Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror

Director: Andrea Bianchi (1981)
Starring: Peter Bark, Karin Well, Gianlugi Chirizzi
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon US, not currently available on Region 2 DVD

Burial Ground: Nights of Terror AKA Le Notti Del Torri AKA Zombi 3 AKA Masacre Zombie AKA Zombie Dead AKA The Film With at Least Five Titles AKA Whatever the Hell You Want to Call it is an Italian Grindhouse movie of the zombie variety. It should be noted that this review is based on a dodgy (unsubtitled) streaming version of the flick, so don't expect any commentary on the script from me. (Unless you represent the authorities of some sort, in which case I was watching it completely legally on a DVD I spent real money on).

The movie opens with god being eaten messily by a bunch of zombies. Well, he has a beard and wears white. And seeing as my copy of the film was without subtitles, there’s nothing to make me believe he wasn’t god. Anyway, it looks like the zombies decided to eat god because he was making such a noise, banging on walls and stuff. That must be what they mean by ‘waking the dead’, yo ho ho.
Well, either god or Alan Moore. Most likely the latter. Like everyone else, the zombies were probably pissed off with Alan's constant bitching about Watchmen. That was a genuinely good film, dagnammit.

The god/Alan Moore-eating all done with, the credits begin to roll. Some horribly cheesy synth music plays all over the titles. Such things being part of the charm of 80s’ Grindhouse pieces, it’s a nice setup for things to come. Three couples have come to stay in a large stately manor. One of the couples has brought their young son, who is easily the best thing in the whole film… due in no small part to the fact that he’s played by a middle-aged dwarf (wearing a toupee, no less). But more on that later, because…

Not even 10 minutes in, and we get our first piece of nudity and a full-blown (no pun intended) sex scene. They just don’t make shit like this anymore. As some guy nibbles on his ladyfriend’s booby, more synth music plays. The other two couples are hard at it too. Unfortunately, just as they’re getting mid-jiggy, Horny couple no.3 are disturbed by their ‘son’, which totally ruins the mood. Particularly as he looks a little bit turned on by it all. And because he’s a middle-aged dwarf in a toupee. But I digress:

As the couples gather to eat dinner together, all the lightbulbs begin to pop, which causes a maid to burst into a fit of hysterics. And then the zombies emerge from downstairs…

Talking of zombies, those seen here have that lovely, textured, inimitable grotty look that you can only find in authentic Italian Grindhouse. There’s plenty of scenes in which zombies rise from the grass, their eyes dripping maggots. The makeup effects here are somewhat simplistic (generally bald, eyeless, rotten and wearing a dress) but effective.

After a bit more copulation from the manor’s residents (this time out in the garden, to add a bit of variety), the zombies converge on the house. Toupee dwarf kid’s father shoots a bunch of them, whilst his ‘son’ hides his face in mummy’s love-lumps. Kid sure does love those ladylumps. But we’ll come back to that later…

… Because right now, it’s on with the sex. As horny couple no.2 bone in the garden, they are disturbed by what seems to be the zombie equivalent of doggers. There’s a lot of fighting (read: an ineffectual poking with a rake, and a strangulation that lasts about five minutes) before the survivors finally hole up in the house. Things proceed from here in a manner similar to Night of the Living Dead et al, but get no less strange. There’s much demented wandering around dark castle rooms, all accompanied by that wonderful soundtrack (sadly absent from modern horror). The night draws on and the bodycount racks up.

The acting is generally melodramatic throughout, with plenty of anguished screaming and lots of close-ups of terrified, hysterical faces. If there’s a stand out performance, then it has to belong to Peter Bark as ‘young’ Michael. He doesn’t say much, since his voice has long since broken, but he steals the film anyway, particularly as the incestual stuff begins to kick in. “Oh mama….” I didn’t understand the rest of what he was saying, but it probably translates to “gimme some sugar, baby.” (And on a side note, more films should cast adult dwarves as children. If this ever gets remade, I want Warick Davis as Michael).

Anyway, the whole thing comes to a bloody climax, and gosh blimey and other exclamatives, this review has probably ended up half as long as the film itself. As you’d expect, there’s a bounty of gore and gloop, including (but not limited to) a gut-eating scene, several gunshot wounds, a bear-trap leg wound (see, Manhunt, that shit was outdated by the 80s’), lots of rotten zombie corpses, a strangulation, skull-splitting, a burning… and that’s all in the first half hour. The blood and guts never let up for long, and Burial Ground is all the better for it.

Burial Ground is pretty derivative, but brings enough sleaze and surrealism to the table for it to work. There’s more sex than you can shake a dildo at, whilst the gore gags are beautifully messy. And then, of course, there’s this:
Which is, alone, enough to earn Burial Ground 4/5 screaming Scream Queens!!! (Although, to be fair, at least two of them are screaming ironically).


  1. Good God, that "kid" is creepy. I'm gonna have to watch this one!


  2. I plan on watching this for Final Girl's Film Club as well if I ever get to it. Dwarves are awesome in anything. Great review.