Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror
Title: Burial Ground
Year Of Release: 1980
Running Time: 85 minutes
DVD Released By: Media Blasters' Shriek Show imprint
Directed By: Andrea Bianchi
Writing Credits: Piero Regnoli
Starring: Karin Well, Peter Bark, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Mariangela Giordano
1. When The Moon Turns red The Dead Shall Rise!
The Nights of Terror
Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (USA)
Night of Terror (UK)
Nights of Terror (UK) (cut version)
The Zombie Dead (UK)
Zombie 3: Le notti del terrore (Italy) (video title)
Review Date: 3.3.06 (updated 1.1.10)
Title: "Dumping Ground - The Nights of Idiocy"
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Professor Ayres – This dork has been staying at a large villa located in the country owned by George so that he can monkey around in some nearby Etruscan ruins and call it archaeology. It is there that he uncovers a huge secret that has been buried for centuries.
George – He owns the large estate were ninety-five percent the movie takes place. We do know that he hates phones and refused to have them installed in the villa – a decision everyone in this film will come to regret (that includes you, the viewer).
Evelyn – Despite having a son that is anywhere from ten to thirteen years of age, this broad is still pretty hot. Though it isn’t made clear in the film, it seems that she recently married George and that Michael is her son from a previous relationship.
Michael – This walking genetic anomaly is Evelyn’s son. I have to wonder who his father may have been, as there seems to be ample evidence to support the idea of inbreeding. His creepy fascination with his mother is sure to make you more sick to your stomach than the gore will.
Mark – This moron represents half of one couple, the other being the uber-annoyance known as Janet. Mark might work as a photographer, as he uses a camera to snap pictures of Janet. Then again, he might work as a crash-test dummy, as he displayed about as much intelligence as one.
Janet – Janet begins her agitating behavior by claiming that she has dreamt everyone will die a horrible death. Not content with that downer of a first note, she spends more time crying, whining, sobbing, bitching and screaming than damn near everyone else combined.
James – Doesn’t this guy just look creepy already? He looks like he just walked out of a 70’s porn flick. James is also the genius that comes to the conclusion that the only way to kill a zombie is to blow its head clean off. Too bad he realized that with only a few shells left.
Leslie – Either James’ wife or girlfriend. She really needs to find a better man…unless being called a whore is something she enjoys. She also has this fetish where she tries on any underwear that she comes across. This explains why she dons a pair found inside a trunk in her room.
Nicholas – One of the servants George employs at the villa. This genius was unable to distinguish a dead person from a living one – perhaps thinking that a ripped out throat and blood-soaked clothes were some type of new fashion trend. Whatever the case may be, he soon joined the fashion club.
Kathleen – The other servant George employs and I must say, he must be recruiting them from the cheapest agency on earth. She also sets a new world’s record for stupidity – for managing to get herself killed by a bunch of zombies on the ground while she is on the villa’s second floor.
Snaggletooth Zombie - So what if this poor guy is the owner of some really bad teeth, has no hair whatsoever and has a hole for a nose? At least he has both eyes still intact.
Clayface Zombie - This guy looks like he just stepped out of a Batman comic book...that is if Batman comics were drawn by a blind epileptic. At least he has some hair (the zombie, not the blind epileptic).
Freudstein Zombie - This guy looks like he was the runner up for a role in Lucio Fulci's The House By The Cemetary. All we need is an annoying brat named Bob. I guess Mikey the freakboy will have to do.
Maggot-Head Zombie - It's obvious that this guy's favorite hobby (aside from gut munching) is endulging in a wee bit of gardening. He doesn't even need to buy fertilizer...cuz he is the fertilizer!
Groundhog Zombie - This zombie likes to burrow through the earth, rising up to snag the unwary...or the just plain slow. I wonder if Terminix sprays for such pests?
Ninja Zombie - This is the often mentioned but rarely seen Ninja Zombie. A master of stealth and disguise, it pops up when least expected to show off its knife-throwing skills.
Spider-Man Zombie - The Amazing Spider-Man Zombie. This annoying bugger climbs up sheer surfaces with all the ease of week-old crap sliding down the toilet. He smells just about as bad, too.
Ascot Zombie - Even zombies can be pretentious bastards...and that's exactly the image this Fred Jones wannabe is trying to put across. He kinda looks like Michael Berryman now that I think about it.
Plot Hold your cursor over an image for
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Our feature begins with a slow and somewhat claustrophobic pan across the interior of a cave. We soon see a guy chiseling away at the rock face. This is Professor Ayres and if you dyed his hair white and dressed him in red, he’d be the spitting image of Santa Claus. The Professor removes a stone tablet from a recessed niche in the cave wall.
A close up of the tablet slowly pulls back to reveal that we are now in the Professor’s study. He is comparing the crude (and when I say crude, I mean crude. We’re talking work that could be outclassed by that of five year-olds. Blind five year-olds even. Blind five year-olds with chronic muscle spasms!) markings on the tablet to some papers he has nearby and soon remarks that he is “the only one who knows the secret.” Somehow I doubt this stone tablet details exactly which eleven secret herbs and spices Colonel Sanders used in his KFC recipe, so this secret must be something else entirely. “Incredible,” the Professor mumbles a couple times before adding, “Yet it's true. It must be!” What? What is this secret? What long held enigma has finally been illuminated, revealing to a curious world its dark mysteries? The true origins of man? The final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa? Just what is was that compelled so many people to buy CD’s from the Spice Girls?
Well, the professor isn’t telling. Instead, he grabs a funky-looking lantern and some other gear, heads outside where it is dark, follows a gravel path and eventually arrives at some ruins. He passes through the remnants of an ancient amphitheater and then enters some subterranean passageways. I take it that he is now returning to where he originally found the stone tablet. The place also resembles some sort of vast burial chamber, which makes sense – the zombies in this film gotta come from somewhere! I am just left wondering why there are so many people buried so close to an amphitheater? Were they bad actors who were summarily executed for their horrible performances? Please tell me that isn’t the big secret Ayres has uncovered. That would really suck. Anyway, the Professor makes his way back to the spot where he found the tablet. Setting down his funky-looking lantern, he grabs a small pickaxe and begins banging away at the rock face. He makes some progress – breaking away at the rock and possibly revealing another compartment or chamber behind the wall that had the tablet set within it.
Alas, all the noise he is making has prevented him from hearing a nearby stone sarcophagus being opened…from within. Taking a break from his work, Ayres finally hears something and turns around to see a zombie approaching him. This zombie is quite the number. He has obviously been in the ground for centuries as these are Etruscan ruins that Ayres has been stomping around (The Etruscans pre-dated the Roman Empire), plus the zombie is wearing some ancient robes that are not much more than rags at this point – all of which points to this zombie being quite, quite old. However, despite having been dead for such a long time, the zombie’s eyes are still intact, not having rotted away as one would suspect from a deceased person. Even its teeth are in good shape, though much of the flesh around its mouth has gone bye-bye, revealing some of its jawbone. All in all, the dead guy looks more like some smelly, dirty wino one would encounter in the seedier parts of any big city than a living corpse.
Upon seeing the zombie, the Professor promptly shits his pants and drops his little pickaxe. Well, he dropped the tool. I’m only guessing at the soiling of undergarments, but it is what I’d do when confronted by the walking dead under such frightening circumstances. Hell, it’s what I do when confronted by one of those smelly, dirty winos! Just don’t ask what I was doing in the seedier parts of town. So the zombie closes in on Ayres, who backs away and tries to dissuade it from doing anything rash by saying, “I’m you’re friend.” The poor Professor does not see the second zombie that is coming up behind him and sooner that you can say, “steak tartar,” it has grabbed him and taken a big bite out of his neck. The first zombie also grabs him and takes another bite. Ayres slowly falls to the ground and the camera slowly zooms in on one of the zombies as it eagerly munches away at the flesh it has ripped from the Professor’s body. Things get all blurry and…
We’re suddenly looking at curving road in broad daylight. Three cars are making their away along the road and as they approach the camera, the movie title appears and the opening credits begin, accompanied by jazz music that just screams “1970’s!” For several seconds we get a “Dashboard-Cam” view of the road from the lead car as it snakes along the two-lane road. Then we get the same shot from the last car as it rounds the same turns in the road. Finally the cars arrive at the gates to a large estate. George gets out, walks to the gate and rings the buzzer. Nothing happens. In the car, Evelyn calls out, wondering why no one is answering. She asks George why, if he has hired all new staff to run the place, he did not call ahead to let them know they were coming. George says he loathes “the damn thing” and never had phones installed in the house, as this is where he is supposed to be able to go and relax. This short exchange clues us into two very important facts. One is that this place is owned by George and Evelyn while the other, and more important piece of information concerns the lack of phones. Later, when this collection of morons will be trapped within the place and besieged by zombies, we’ll know why they cannot just call for help.
Finally the gate begins to open. George hops back in the car and the procession of vehicles proceeds on up to the house where two servants await outside the front door – Nicholas the Butler and Kathleen the Maid. These two help everyone in with their luggage. George inquires into the whereabouts of Professor Ayres, to which Nicholas informs him that he hasn’t seen the Professor all day and that he is probably down at “the dig.” In fact, according to Nicholas, Ayres can get so consumed with his work that days have been known to pass by without anyone seeing him, so his absence is not really anything to be concerned about. Of course, you and I know that poor old Professor Ayres has been reduced to zombie chow. George tells Nicholas to move the cars to “the other side” (of the house presumably) and they all head in.
Some time later we see George in a large bedroom, a fire roaring in the fireplace. He dons a robe and then exists. Then we see Evelyn in another room, wearing a robe of her own. There is a knocking sound and she proceeds to open a door to an adjacent room where Michael is asleep in bed. All we can see of the freaky little bastard is his head sticking out from under the blankets. Evelyn smiles and then closes the door again. When it is closed, we see Michael open his eyes wide. Have I mentioned how freaky this kid is?
Now we are treated to a close up of some woman’s ass. It turns out to be that of Leslie, who is decked out in lingerie and posing for James – who has a big shit-eating grin on his face, and rightly so I might add! The garments turn out to be something she found in a nearby trunk and decided to put on. Um…huh? I don’t know about you, but when I’m a guest in somebody else’s home, I do not make a habit of trying on any clothes that may be stored in the room in which I’m staying. That goes especially for any underwear, speedos or jock straps. Yuck. Leslie asks James if he liked her little show. He replies by saying that she looks just like a whore…but that he likes that! Within seconds they’re spread out on the bed, James smothering her bare breasts with kisses.
Outside in the hallway, a shadow can be seen moving down the wall, accompanied by some corny sound effect that seems to have come from a theramin.
We return to James and Leslie to discover that in the scant few seconds we were away, he has managed to divest himself of all his clothes as well as most of Leslie’s…except for her stockings and boots. The two are still engaged in what chicks like to call Foreplay (if you have any idea what that may be…let me know) and the camera does a slow pan across their naked forms. Her, I can bear looking at…but him? Gaaah. Dude, cover you ass!
The scene abruptly changes to show us Evelyn and George…doing the same thing that James and Leslie are doing, only they seem to have progressed to the next step. As she straddles him and rides away, the door to their room slowly begins to open. Suddenly it is flung open violently. George and Evelyn come up for air and to see what is going on. They see the door wide open and a shadow approaching from down the hall. As the dark form draws closer, we can hear the sound of footsteps in the hall…seventeen of them! Let me just ask this really quick – if whoever is coming down the hall is the same person who just threw the door wide open…then why is he or she not standing right there already? How can anyone open a door from seventeen steps away like that? String? Psychic powers? Or are they related to Reed Richards?
Whatever the case may be, the shadow belongs to Michael, who appears in the doorway in all his creepy glory. “Mommy,” he says in that freaky adult voice of his. Now, Evelyn is already mostly covered by the blankets, so she really does not have to move…but for some reason she hops out of bed, runs across the wide room and grabs her nightie off the floor from where it was no doubt tossed in the heat of passion. She holds it up before her, using it to prevent Michael from seeing her nakedness. But…she was already covered up! Why jump out of bed? I’ll tell you why…so we can see actress Mariangela Giordano naked. And boy, we do get to see her naked. There ain’t nothing left to the imagination here. Evelyn chastises Michael for being there and orders him back to his own room. The little creep complies and leaves, but not before sporting a horrified facial expression as if he just discovered his mother rutting with a gorilla – though one look (very brief please) at George’s hairy back and one can see why such a mistake is quite easy to make.
We now cut to a third woman’s ass. Alas, it is not a close up and she isn’t naked, but we are shown a rear view of Janet bending over a suitcase while wearing nothing but a flimsy nightie and some panties. She is alone with Mark and in the midst of a full-blown panic attack. She is somehow convinced that something bad is going to befall them and wants to pack and leave as soon as possible. Bad news, honey – that bad thing has already transpired…it's called THIS MOVIE! Anyway, Mark manages to sweet talk her into calming down and soon enough these two are groping at each other and kissing. That makes the third couple within the last two minutes that we’ve seen getting all hot and heavy! Is there something in the water? Are Nicholas the Butler and Kathleen the maid off somewhere themselves engaging in a bit of the old in & out?
Before the film can degenerate into a Z-grade Emmanuelle rip-off, director Bianchi seems to remember that it is supposed to be about zombies, so we quickly cut to a scene showing a small group of zombies rousing themselves from their subterranean crypts, walking around the underground ruins and eventually making for the exits. Hey, even zombies need a night out on the town every now and then!
Returning to the estate, we see Evelyn, Michael, Janet and Mark sitting at a table and eating. Kathleen appears to clear some dishes and Nicholas arrives with a bottle of J & B, which he hands off to George, who is revealed to be in the room by the slow pullback of the camera. Michael (in his creepy man voice) is bemoaning the fact that they’ve wasted an entire morning cooped up inside the house. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be the next morning after everyone had their f*ckfest, or just later the same day they arrived. If the latter, you have to hand it to these folks for not wasting any time once they got to the estate – they were barely through the front door before they paired off and began humping like rabbits. Regardless, it's day time now and Michael wants to go outside. His mother promises they will do so shortly.
James and Leslie now arrive and the subject of Professor Ayres is brought up. No one has seen him yet, but George just says, “he’s a strange type” and passes it off. James asks George if he knows what it is the Professor wanted to tell them all. George admits to only vaguely knowing anything. He does say that as far as he knows, Ayres was studying the magic practices of the ancient Etruscans, in particular something connected with the survival of the dead (D’OH!!!). This sparks Janet to launch into a speech about how she is terrified of the dead and of the dream she had the previous night. Before she can bore everyone in the room to the point of becoming zombies themselves, Mark takes her outside to see the grounds and take some pictures. Contemplating the good weather, James also decides to venture outdoors so he can write a letter. Leslie opts to join him. Then George pulls Evelyn away from the table, wanting to show her some of the artifacts the Professor has already unearthed. As they walk away, Michael glares at them. I’m getting the impression that the little freak is not too fond of mommy’s new husband. Evelyn calls for Michael as the camera zooms disturbingly close to the little weirdo’s face.
A couple of brief shots again show us the zombies walking around the nearby ruins. Some of them look partially decayed, whereas others don’t look too bad – as if they died last week. Whatever preservatives the ancient Etruscans used, it must be similar to whatever is floating in Zombie Lake.
That shitty 70’s jazz music returns and we see James and Leslie frolicking through the gardens. Somewhere else on the grounds Mark is snapping photos of Karen, who is posing near a fountain. She moves close to a gnarled up old tree, where Mark snaps a few more pics. When she goes to take a step, she trips; saying that it felt like the ground disappeared under her feet. She poses some more and then the two venture further from the house.
Back inside the house, Nicholas and Kathleen are shocked to see numerous light fixtures blinking on and off. As they look on in amazement, all the bulbs begin to shatter. This causes Kathleen to cry out in fear and cover her face. Wuss. Then we cut quickly to zombies stumbling around outside somewhere. Are they the cause of the disturbance? How did they cause the lights to flicker on and off? Better yet, how did they make all the light bulbs explode from so far away? If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering these things. Just don’t expect the film to provide you with an answer.
Outside, James is sitting under a tree writing his letter. A POV shot begins to sneak up behind him, but it's only Leslie, who snatches his writing pad away. The two then lean back and begin making out…which is precisely what Janet and Mark are doing somewhere else on the grounds. They’re just lying out in a field, groping each other, moaning and kissing.
In some other room, which is filled with all sorts of stonework, George is giving Evelyn a lesson in how to shoot a pistol! Yes, they are indoors and no, this is not a shooting range. If you’re gonna do some practice shooting…GO OUTSIDE fer Pete’s sake!! The two then flirt a wee bit and share a kiss. Close by Michael the Freak Boy walks around looking at all the statues and other artifacts, but when he sees his mother kissing George, he runs over and just glares at him. Evelyn wants to know why her son is so unhappy. For his part, George just rolls his eyes and walks away with a disgusted look on his face. I’m betting he’s already planning to send this little freak off to a boarding school…though a traveling circus sideshow might be a better fit. Evelyn just coddles the little puke and holds him close.
Janet and Mark are still furiously making out on the grass, completely unaware of the zombie that is slowly pulling itself out of the ground just a few feet away. This guy is a real doozy. His hands are mostly intact, with even some pink flesh visible on his arms (a sure sign of a piss poor make-up job) while his eyes have rotted away, leaving empty sockets filled with squirming maggots. His nose is gone, as are most of his teeth and hair. All in all, nearly a perfect candidate for a redneck dating show. Mr. Zombie slowly crawls on all fours across the grass towards the pair of necking morons. He reaches out one hand and grabs onto one of Mark’s legs. Feeling the sudden jolt, both Mark and Janet stop and look up to see the dead guy just a couple feet away. With slight cries of horror, they are instantly on the move and backing away from the dead guy. Janet wants to know what it is, but Mark is unsure. “Whatever it is,” he says, “it’s not human! It’s a walking corpse!” As the zombie rises to its feet and steps towards them, Mark suggests they run.
Being a complete waste of skin, naturally Janet does NOT run. She stalls long enough for a second zombie to appear out of nowhere and grab her from behind. This one tries to take a bite out of her neck, but Mark pushes it away. Now these two imbeciles (Janet and Mark, not the zombies) decide to run like hell. Before going any farther, am I the only one seeing a pattern in the zombie attacks? Note how one zombie distracts the victim while a second zombie sneaks up from behind, grabs them and then tears their throat out. It worked on Professor Ayres and it almost worked on these two dolts.
Janet and Mark now run back towards the house. Just as they slow down a bit they encounter more zombies and must pick up their pace. Soon enough the grounds are swarming with the walking dead, including one jack-in-the-box zombie who pops up from within some bushes. We are now subjected to nearly a minute and a half of shots featuring zombies stumbling their way through the hedges and towards the house, including some shaky cam (very shaky) footage of a small group exiting the trees.
In the artifact room, George is showing some old statuette to Evelyn in the background while Michael the Monkey Boy examines an ancient piece of cloth in the foreground. He holds it to his face and inhales deeply in much the same (admittedly) perverted fashion that I would do with a pair of Kate Beckinsale’s discarded panties. He then takes the cloth to his mother and exclaims that it “smells of death.” Evelyn then takes a big whiff from the cloth and proclaims it to be nothing more than an old rag. The door then opens and in stumbles a zombie, frightening Evelyn and her mutant offspring. As the three living humans huddle close together, the zombie trudges towards them and George asks what it wants. When no answer is forthcoming, he produces his pistol (the one he was teaching Evelyn to use) and threatens to shoot if the intruder doesn’t leave. The trio try to back away from the gnarly looking newcomer, but additional zombies have arrived, boxing them in.
George continues to wave his gun around and threaten bodily harm. In the chaos, he takes a few steps away from the other two and finds himself the target of several zombies, who are closing in…so he begins to shoot. At such close range he’d have to be a girl to miss, thus numerous zombies quickly manifest big holes in their torsos…through which leaks some rather nasty looking green shit. The dead continue to press in, but like most cinematic zombies, they are slow moving, so Evelyn and Michael are able to make a run for it while George is firing his gun off like mad. Speaking of George and his pistol, it should be noted that he squeezes off eleven shots without visibly reloading. Including the shot that Evelyn fired off earlier, that makes twelve rounds in the magic gun. The zombies gradually close in and after several close-ups of their nasty faces, quick glimpses of bullet holes appearing in their bodies and slow motion shots of green ichor spewing from their wounds, they swarm all over the screaming George and begin tearing him to pieces. Then we get a good long look as they yank bloody bits of guts and entrails from his body and feast upon them.
We now return to Leslie and James, who are no longer lying under a tree and furiously necking. No, now they’re sitting by a fountain and furiously necking. It seems that part of the nearby stonework conceals an old sarcophagus that has long since been covered by dirt and now has flowers and plants adorning its cover. The two kissing fools do not notice at first as the lid slowly lifts and is pushed to one side. It is only as the crusty, maggot-infested zombie within begins to rise that Leslie sees the movement and alerts James. The two stare slack-jawed as the zombie climbs from its resting place and then they notice that several other zombies are slowly converging on their position from many different directions. “Monsters! Monsters!” James exclaims and then he quickly leads Leslie in a mad dash for safety. Naturally, she trips and falls at one point, forcing him to practically drag her along the ground.
Somewhere else, Janet and Mark are also running like hell from the hordes of walking dead. They arrive at a large stone fence that encircles part of the estate grounds and rush to open a gate set within it, only to find that it is now shut and locked. They begin desperately banging and pushing on it with all the enthusiasm of a coked-up Avon lady . Eventually they force it open, race through, shut and lock it behind them and then run on towards the house. They manage to run several paces before Janet steps in a bear trap!! WTF?! Where did that come from? Technically it doesn’t look large enough for a bear, and is perhaps more suited to capturing cougars or coyotes. Whatever it is, what is it doing there?!! You’d think homeowner George would caution his guests on the dangers of animal traps placed on the estate grounds!
So now Mark tries to pry the trap open so Janet can remove her foot. “It's killing me” she moans. Believe me, hon I know the feeling - this movie is killing me.. Nearby we see a pitchfork stuck in the ground. Sit tight for about eighty-nine seconds and we’ll see it put to good use. Despite his best efforts, Mark cannot open the trap. As he struggles with it, a group of zombies comes bumbling down the trail towards them. The tension (if that’s what you wanna call it) is played up here and we are shown alternating shots of Mark’s hands working to free Janet’s foot, zombies getting ever closer and Janet’s pained facial expressions. Finally, they notice the dead people and Mark jumps up, grabs the pitchfork and….clobbers the closest zombie over the head with it, like the garden tool is a warhammer or something. This tactic must work, cuz the zombie hits the ground faster than a felled redwood. Mark turns his attention to the next zombie and brandishes the pitchfork in front of him, spikes pointing towards the ghoul. The zombie just grabs it and a hilarious tug-of-war ensues, which the zombie wins. Having claimed the pitchfork, it just tosses it aside and advances toward Mark, its arms outstretched and hands clawing for his neck. Mark the idiot just stands there and waits until the walking corpse is mere inches away before trying to fight it off. The zombie manages to get its rotting hands around his neck and begins to choke him.
Not too far off, Leslie and James can hear all the racket and rush to help. It’s a good thing, too…as Janet is oblivious to the zombie coming up from behind her (I told you these zombies loved that tactic). Leslie grabs a large rock and rushes up to it just as Janet finally sees it and begins screaming even louder (which I didn’t think was possible). Leslie uses the rock to bash its head into pulp. James uses the same approach to dispatch the zombie that is choking the life out of Mark. BTW, both head-bashings are shown in extreme close-up and in slow motion. I guess director Bianchi didn’t want anything left up to the audience’s imagination.
Now that all the zombies in the immediate area have been dealt with, Mark and James work together and get that damn trap open so that Janet can get loose. James helps her to stand and Leslie wonders what is going on. Mark guesses that “this must be what the professor was trying to tell us.” Janet then announces that she has dreamt this and knew that something awful was going to happen. Mark tells her that everything will be alright (wrong!), but she insists on getting to the cars so they can leave (more on this later). Just then the gate that Mark and Janet had closed behind them suddenly swings open to reveal a zombie. The four of them then rush towards the house, the two men having to practically carry Janet the entire way.
Meanwhile, Evelyn and that freak of nature she calls a son are running from the zombies that killed and ate George. They race through some old storage rooms and find a spiral staircase. At the top of the stairs is a doorway that presumably leads to the main parts of the house. They bang on this briefly, calling out for someone to open it, but no one appears to help them. So they race back down the stairs and head for the outside…only now a zombie is lumbering into the room, blocking their escape. They stand there frozen with fear and stupidity until Michael points to some paint cans and suggests to his mother that they set the zombie on fire. So Evelyn grabs a can and proceeds to splash a sickly green colored paint all over the zombie (it will match both its rotting robes and the ichor it’s dripping all over the floor). One lit match later (I have no idea where they came from – Michael had them) and the zombie is going up in flames faster than a U.S. flag in downtown Tehran. It stumbles around a bit and then collapses to the floor while Evelyn and Michael look on in horror. Then as they go to leave…another zombie is standing in the door! No problem! Evelyn grabs another bucket of paint, there’s a SPLASH, a match is lit and POOF! A second zombie is now doing the Johnny Storm act. With this second zombie now flaming away, Evelyn and Michael make their escape out the door.
A crowd of zombies has gathered where Nicholas has parked everyone’s cars. One of them even seems to be holding something that resembles a screwdriver! Where they trying to break into the cars and hot-wire them or something? Evelyn and Michael arrive on the scene at the same time that Janet, Mark, Leslie and James converge on the spot. Evelyn tells them that George is dead and seeing the zombies loitering around the vehicles, they all opt to head into the villa. The zombies, no longer interested in the cars, decide to follow at their own leisurely pace. The group arrives at the front door and begins banging away on it and hollering up a storm. Nicholas opens it from within and just in time…the zombies have rounded the corner of the house and are getting close. Everyone rushes in and when asked why it took him so long to open the door, Nicholas tells them all about the lights going on and off, and the energy surge that blew out all the light bulbs. There is then a banging at the front door from the zombies, so they all decide to run upstairs. The zombies bang on the door for a while like trick-or-treaters from hell, but finally give it a rest and move off.
Later, the living are huddled together in the house. James is nailing window shutters closed and Mark notices that they have not heard a sound from outside in two hours (with the racket James is making, how could they?). Then he asks Kathleen to go and check the rest of the floor. She agrees and the next thing we see is her walking down a dark hallway with nothing but a candle for illumination. The film now cuts between Kathleen traversing the hall and the others as they board up doors and windows (with the dubbed hammer sounds not synchronizing with the movements). Then Kathleen spies through an open door a curtain that seems to be moving within one of the bedrooms. She seems startled and cautiously approaches the room. This is a “Candle-Cam” shot, as the camera seems fixed immediately behind the candle she is holding. Within the room she sees that a window on the far side has been left open, allowing in a gentle breeze. That explains why the curtain was moving.
Digressing for just one moment – going by what Mark said just a minute ago, they’ve now been in the house for at least two hours, maybe even longer. Since it is now dark outside, and the initial zombie attacks occurred in early afternoon, I’d venture to say that they’ve been in the house for several hours. Now…why the hell didn’t they check all the doors and windows when they first came inside? You’d think such a move would be the VERY FIRST thing they’d do! If I’m stuck in a big house with zombies congregating outside, I’m gonna run through the entire place really quick and make damn sure everything is closed before I try to barricade anything. I don’t want some zombie getting into the house through a back door or open window and then sneaking up behind me while I’m boarding up the front door. I’d feel like the world’s biggest idiot. Yet this is precisely the risk these morons took by not checking on these things earlier. Let’s refer to this as COLOSSALLY STUPID MOMENT NUMBER ONE. Alas, this will not be their last act of raging idiocy…or their worst, for that matter. It's all downhill from here, believe me.
Returning now to Kathleen, she enters the room and approaches the window (remember that she is on the second floor of the house). She sets down her candle and peers outside. She sees nothing, so reaches out to take hold of the shutters and close them. Too bad she didn’t see that zombie hiding behind a gigantic flowerpot. The zombie rises up and then throws what looks like a railroad spike or similarly pointed object…impaling her outstretched hand on the window shutter! Holy shit! Is this some kind of ninja-zombie? Talk about accuracy! She screams and struggles but cannot free her hand. More zombies carrying a large scythe suddenly emerge from their hiding places. Because of where her hand is nailed to the shutter, Kathleen has been caught leaning out of the window and cannot pull herself back inside. The zombies gather under the window and slowly begin to raise up the scythe so that the blade is above Kathleen’s head. Then they pull it down, the sharp edge cutting through her neck and decapitating her. Her head falls to the ground below in slow motion. The zombies toss aside the scythe and begin fighting over it while her headless torso spews forth blood to rain down upon them.
Coming to see what has happened to Kathleen, James arrives and sees her slumped over the windowsill. He calls to her but of course there is no reply. He slowly advances and sees that her head has gone missing (her brain left years ago). Horrified, he looks over the scene and sees how she was trapped and killed. In fact, the culprits responsible are still below the window, feasting on her head. Then a bright idea suddenly occurs to him. He lifts Kathleen’s body and pushes it out the window for the zombies. Since her hand is still nailed to the shutter, her body doesn’t fall all the way to the ground, but instead just hangs there. Still, her feet are dangling within reach of the zombies, who eagerly grab a hold of her ankles and pull…hard. Eventually her hand is torn loose and her body crashes to earth where the zombies set about eating it. With the window no longer obstructed, James closes the shutters and bolts them. Then we get a close up of zombie hands ripping out bright red entrails from Kathleen’s body.
In other parts of the estate grounds, the zombies are arming themselves. Yes, you heard me; they’re taking up weapons! Scythes, picks, axes, shovels, hammers, hoes – you name it. They look like the world’s ugliest group of gardeners. With their newfound tools, they converge once again on the front door and begin chopping away at it! James and Evelyn appear on a balcony over the door, the former now sporting a rifle. “They can only be killed by blowing their heads off,” James notes out loud. Um…how the hell does he know that? Is he going by established zombie lore that he has seen in other shitty Italian zombie flicks, or is he remembering that earlier in the day, three zombies were taken down by blows to the head? Who knows. He aims his rifle and blows away several zombies. The demise of each zombie is shown as their heads explode in slow motion. I think the same two exploding heads were used in all instances, and were just shown at different angles. James runs out of ammo, but that seems to be ok as the zombies then decide to leave. Hoping that the zombies will leave them alone for the night and that someone will try and get in touch with them in the morning (how? The place has no phones, remember?), James and Evelyn head back in.
However, these zombies are not going to give up. They are the most resilient, relentless group of walking dead to grace the silver screen since the last Grumpy Old Men movie. One zombie in particular gets the bright idea to scale the outside of the house like friggin’ Spider-Man! He manages to pull himself up to a second level balcony.
Somewhere else in the house Leslie is attending to Janet’s foot. She suggests wrapping it tightly to prevent swelling and leaves Janet alone to go search for bandages. No wonder Janet is near tears. These morons have been in the house for hours and are only now attending to her injury! Thank goodness she didn’t sustain some type of laceration, or else she’d have bled to death by now given the care these dolts have shown her. So Leslie heads downstairs to look for bandages. Evidently there is a third floor to this place and that is where everyone is hanging out, as after descending some stairs and walking down a long hall, Leslie passes a window only to have the Spider-Man Zombie on the balcony outside thrust its hands through the glass, breaking it and then grabbing her by the hair. “No, let me go!” she screams as she tries to get loose, but the zombie has her in a tight grip. It slowly starts pulling her toward the window, where shards of jagged glass are still stuck in the frame. In a full on rip-off of Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, Leslie’s face is drawn inexorably towards the broken glass despite her efforts to pull away. Her face is eventually sliced up worse than dinner at Bennihanna. For some reason, which is unclear, Spider-Zombie falls back to the ground below. We can assume that Leslie is dead.
The zombies with tools are now hacking and beating at a different door. We see Nicholas help a limping Janet into a room where he lights some candles. He then walks to an adjacent room and sees the door that leads outside shaking under the zombie assault. Knowing the zombies are right outside, Janet sends him to fetch Mark.
Ok, just hold the damn phone again. The only way the zombies could be pounding on any door was if it was on ground level. The film certainly did not show an entire group of zombies scale the wall like the Spider-Zombie did, so they must be on the first level. This begs the question: what the hell is Janet doing on the first floor? A minute ago she was writhing in pain and awaiting Leslie’s return. So why did she decide to hop down two flights of stairs? Was she feeling a bit peckish and planning on raiding the fridge for a late night snack? Did she have to pee really bad and the only toilet is on the ground floor? It doesn’t make sense. What makes even less sense is the fact that she and Nicholas have come downstairs, yet did not discover Leslie’s body laid out by the broken window. Even if the body was gone, they did not even find the busted glass, unless they took a different way down (which I tend not to believe).
So as she waits for Nicholas to return with Mark, Janet is getting more and more visibly upset. The pounding nearby is taking its toll on her both mentally and emotionally, and sure that the zombies are going to find a way into the house, she begins looking around for a weapon to use in defense. She picks up a long brown…something (it kinda resembles a wooden leg that was broken off a piece of furniture), but since she is not Buffy Summers, and those are not vampires trying to get in, she discards it. She then hops over to a suit of armor in the corner and divests it of its Polearm – one that looks like a Spetum, specifically. Then she hops into the next room and points the weapon towards the door that the zombies are beating on, a flimsy curtain separating it from her. The crashing sounds reach a crescendo and then all is unnervingly quiet.
Now comes the unmistakable pat-pat sound of footsteps and a zombie eases through the curtain to look at Janet. They stand there and eye each other for a few seconds – a feat made all the more remarkable due to the zombie’s clear lack of eyeballs. Then it advances toward her. “Get back!” She exclaims. No such luck. As she backs away, another zombie smashes a window and begins to crawl inside. Janet has now retreated to the point where her ass is almost in the fireplace. More sounds of glass shattering can be heard and another zombie enters the house. Question…if all the zombies had to do was break the glass in this section of the house in order to get inside…why the hell didn’t they do it earlier? Why beat on doors with gardening tools? And why didn’t the morons hiding inside nail something over these windows? This film is absolutely loaded with idiots – living and dead alike.
So the first zombie gets too close and Janet begins stabbing it with the Spetum. All this does is cause the zombie to start leaking gray liquid all over itself and the floor. The other zombies crowd in and it looks like Janet’s number may be up…but wait! Right about now James and Mark come racing into the room. Where’s Nicholas, you ask? I haven’t got the foggiest idea. Probably hiding under a bed somewhere and peeing his pants. James and Mark pull some other weapons off the wall and begin hacking and slicing away at the trio of zombies. This includes a close up of a zombie’s head as James splits it wide open with a short sword.
In the next room, Evelyn and her mutant are watching on in horror (again I ask…where the hell is Nicholas?) when she sees a fourth zombie coming through the window. She pushes Michael into a corner and then takes up that long brown thing that Janet discarded a few minutes ago. It turns out to be a scabbard, and she unsheathes a long sword! Why the hell did Janet refuse to use this? It would have been much more maneuverable in such close quartered combat than a long Spetum. Idiot. So Evelyn walks over to the window where the latest zombie is pulling itself in, and proceeds to chop off its hands. Then she chops some more. And some more. More. More. More. She goes crazy like she’s playing whack-a-mole or something.
Back in the other room, James is not faring too well. One zombie has gotten both hands around his throat and is squeezing for all it’s worth. James gurgles for help and Mark comes up and knocks the zombie upside the head (causing said head to shatter into a messy pulp). Yuck. Meanwhile another zombie has entered the other room just a few feet away from Michael, who screams in fear and calls for his mother in that truly unnatural voice of his. Evelyn runs up to the zombie and it a great “batter up” moment, swings her weapon and chops its head clean off – though we do get to see the neck squirting out some green shit all over the place.
All the zombies have been dispatched and James compliments Evelyn on her good work. “Now let's get out of here,” he adds. They help Janet to her feet and James suggests barring all the doors – even the ones inside the house. Good idea, dumbass! Long about now Nicholas finally appears to help with Janet. Where has this chickenshit been this whole time? Everyone else has been fighting for his or her lives but he was nowhere to be seen until it was safe. Was he checking on dinner or something? Loser.
Ok, I hope you are prepared for something downright “icky.” I’m not talking about exploding zombie heads, dripping zombie guts or anything along those lines. I’m talking Michael the freak-boy. Apparently all the zombie action is taking its toll on him as well. Evelyn leads him into the hallway and holding him close, they sit down on an ottoman. Michael insists on staying close to his “mommy” and Evelyn asks him if he can forgive her for bringing him to this terrible place. “Of course, Mommy,” He says and then leans in and kisses her first on one cheek, then on the other and finally on the lips. Then he starts the process over. As he’s planting kisses on her left and right, not only is his breathing beginning to quicken and become heavier, but his hand reaches under her skirt and begins caressing her leg. Slowly his hand moves up to her thigh and then to her Birth Cannon. It is as this point that he spews forth this line of dialog:
Still there? I would not blame you for making a run for the toilet so you can be sick. Talk about disturbing! I almost feel the need to take a shower, the mood has become so nasty and dirty. I will be the very first person to admit that I’m a huge pervert. I will further admit to looking at female family members in “that way” (and by “that way” I mean noticing and acknowledging their sexual attractiveness…but NOT acting upon it in any manner), but for all that is holy, sane and right, never was one of those females my own mother! That is just flat out gross! Yuck. I’m getting the heebie jeebies just thinking about the idea. Yech! Double Yech! We’re gonna call what just transpired SUPER ICKY MOMENT NUMBER ONE…and yes, that means there will be at least one more later in the film.
It seems I am not alone in being repulsed by Michael’s sudden behavior. Evelyn pushes him away and then slaps the shit out of him. “What’s wrong?” he cries. “I’m your son.” Then he races off. Um…THAT IS what’s wrong, you walking birth defect. YOU ARE her son and should not be acting that way towards her. Have I said Yech lately? Well…YECH. He runs off down a long hall, descends the same stairs we saw Leslie traverse a short while ago and comes across her body strewn in front of the broken window, the glass shards now dripping blood. As he watches, Leslie slowly rises, but her breathing is a bit odd. He calls her name several times but she does not answer. He makes the astute observation that she is hurt, after noticing all the blood on her face. We the audience know what her problem is: she has been zombified! A Zombie-Cam shot as she rises and approaches him is intercut with a view from behind him. “Do you want me to call the others,” he asks as she stumbles up to him.
Now we see numerous zombies walking across the fields, returning to the house. Where have they been? Just where was it they went after James ran them off with the rifle? Not that all of them left - we just saw four of them break into the house. Did this bunch go off for a nap somewhere while leaving those other four behind...or were they having a strategy session and formulating new tactics? Maybe they attack in shifts and this lot is returning to relieve the others? Perhaps in much the same manner that the DOT (Department of Transportation) limits big rig truck drivers to ten hours of driving each day, the DOZ (take a guess) imposes a limitation on how just many hours they are permitted to attack the living within a twenty-four hour time period. Just a theory. Anyway, Janet sees the zombies from a balcony and alerts the others. James notes that they will manage to break in sooner or later and Evelyn wonders what they can do about it.
This leads us to COLOSSALLY STUPID MOMENT NUMBER TWO. Theorizing that perhaps the zombies are after something within the house, Mark suggests letting them in!! Yes, you read that right! This moron wants to open the doors and invite the flesh-eating ghouls right on in, not stopping to consider that perhaps it is them that the zombies are after. He thinks they can easily stay out of their reach since the zombies are all so slow. Evidently this idiot plan is agreed upon, as Evelyn walks off to find Michael.
She walks around calling his name and eventually comes across the spot where Leslie was killed – the same place we last saw the little freak. There is no sign of anyone, just a lot of blood on the floor. Investigating a little further, she follows a trail of blood that leads to a closed door. She opens it up and finds a bathroom on the other side. She also finds Michael sprawled out on the floor in a pool of blood – quite dead I might add – and Zombie Leslie sitting nearby, happily munching away on one of Michael’s severed arms! Evelyn screams and rushes to her son, cradling him and calling out his name. Realizing that the ugly little shit is dead and that the guilty party sits not two feet away, Evelyn grabs Zombie Leslie (who has completely ignored Evelyn this entire time and has been gorging herself on Michael’s flesh) by the hair and repeatedly bashes her head against the bathtub, screaming “damn you” over and over again. Once Zombie Leslie has been killed, she then returns to cradling Michael’s body.
Outside, the zombies are doing their best to break down the front door with a battering ram!! A freakin’ battering ram! This is one resourceful and relentless group of dead people! The last time I saw a group of people so desperate to get inside a building was on November 22, 2005 when a tidal wave of humanity flooded the local Wal-Mart trying to get their hands on an X-Box 360. Anyway, the zombies have what looks like a telephone pole (where they got it is a mystery – the place has no ***damn phones!) and are using it to attack the door. Right on the other side of the door are James, Mark, Nicholas and Janet, who look on in horror as the door buckles and finally swings open. I guess they don’t have to worry about letting the zombies in on purpose anymore. They take off for the upstairs while the zombies drop the battering ram and stumble after them.
Halfway up the stairs there is a landing. The wall here contains a door that has been crafted into the design of the molding and fixtures. If you did not know it was there, or were not looking really close for it, you’d never see it. It is behind this door that the quartet hide as the zombies slowly make their way up the stairs, past them and further on up to the next level. After all the zombies have moved by, they sneak out and begin descending the stairs. Within seconds they hear an odd sound, which cause them to pause. It turns out to be Evelyn, who is crying over the death of her weird offspring. Crying quite loudly I might add. The zombies only passed by about twelve seconds ago. Making all this noise really runs the risk of attracting their attention. Unable to articulate anything, Evelyn just stands there crying. Sensing something is wrong, James runs down the hall from where she just came and ultimately discovers dead Michael and dead Zombie Leslie. “Leslie! No! Why?!” He cries. What an idiot. He is only NOW crying over Leslie? Where was his concern for her a minute ago when the zombies got inside and everyone was trying to hide? You’d think he would have made an effort to find her, or at the very least call out and warn her that the zombies were inside. Nope. Not a peep from this dork.
James returns to the others where he informs them that Michael and Leslie are dead. Mark says that they must get out of the house “now.” Well, no shit, Sherlock! He orders Nicholas to go to the armory and get a weapon and then meet them downstairs in the hall. With that they all spring into action. As the group of Mark, James, Janet and Evelyn head downstairs, the film cuts back and forth between them and the close-up of a zombie’s face as it walks along somewhere in the house. I do not know why that is, as this zombie does not appear to threaten them. They reach the ground floor and race outside, failing to notice a door that slowly creaks open behind them. From behind this door emerges the long absent Professor Ayres! And just in time to confront Nicholas, who has retrieved a weapon and is heading for the front door himself. Not realizing that Ayres is a zombie (somehow not noticing the giant flesh wound in the other man’s neck, where the zombies bit him) Nicholas tells him that everyone has been worried about him. Ayres just walks up to him, grabs him, throws him to the ground and then rips his throat out with his teeth.
Nicholas lets out some truly lame screams that catch the attention of the others outside. James and Mark head back inside briefly to check it out. Within, the Ayres Zombie has used Nicholas’ weapon to gut him like a fish and yank his innards out. James and Mark arrive to see Ayres slurping and tearing at a handful of bloody guts. They recognize Ayres but also realize that the Professor is now a zombie, so they split post haste. However, that doesn’t prevent director Bianchi from showing us another long shot of Ayres pulling organs from Nicholas’ body.
James and Mark now rejoin Janet and Evelyn outside. At long last we have come to COLOSSALLY STUPID MOMENT NUMBER THREE, and boy is this one a real doozy. The four of them run outside where the sun has now risen over the hills on the horizon. All of a sudden we see the inside of some building and the camera pans to show us Evelyn, Janet and Mark snoozing on the floor. James soon arrives and wakes them, saying that he has taken a look around outside and seen nothing moving, so they should get going. Janet proceeds to have a crybaby fit, as she doesn’t feel that she can go any further. Evelyn is near catatonic, still recovering from Michael’s death. My first question is this…where the f*ck are they? Are they hiding in some small building on the estate grounds or have they fled the area of the villa entirely and are now resting in the first place they came across? Hold on just a second, now and we’ll get the answer.
The men help the ladies out the door and next we see them, the four are making their way across a field. They spot a building in the distance and a robed figure walking around. Thinking the place to be a monastery and the figure a monk, they quicken their pace.
Now have you realized what COLOSSALLY STUPID MOMENT NUMBER THREE was? It is now obvious that these four imbeciles have indeed fled the area around the villa and spent some time resting in an empty and/or abandoned building somewhere. Now they happen to be wandering the countryside and believe they have just spotted help in the form of a monk. So the big question is…why in the hell didn’t they get in their damn cars and drive the f*ck out of there? Why are these morons hiking through the hills seeking help when they could have gotten in their cars and been MILES away by now? That was COLOSSALLY STUPID MOMENT NUMBER THREE – not using their cars to escape – and it was an idiotic maneuver of such staggering magnitude, that words do not exist in the English language to describe exactly how utterly brain dead these people are, how miraculous it is that they have survived this long without properly using their gray matter and how utterly deserving they are of a hideous death at the hands of a zombie. When you’re in the middle of the ocean surrounded by sharks, you swim to the nearest boat and haul your ass out of the water. You don’t swim all the way to shore. That will only increase your chances of ending up in some shark’s belly to about one hundred percent. Likewise, when fleeing a large house filled with zombies, why stumble through the fields when your own car is so close? These morons were all ready to drive away earlier, but zombies were blocking their access to the vehicles. Now that all the zombies have gone into the house, what is to keep them from taking their cars? They should have had their keys out and ready to use. IDIOTS!!!
So the idiots walk up to the big front door to this place and ring the bell (an actual bell on a string). No one answers, but as Mark leans against the door, it swings open. A large crucifix can be seen adorning an interior wall, so I suppose this place is indeed a monastery. The four idiots enter and sit down to rest. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around and no one answers Mark’s call, so James decides to go poke around. Mark looks at Janet’s foot (she is still whining by the way) and assures her that the Monks will probably have something to help her with it. Evelyn is still in la-la land, displaying about as much life as a wasted hippie after a four-day outdoor music festival.
Meanwhile, James is exploring the place and finding nothing but empty rooms and halls. At one point he enters a room and sees a shadow on the wall of a person who is exiting the same room out a different door. Thinking it's a monk, he calls after him to wait and then hurriedly follows. He enters the next room and discovers a large group (twelve to fourteen) robed and hooded figures gathered around a long table, their heads bowed. Thinking these are monks, he apologizes for disturbing their meditations and then tries to explain that terrible things are going on (like THIS movie). One figure raises its hands and puts them on the table, revealing them to be the decaying hands of a corpse. Slowly, all the figures raise their heads and James sees that every single last one of them…is a zombie. Of course, you were expecting that, right? James begins to panic and begins backing towards the door. Alas, the zombies trot out their favorite tactic and a previously unseen zombie comes through the door to grab James from behind. He is thrown down on the table and amidst much hollering, the zombies begin ripping chunks of flesh from him and out of him. Ouch.
All the noise he makes alerts the other three idiots, who come to investigate. They barge in right in the middle of the zombies’ dinner. The sight of all those dead people chowing down on James – including one ghoul that is tearing into his severed arm like it was beef jerky – finally snaps Evelyn out of her catatonia. She begins screaming up a storm, sanity quickly leaving her behind for greener pastures. She and the other two then run like hell…er…well, they ambulate as fast as they can considering Janet’s bum foot. The Zombie Monks, sensing another meal course, slowly follow. Even in death, these guys still manage to walk single file through the monastery in pursuit of their prey. After they have all filed out of the room, we see James’ body on the tabletop. There are a few slight movements as he reanimates into a zombie himself before he sits up.
Outside Mark, Janet and Evelyn are hurrying away from the Zombie Monastery. They follow a dirt path that leads through some trees and it is not long before they come across another building. This is some type of woodworking shop, with tools, lathes and what not all over. They hurry in and close a metal gate behind them. There is no solid door, so they push a large wood carving over in front of the gate to help act as a barrier. On the far end of the room is a staircase that hugs the wall and leads up to a landing that turns at a ninety degree angle and then runs atop the adjacent wall, affording a look down over the workshop. At its end is another door that leads to other sections of the building. The three surviving morons decide to take the stairs and explore rather than wait.
They ascend the stairs, follow the landing and are just a couple feet away from the door, when it opens from the other side. They begin backing away as a single butt-ugly zombie comes stumbling towards them. Mark suggests getting back outside, so they run down the stairs and head for the other door. As they go to move that big wood carving out of the way, they notice that the rest of the zombies have arrived and are just outside the gate. They’re trapped! What are they gonna do now? Better yet, what is the audience gonna do now?
Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.
Mark leaves Evelyn and Janet to push against the wooden carving and thus help keep the gate closed. He grabs a club-like piece of wood and heads back up the stairs to confront the zombie there. He starts beating the crap out of the dead guy, but despite knowing that head wounds do them in, he does not seem to be aiming his blows at the thing’s skull. Suddenly, he’s using his fists to hit it, so he obviously dropped the club. Then just as quickly he has it back in his hands and is beating the zombie with it. A few seconds later the club breaks apart and he is forced to use his hands. Geez, was it that hard to edit this scene together correctly? The two woman watch him struggle with the zombie and finally he pushes it over the ledge and it falls in slow motion to the ground…which is all of about nine or ten feet below. Still, the fall was of sufficient distance to kill the zombie (he must have landed on his head). With the stairs and landing now cleared, Mark calls for the two women to come up the stairs…no doubt thinking that they can escape somehow through the rest of the building.
They get partly up the stairs when someone else comes through the upper level door – Michael, who shows no sign of missing any arms. In fact, you can see both of them! Naturally, Evelyn is overjoyed to see her son up and moving about, not being anywhere smart enough to put two and two together and realize that the ugly little spud is now a zombie. Despite the others telling her not to, she rushes to her son and pulls him close in a tight embrace.
Ok, SUPER ICKY MOMENT NUMBER TWO is now here. I hope you are prepared for this. Evelyn starts fawning over her dead son, much to the confusion and horror of Mark and Janet. “You came back to me,” she says. She squeezes him so tight that if the ugly bastard wasn’t already dead, I’m sure he’d die from lack of oxygen. She continues to press him harder and harder to her chest as she mumbles stupid shit like, “We’ll never leave each other again.” Some spark of a memory must fire in Michael’s zombified brain, as he contemplates his mother’s bust with more than a casual interest. His hand comes up and gently pulls aside her blouse, revealing her bare breast (yep, no bra on this chick). As he does this, she lets out this priceless nugget of dialog:
“Oh, yes darling. Just like when you were a baby. Go ahead, darling, I know you want to. You used to love it so.”
With that, Michael’s mouth closes around her nipple as she makes moaning sounds.
Ok, I have returned. I must apologize for my sudden departure just now…but I just had to go clean up. I feel so dirty just sitting this close to the screen. I can easily watch people being ripped to shreds by monsters, zombies or even other people…and eat dinner at the same time. Guts? Entrails? Brains? No problem! In fact, pass the spinach dip! It doesn’t bother me at all. I have a cast iron stomach when it comes to gore. But this…this just makes me feel so “ooked out.” Did I mention the word “yech” or the term “heebie jeebies?” This is just disturbing beyond that of Michael Jackson, Jesus Juice and sleepovers with ten-year olds. In fact, I am almost positive that am going to require some serious therapy once this film is over. Ok…I think I can muster up the fortitude to carry on…
Mark and Janet look on in shock and horror (not to mention sheer disgust)
Zombie Michael decides to tear into Evelyn’s breast with his teeth,
ripping off a large chunk of meat –
including her nipple. She lets out an agonized scream and then falls
to the floor…dead. WTF? Dead? How can having your tit bitten off
kill you? More zombies are now coming through the door behind Michael.
Speaking of Lil Mikey, we get a close up as he rips into a bloody piece
of breast. The zombies at the gate have gotten it open and pushed aside
the wood carving, allowing them to enter. Mark and Janet are now trapped
with zombies coming down the stairs as well as through the gate. Janet
begins crying up a storm, saying how she doesn’t want to die.
Mark continues to struggle with the zombies, trying desperately not to have a buzzsaw sandwich for lunch. Janet is still screaming, the zombies closing in around her, their arms outstretched. We get a close-up of Janet’s face, now surrounded by zombie hands. The image freezes, though we continue to hear her screams. Then a bit of text appears over the image:
earth shall tremble…
“Profecy of the Black Spider”
WTF? Is this the earth-shattering secret that Professor Ayres discovered waaay back at the very beginning of the movie (which seems like a lifetime ago now) - that the dead would return to kill the living? What a let down! And here I was hoping for something a bit more, like say…an in depth examination as to why Italian cinema embraced the crappy zombie subgenre with such open arms. And who the f*ck was the Black Spider? Some ancient Etruscan holy person or just some rambling idiot who lived back in the day? Notice how the words “nights” and “prophecy” are spelled incorrectly? Whoever this Black Spider was, he could have used some further schooling. Apocalyptic prophecies carry a little more weight, let alone credibility, when they manage to use proper spelling and syntax (I know, I know…it was a goof on the part of the film’s producers).
In what is now a well known chapter in the histories both horror cinema and the Italian film industry, the year 1978 saw the release of George Romero’s Dawn of The Dead, a follow-up to his groundbreaking classic Night of the Living Dead from 1968. Released that same year in Italy under the title Zombi, Dawn went on to be a smash hit in that country, and in its usual style the Italian filmmaking community – perhaps sensing the demise of the cannibal film – embraced the opportunity to exploit this new subgenre of movies by quickly churning out cheap knock-offs. In most cases, extremely cheap…and utterly crappy. A similar path was taken with post-apocalyptic action films in the style of the Mad Max film series.
Arriving first in this wave of zombie crapfests was Lucio Fulci’s unofficial sequel, Zombi 2 – known in this country simply as Zombie. And while many may make the argument that Fulci’s film is not much better than the glut that followed, I say that it at least showed indications of possessing a few vital ingredients that most ensuing zombie epics were sorely lacking – elements such as a minimal plot, an air of coherence, a sense of internal continuity and the thinnest veil of plausibility thrown over it (things Fulci himself seemingly forgot to include in many of his subsequent films). The same cannot always be said of the numerous films that came later, like Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City, Marino Giorlami’s Zombie Holocaust, the truly horrific mess that is Hell of the Living Dead (AKA Night of the Zombies, Zombie Creeping Flesh and Virus) by well known hack filmmaker Bruno Mattei or the “official” Zombie 3 and Zombie 4 sequels that appeared years later in the 1980’s. This trend for crappy zombie films wasn’t restricted to Italy either, as Jesus Franco directed the godawful Spanish film Oasis of the Zombies and contributed to the Spanish/French nightmare that was Zombie Lake. Indeed, European horror cinema had been invaded by crappy zombie films.
In the midst of this rising tide of walking dead film projects, Italian director Andrea Bianchi – perhaps best known at that point for his well-received 1975 Giallo film, Strip Nude for Your Killer – teamed with producer Gabriele Chrisanti and screenwriter Piero Regnoli (The Playgirls And The Vampire) to create The Nights of Terror AKA Burial Ground. The movie was released under a slew of varying titles (including Zombie 3!) in different countries, earning a spot on Britain’s infamous Video Nasties list and undergoing some editing. That the film has tarnished Bianchi’s reputation as a filmmaker (did he even have one before?) speaks volumes on its quality. Still, potential viewers can at least enjoy the peace of mind derived from knowing that Bruno Mattei was not responsible for this one. That alone should enable a few of you to get through this one in a single sitting.
gonna start this off by making what I think to be an obvious statement:
any idiot can make a zombie movie. Think about it for a second –
the requisite ingredients are pretty simple – lots of blood and
gore (and sometimes not even much of those), loads of pale-faced extras
(at least a half dozen will do in a pinch) and the thinnest of plots
to maximize the use of such elements. A little creativity will surely
compensate for a lack of a budget. Hell, I recall some high school classmates
who made a “decent’ little slasher flick with little more
than syrup, food dye and some molded cutlery. Indeed, it seems that
whenever someone decides to dust off their video camera, get a group
of friends together and make a short movie, a horror film is what results
(or painfully unfunny comedy…which can often be described as horror
under the proper circumstances). Many times said horror film will be
a cheap-ass zombie movie that is driven more by enthusiasm and energy
rather than any sense of skill or competence in the writing, directing
and acting departments. Then again – what do you expect from what
is basically a bloated home movie? It stands to reason that many such
projects, made by people who have just recently figured out how to use
their camcorder, will suck mightily. What is truly amazing, is that
even veterans of the professional filmmaking process – with vastly
larger budgets at their disposal as well as having the benefit of drawing
upon a wider talent pool to fill empty spots both behind and in front
of the camera – are just as capable of churning out movies that
are only marginally better than your pimple-faced teenaged neighbor’s
walking dead epics.
of this writing I have never seen Strip Nude For Your Killer
(though I now own the DVD) or any other film directed by Andrea Bianchi,
but I have to believe that he did a better job with it than he did here.
It isn’t so much that the directing is lacking, it's just that
the entire movie seems so…er...ok, the direction is lacking. The
movie feels like it was thrown together, as if someone thought, “hey,
lets make a zombie film” and then decided it need not be any more
complicated than an elementary school play. Bianchi seems only partially
invested in the project, as scene after another seems to have been shot
with a lazy eye for details and utterly lacking any zest or energy.
There really is no sense of dread or suspense imbued into any portion
of the film. The bulk of the film’s events occur during daylight
hours and it is notoriously difficult to make events that transpire
at such times scary or frightening in any way. Bianchi is certainly
not up to the task and I must conclude that the reason so much zombie
activity takes place during the day is because the film crew did not
have the equipment or skill to properly light sequences set at night.
The few scenes that do unfold at night or in the dark are somewhat murky
and poorly illuminated.
What we get with this movie is a set of truly stupid characters, a near-complete lack of suspense and/or sense of horror, some adequate gore FX and passable zombie make-up. What we do not get are things like character development, logic and a story beyond that which can be conceived by a child, for all its complexities…or should I say, lack of complexity. Burial Ground is a film that falls miserably short of even the mediocre “greatness” of Fulci’s Zombie, but it still manages to barely...and I mean just barely, rise above the absolute wastes of celluloid that are most other Italian zombie flicks.
Castles - George's villa is very castle-like, with stone walls, cavernous rooms and halls, no telephones and even a few resident fools. More than a few of the latter, in fact.
Disturbing Kids - Michael the freak child, the poster boy for glandular disorders, the perils of in-breeding, sniffing glue while pregnant, Barney and a dozen other things that f*ck up kids.
Extreme Violence - Death in all manner of bloody ways: decapitated, sliced to ribbons, throats torn out, bored to tears...oh, wait, that last one applies only to the audience.
Gore - We get some guts pulled out, severed limbs, smashed skulls, boobs bitten off by zombie kids, blood and green ichor by the gallon, torn throats and severely lacerated faces.
Gross Stupidity - This film is filled with idiots. They don’t board up the villa, allow zombies inside later on purpose and then ignore their cars when fleeing the villa. True morons.
Haunted Houses - George’s villa isn’t haunted by anything other than idiots, but it's still a creepy place filled with creepy people, secret doors, labyrinthine hallways and dark passages.
Nudity - With three couples determined to screw their brains, there is ample opportunity to see bare boobies, bare butt cheeks and even a quick peek at the Hootchie Pop.
Sex - The three main couples in this film spend the greater portion of the film’s first quarter hour playing pickle-me, tickle-me. As enticing as that sounds…it is far from titillating.
Underground Hijinks - A few brief scenes with Professor Ayres monkeying around in the Etruscan ruins before having the zombie tag team lay the smack down on him.
Zombies - Unlike the walking dead in other films, this lot has been in the ground for quite some time and arise from their undead slumber in varying degrees of decomposition.
Morons: 10 (see the correlation?)
Zombie deaths: 16
Exploding zombie heads: 6
Smashed zombie heads: 5
Burning Zombies: 2
Bare boobs: 4
Bitten-off boobs: 1
Bush revealed: 1
Out of place bear traps: 1
Catfights between living woman and dead woman: 1
Uncomfortable moments between mother and son: 2
Moments of gross stupidity: 3
Mins – Literally making enough noise to wake the dead.
time a moron dies, do a shot of whiskey and then take a nice healthy pull
from your beer.
for larger image
Janet and Mark meet the Groundhog Zombie.
“Mark, what is it?!”
Shadow’s Comment: That’s no way to talk about Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve!
A strategy session results in Worst. Idea. EVER.
“Mark, James…they’re down in the garden, There must
be twenty or so.”
Comment: Why not just save yourselves some time and climb
into the oven?
Film & Me
Italian zombie films are a relatively new experience for me. While I have always loved horror movies, for much of my life I was more interested in science fiction or fantasy film projects. While I did view my fair share of horror flicks as the years went by, there were many nuances and aspects to the genre that I never felt the need to explore. This changed in recent years when I began cultivating a deeper interest and love for horror films of all types. Delving into the various subgenres, I began to read more about Italian Zombie and Cannibal films, the burgeoning world of Japanese horror and remembering many of the films for which I saw commercials as a child but never had the chance to see firsthand. While I do not remember seeing any advertisements for Burial Ground, I certainly remember the TV spots for similar films of the period, such as Lucio Fulci’s Zombie or City of the Living Dead, the latter of which was promoted under the title The Gates of Hell here in the states. As I’ve explained elsewhere, zombies are one of two fictional horrors that have always inspired nightmares for me…so naturally, after avoiding them for many years I began to seek them out in attempt to scare myself. Alas, that quest was doomed to failure, as my adult sensibilities were no longer frightened by slow moving dead people. Still, this new love for zombie films has led me to many great “bad” films (and some truly shitty bad films as well), much to the chagrin of The Other Half. After reading so much about Burial Ground, I remembered seeing it at a local store, so went back and purchased it. My initial viewing had me laughing as well as rolling my eyes in sheer amazement at both the stupidity onscreen and the lack of skill behind the camera. I knew instantly I was going to bump it up the list of films I had lined up for reviewing here, but it has taken me more than a year to finally get to it.
Shadow's rating: Three Tombstones