Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 4th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1981
Director: Andrea Bianchi
Writer: Piero Regnoli
Cast: Karin Well, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattioli, Antonella Antinori, Roberto Caporali, Pietro Barzocchini, Claudio Zucchet, Anna Valente, Raimondo Barbieri, Mariangela Giordano
BluRay released: March 28th, 2016
Approximate running times: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian
BluRay Release: 88 Films
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £14.99
Burial Ground was directed by Andrea Bianchi whose other notable films include, Cry of a Prostitute, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Naughty Teen and Malabimba: The Malicious Whore. The screenplay for Burial Ground was written by Piero Regnoli a prolific screenwriter and director in his own right, who filmography covers just about every genre. Some of his more notable credits include, as a director The Playgirls and the Vampire and as a screenwriter I Vampiri, Navajo Joe, Patrick Still Lives and Nightmare City. Other key collaborators on Burial Ground include, special effects Gino De Rossi (City of the Living Dead, Cannibal Ferox) and composer Berto Pisano (The Girl in Room 2A, Giallo a Venezia).
Over the years the Zombie’s in cinema had taken on many shapes and forms. Initially they started off as slow shambling brain eating killing machines and as they evolved their mobility greatly improved this making them an even more formidable foe. And by the time that the Italians latched on zombie bandwagon, George A. Romero had already made the definitive zombie film with Dawn of the Dead. In the wake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead Italian cinema would spend the next three years flooding the market with their own brand Zombies. With Lucio Fulci’s Zombie being the film that ignited the fuss and Andrea Bianchi’s Burial Ground being a clear example that this film cycle was on its last legs.
Content wise, Burial Ground sticks with the essentials of the genre and does not attempt to bring anything new to the table. In most instances such a by the book approach would spell disaster, fortunately the main creative force behind this film Andrea Bianchi is far from a conventional filmmaker and the end result is something that far exceeds expectations.
From a production stand point, the film’s narrative likes its zombies move at a snail like pace. And when it comes to creating moments of shock this film often comes up short in this regard. With an overwhelming amount of what occurs in the film leaving the viewer more bewildered then frightened. Surprisingly the moments of gore of oddly effective even if they do come off at times as crudely executed.
The area of this film that is hardest to gauge are the performances. The character are all one dimensional caricatures and the dialog they speak is often unintentionally humorous. Basically they actors are not much more then props. Notable cast members include Mariangela Giordano (Satan’s Baby Doll) in the role of Evelyn, an overbearing mother that coddles her son Michael and Pietro Barzocchini (Peter Bark) in the role of Michael. And without a doubt the scenes that they two share together are the moments that linger on in your brain and they also are tied into incest them that runs throughout Andrea Bianchi’s filmography.
Burial Ground comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The brand new HD transfer created for this release was sourced from the film’s original 16mm negative and the end result is easily the best this film has looked on home video to date. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare well and details generally look crisp. Also there are no issues with compression, DNR is kept in check and when compared to previous home video releases there is more information at the top and bottom of the frame for this release.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. The audio sounds clear and balanced. Range wise the film’s score and more ambient sounds are well represented throughout this audio mix. Also included with this release are with newly created English Subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 34 seconds), a trailer for Zombie Holocaust (4 minutes 17 seconds), deleted scenes (9 minutes 40 seconds, no dialog), an interview with Mikel Coven the author of La Dolce Morte: The Films of Andrea Bianchi (26 minutes 40 seconds), an audio commentary with John Martin and moderator Calum Waddell and an alternate Grindhouse version of Burial Ground transferred from only existing 35mm print (84 minutes 21 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in English).
Topics discussed in the interview with Mikel Coven include, Andrea Bianchi and his legacy as a filmmaker, themes that run throughout his filmography and these films are discussed in-depth, What the Peeper Saw, Cry of the Prostitute, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Confessions of a Frustrated Housewife, Malabimba, Burial Ground and Exciting Love Girls.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, Burial Ground and how he first became aware of this film, the appeal of Italian cult cinema, Andrea Bianchi and his legacy as a filmmaker, Pietro Barzocchini (Peter Bark) and information about other members of the cast & crew. It should be noted that the bulk of this track is spent discussing other topics that are not related to the film Burial Ground.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option, a collectible art card and a sixteen page booklet with an essay about the film titled It Won’t Stayed Buried written by Calum Waddell and information about the transfer. Overall 88 Films gives Burial Ground its best home video release to date.
Note: This film is also being released by 88 Films on DVD.