I had first heard about the film Burial Ground aka Nights of Terror (1981) years before I actually got to see it for myself. When it was finally released in Britain, it was released in 1987 on Apex Video and was missing a massive 13 minutes. Thankfully I didn’t get to see this truncated version and when I finally saw the movie I could experience it in its unadulterated uncut form.

And it didn’t disappoint! As soon as I saw it I could see why the film’s distributors didn’t even attempt to get the film into UK cinemas in the early 80s with the censorious climate in Britain at that time getting stricter and stricter.

BurialGroundPoster

The film concerns a group of people who journey to a remote country mansion estate in which a group of ancient zombies have just been unleashed. The visitors seem to be very horny indeed and no situation isn’t an opportunity to have some nooky. This is curtailed however when they find themselves on the menu of the recently awoken dead. And then the shit well and truly hits the fan.

The zombies within the film are just as sadistic as those found in Romero’s films but here they look almost stone-like and resemble old statues which is certainly unique. And whilst Romero’s zombies are on the whole aesthetically pleasing, the zombies here would never win any kind of undead beauty pageant. They’re truly ugly fuckers.

ZombiesBurialGround
The strangely stone-like zombies of Burial Ground. Not the prettiest members of the undead I’ve ever seen. I’m sure their personalities make up for it though.

Also, within Burial Ground the zombies can use battering rams to get to their prey and can also use weapons. For example, there is an inventive use of a scythe here. This makes these zombies different from the truly dumb and more primitive undead in Romero’s films.

But whilst gore-loving zombies, opulent mansion settings and bad dubbing is more than enough to ensure a great night’s entertainment for me, Burial Ground goes the extra mile by introducing us to the genius who is Peter Bark. This diminutive actor was apparently 25 years of age when he was cast to play a character who is supposed to be 10. In fact, within the film, Bark doesn’t look a day under 35, at least.

But why didn’t the filmmakers just cast, y’know, an actual child for the film? Let’s just say that the storyline that involves Bark’s character was felt by filmmakers to be so controversial that they needed an adult to act in these scenes. Freud would have had a field day had he been around to experience this storyline. Oedipus had nothing on Peter Bark’s character. When I first saw these scenes I actually shouted out loud ‘What the fuck?!’ before concluding that Burial Ground was a masterpiece. This I still ascertain. Burial Ground would made a very warped and twisted double bill if it was placed with Amityville 2: The Possession.

Peter Bark
10 going on 35- the genius of Peter Bark

But there’s also a feeling on watching the film that you are experiencing a movie that decades before was being enjoyed by patrons in 42nd Street grindhouses. This movie feels like one of the purest slices of Deuce entertainment along with the Ilsa films, Basket Case and Bloodsucking Freaks. And that in itself is something that should be cherished and celebrated.

And to finish, let me show you what Peter Bark looks like when he screams in the film. If this picture below doesn’t make you want to watch Burial Ground right here and now then you should re-evaluate your taste in movies (the film is here)

PeterBarkScreaming

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