like me, then add this film to your Must Own list today.
If you are not familiar with BURIAL GROUND, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Severin Films and CAV Distributing:
For his only foray into the zombie genre, sleaze maestro Andrea Bianchi (MALABIMBA: THE MALICIOUS WHORE) unleashes enough flesh-ripping, gut-chomping and depraved mayhem to set insane new standards in Italian horror: Mariangela Giordano (of SATAN’S BABY DOLL and MALABIMBA fame) stars in the splatter classic about a cursed country estate besieged by houseguests, undead Etruscans and the relationship between a mother (Giordano) and her mega-creepy young son (disturbingly portrayed by diminutive actor Peter Bark). Severin Films is improbably proud to present the definitive version of this gorehound favorite, now packed with all-new Extras and featuring a 2k scan and restoration from an immaculate 35mm print recently discovered beneath the floorboards of a Trastevere church rectory.
There’s so much to love about this film. It’s quirky and weird in places, but it’s got some amazing gore and it’s oozing with tension.
BURIAL GROUND looks excellent onscreen, thanks to a hefty restoration. I never had the opportunity to see what the VHS or even the DVD prints looked like, but I’m extremely happy with the HD presented on the Blu-ray. Granted, there are still a few grainy shots here and there, but the quality is excellent regardless.
The acting in BURIAL GROUND is typical of a film from that time period; it’s not bad, but it is a bit overdone. The men are dripping with machismo, while the women are generally helpless and hysterical. I understand the intent of this stereotyping, as it is a ploy to try and ratchet up the tension…but I have to confess I’m glad movies today have stronger female characters. Nobody in the cast really jumps out, except for those portraying the zombies.
And speaking of the living dead, they are truly terrifying in this film. The makeup artists do a superb job of making the dead look like something that just crawled out of the ground. Several of the zombies even have LIVE maggots and worms on their faces! You can’t get much more real than that! The other special effects look great, and there’s plenty of carnage to go around as well. One particularly nasty and gruesome scene has a zombie biting a woman’s nipple off!
The plot is a little vague as to why and how the zombies have arisen, but the lack of explanation doesn’t detract from the film at all. If anything, it adds a further air of mystery to the storyline. Once the film starts, the action hits pretty quick, and then the film accelerates at a frantic pace. I was able to completely immerse myself in the film, and I never once looked at the counter to see how long it had to go.
BURIAL GROUND is a big win for me, and it’s another gold star title for Severin Films and CAV Distributing. The film hit store shelves earlier this week, so snag a copy today; it’ll make a nice addition to your Halloween Weekend viewing. In addition to the HD picture and sound, the Blu-ray boasts some nice special features, such as:
• Villa Parisi – Legacy of Terror: Featurette on the historic house location
• Peter Still Lives: Festival Q&A with actor Peter Bark
• Just for the Money: Interview with actor Simone Mattioli
• The Smell Of Death: Interviews with Producer Gabriele Crisanti and Actress Mariangela Giordano
• Deleted/ Extended Scenes/ Shots
• Theatrical Trailer