Friday, 1 March 2013

Review - Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981 - Dir. Andrea Bianchi)

Only at obscurendure would you find a Mamma Mia review next to this zombie comedy classic.

I don't know whether the director intended all of the humour but I haven't laughed so much at a film in ages. I'll describe a scene. A man and a woman are having a chat in the background, when up pops - literally pops up - their son who is one of the strangest looking fellows. He has an old man's head on a young body. Plus he wears a polo neck and nicely high belted trousers. And he's as camp as you like. But what's he up to? He's sniffing a bit of old sack, the kind used in children's Sports Days. He looks perplexed. So he camps over to his mum and dad and says, as any child would, 'Mummy, this cloth smells of death.'.

Another quality quote is when one of our lady characters has found some saucy lingerie in the room where she is staying with her partner. So she tries it on and parades around for him. She enquires about what her partner thinks of the cheeky outfit. With a leer he says, 'You look just like a little whore.' Now, there's a chat up line I can't wait to try on all the ladies.

There is yet more comedy to be had: the zombies can climb, use circular saws and can even team up to use a battering ram. When there is an obligatory scene of a zombie rising from the grave it appears that just a few pieces of turf have been laid over him and then the zombified fellow merely sits up. There is also one of the most pathetic attempts at using a pitchfork in film history. The laughs continue after the film when a credit pops up for... Curtains. What kind of job is that? I bet they're really proud of their 'Curtains' credit on IMDb. What could top that? 'Cushions'? Or 'Lace Settee Arm Covers', maybe?

Not content with comedy, this film has the power to disturb on a fundamental level. The aforementioned old-head boy has a rather too friendly relationship with his mother. I'll leave it at that. Suffice to say, there is a payoff later in the film with similarities to Nightmare City and The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue. Dirty little pervert.

Do I really need to talk about the plot? Oh, okay, I'll try and sum it up. Big mansion. Frolicking. Zombies. Ooh crikey. Trapped. Escape. Trapped. Eaten. Repeat.

On the non-comedy plus side the opening music by Stelvio Cipriani (A Bay of Blood) is pretty great. But apart from that it's comedy all the way. The dubbing is standard for this type of film from this era, but it all adds to the charm. It's not the goriest of zombie films. The ending is very disappointing, promising something that it doesn't deliver, despite a cool final shot.

This is well worth watching on a Friday night after you've had a few Tizers down the local Spar. Plus you'll never be able to walk through Primarks again without sniffing some clothes and saying, 'Mummy, this cloth smells of death.' I know I can't.

(Average rating for the season so far = 5.8)

If you like this you could also try:
Nightmare City, The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, Zombie Creeping Flesh.

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