The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (dir by Andrea Bianchi)


“For my final entry in October’s Daily Horror Grindhouse, I want to take a few minutes to tell you about an Italian zombie film from 1981.  Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror is not very good but it certainly is memorable.  I think it’s debatable whether or not any pleasure can truly be described as being guilty but if there ever was a movie that some people might feel guilty about enjoying, it would probably be Burial Ground.”

“Is that the movie with creepy kid in it?”

“Well, yes, one of the characters in this film is supposed to be a 12 year-old boy and yes, he’s kind of creepy.  But you know what?  Whenever anyone tries to talk about Burial Ground, everyone always wants to talk about the creepy kid.  So, let’s hold off on the creepy kid…”

“That kid really is creepy…”

“Yes, I know the kid is creepy but there’s more to the film than just the kid!  For instance, I wonder how many people realize that Burial Ground is perhaps the most blatantly political Italian zombie film ever made?  I mean, let’s think about it.  This is a film where a bunch of decadent rich people get trapped in a mansion — the same mansion that was used in Patrick Lives Again, by the way — and find themselves besieged by zombies.  And who are the zombies?  They’re the former workers.  They’re the servants who used to toil in the fields and who died exploited and forgotten.  And now, without any explanation, they’re suddenly back and they’re determined to kill everyone.  And when it comes time to get inside the house, they actually use tools.  They have scythes and hammers and all the former tools of their oppression.  They are now using them to kill the rich.  Well, not just the rich.  There are two servants — a butler and a maid — who side with the rich and therefore, have to be killed as well because that’s the way things are in a revolution….”

“What was up with that kid?”

“We’ll get to him.  No matter what else you say about Burial Ground, you can’t deny that the zombies were amazingly effective.  I mean, they really looked like the living dead and, even if the ‘living’ actors were never quite convincing, the zombies were scary!”

Burial Ground (1981, directed by Andrea Bianchi)

“Not as scary as that creepyass kid…”

“You know, sometimes I think that y’all spend so much time going on about the weird little kid in Burial Ground that you tend to overlook some other fun parts of the film.  For instance, there’s the scene Janet — played by Karen Well — gets her ankle stuck in a bear trap and, every time that her boyfriend Mark (Gianluigi Chirizzi) tries to pry it open, he accidentally ends up letting go and it snaps back shut on her ankle.  On the one hand, I was having sympathy pains for poor Janet because, as a dancer, I know how much ankle pain sucks.  On the other hand, I couldn’t help but laugh because the scene just goes on for so long that it actually starts to resemble a poorly-written SNL sketch.  Plus, is it just me or does Mark look like a really young Jack Nicholson?”

“That creepy kid kind of looked like Dario Argento…”

“Yes, he did.  But there’s more to this film than the kid!  For instance, remember how it ends with this long quote from something called The Prophecy of The Black Spider but, on the title card, they misspelled prophecy…”

“Maybe the kid wrote that card…”

*Sigh*  “Okay, I guess I should just admit the truth.  The most memorable thing about Burial Ground is the creepy kid.  The zombies may be effective.  The film may be full of blood, nudity, bear traps, and misspelled words.  But ultimately, it all comes down to the character of Michael.  Michael is supposed to be 12 years old.  He has a small body but he’s also got this weird adult face.  According to the credits, he was played by an actor named Peter Bark and strangely enough, there seems to be next to no information available about him.  This has led to rumors that Peter Bark was actually a little person or that all of his scenes used trick photography to make him look smaller than he actually was.  According to Wikipedia, Peter Bark was actually 25 years old but he was cast because Italian law wouldn’t allow a child to appear in a film like Burial Ground.  I don’t necessarily believe that, however.  All I can say for sure is that Michael is a creepy little kid and the fact that he was obviously dubbed by an adult trying to sound like a child doesn’t help.”


“That’s not the only reason that Michael was creepy!”

“That’s true.  He also has a few … icky scenes with his mother.  She, by the way, was played by Mariangela Giordano.  Like Giallo in Venice and Patrick Lives Again, Burial Ground was produced by her boyfriend, Gabriele Crisanti.  For some reason, any film that he produced featured Mariangela dying in the most gruesome ways possible.”

“Plus, that little kid sure was creepy.”

“Yes, this is true.  He certainly was.   Happy Halloween.”

“Happy Halloween!”

“Before we leave, here’s two trailers for Burial Ground.  The second one is the real trailer.  The first one is all Michael.”

2 responses to “The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (dir by Andrea Bianchi)

  1. Pingback: The TSL’s Grindhouse: Giallo in Venice (dir by Mario Landi) | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Eaten Alive, edited by Jay Slater | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.