Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 21st, 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: October 25th, 2016
Approximate running times: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo Italian
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
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.
Through the years and their many incarnations there is no denying that lasting durability of the Zombie. And every so often comes along a film like Burial Ground, that turns this genre on its head!
Burial Ground comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 2k transfer from a recent restoration that was sourced from an immaculate film element. This release improves upon all previous releases in every way. With colors look more vibrant, shadow detail is greatly improved and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and Dolby Digital stereo mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are in great shape. Dialog comes through clearly everything sounds balanced. Range wise the film’s score and more ambient sounds are well represented throughout this audio mix. Included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a reversible cover option and a slip cover (limited to the first 3,000 copies) with a third cover option, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 31 seconds), deleted / extended scene / shots (10 minutes 24 seconds), a featurette titled Villa Parisi: Legacy of Terror (15 minutes 47 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), two interviews – the first interview titled Just for the Money is with actor Simone Mattioli (8 minutes 57 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and the second interview titled The Smell of Death is with producer Gabriele Crisanti and actress Mariangela Giordano (9 minutes 20 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and a Q & A with actor Peter Bark titled Peter Still Lives (7 minute 35 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Simone Mattioli include, that he only accepted a role in the film for the money, Andrea Bianchi, the Villa location and on set memories.
Topics discussed in the interview with Gabriele Crisanti and Mariangela Giordano include, both are genuinely surprised by Burial Ground’s popularity, the cast, the limited budget and how it affected things like special effects, how the film was shot in four weeks, the vial location, Peter Bark and Andrea Bianchi.
Topics discussed in the Q & A with Peter Bark includes, how he in the process about writing a book about his career as an actor, Burial Ground and he briefly talks about the other films her appeared in.
Rounding out the extras is an Easter Egg that can be found on the extras page. This extra is the opening / closing Italian credits for Burial Ground (2 minutes 44 seconds). Overall Burial Ground gets a definitive release from Severin Films, highly recommend.
Note: This film is also being released by Severin Films on DVD.