Film: I didn’t get to see all the 80s horror I now love in the 80s, some of it I only discovered since this more permissive age of DVD and Bluray where so many films, previously cut to death or not released at all in Australia, or perhaps were part of the American MPAA slash fest, or nailed to the wall as a Video Nasty in the UK. I am especially thankful to the Australian company Umbrella for giving me an opportunity to see things I never thought i’d see, or things I didn’t even knew existed!
Several years ago Umbrella came up with the concept of releasing several films with an old school E.C. Comics styled cover and amongst those releases was this film, Andrea Bianchi’s Burial Ground The Nights of Terror, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Burial Ground tells of three oversexed couples, and one twenty seven year old man made up to look like a child (Peter Bark), who visit an old building in the country owned by one of the gentlemen. What they don’t realise is that a nutty professor who looks like Rasputin, has been researching the Etruscan history of the house and has accidentally unleashed a small-ish legion of the undead!
Will this unpleasant bunch of boosh-wah morons survive the undead as they try to get into the house; will they be able to survive… the Night of Terror?!?
It’s a strange film insomuch as it has some below-average acting, bizarre casting, odd underlying themes of incest, sleazy men with hot girlfriends and blatant product placement, but then it has some beautiful surrounds, gore-a-plenty and stupidly awesome zombie make-up… seriously, so-bad-it’s-good nails the description in this case.
It probably isn’t a film that deserves much care taken with it, but the beautiful thing is how much care HAS been taken with this release! The image is amazingly sharp and obviously a lot of time was taken to clean it up, bravo to 88 Films in that case.
Format: This film was reviewed with the UK company 88 Films bluray edition from their ‘Italian Collection, this being number 14 in the set. It was remastered for bluray and looks great, presented in 1.66:1 with an equally nicely remastered 2.0 audio track in English, and an 2.0 Italian audio with English subtitles which is also excellent.
Extras: There’s a nice bunch of extras on this disc:
A trailer and some audioless deleted scenes, but the funky soundtrack makes up for it. I can’t make a comment on whether or not these scenes are necessary as without the audio it makes them somewhat difficult to read, and ultimately redundant. One can’t have too much Peter Bark though, can you?
‘WTF’ an Interview with Mikel Coven looks at the films of Andrea Bianchi through the eyes of film historian Mikel Coven. It’s interesting and a great overlook of Bianchi’s output, even though Coven doesn’t seem to be a fan of his… or is he?
Also we have a trailer for Zombi Holocaust.
We also have a commentary on the film by John Martin, hosted by High Rising Productions Calum Waddell which takes a fun look at Bianchi history and the production of this film. It’s told, obviously, from a third party source, but it’s funny and interesting, and the two hosts clearly enjoy the,selves.
One last interesting thing, which I have decided to count as an extra, is there is the opportunity to watch this film in a ’35mm Grindhouse’ version, which is another way of saying ‘old VHS’ as there is heaps of static both on screen and on the soundtrack; so many snap, crackles and pops you’ll feel like a bowl of cereal by the time it finishes.
Also, this version comes with a reservable sleeve, an art card and a booklet with an article about the film by Calum Waddell and a small commentary about the film’ s transfer for bluray.
WISIA: I dig it and find it compelling due to its sleaziness and flat out weirdo-ness, you might too, and that is what will make it a re-watcher!