Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Le notti del terrore (1981)

...aka: Burial Ground
...aka: Nights of Terror
...aka: Zombie 3
...aka: Zombie Dead, The
...aka: Zombie Horror

Directed by:
Andrea Bianchi

Some vacationers show up at a secluded country club, wander into the courtyard an start making out, and a little kid voyeur watches his mom have sex with her boyfriend. Before long, maggot-faced zombies pop out of the ground and attack. These are no regular zombies though, these smarties bust down the door with a battering ram and pretend to be monks to lure people into a monastery! You kill them by smashing their brains just like in the Romero movies. The extremely stupid characters scream and stand around while the zombies accumulate around them. People who are killed are ripped open and have all their bloody guts yanked out and eaten. A maid is stabbed in the hand and decapitated with a scythe. The kid character (Peter Bark) is obviously played by a short and freaky-looking adult (he looks like a mutant horse jockey), and even his dubbed-in voice sounds like an adult trying to imitate a child (see below). In one scene he feels up his own mother (Mariangela Giordano) and says, "Oh momma, I need to touch you! I loved your breasts so much momma!" She's outraged, but when he is killed and shows up as a pasty-faced zombie, she immediately pulls out her breast for him and he bites her nipple off in close-up!

Someone on YouTube has also been kind enough to put together a 7 minute long Peter Bark tribute video, so make sure to run over there and check that out if you're a fan...

The photography is dark and the dubbing is atrocious - not just in the matching lips department (see how long you can tolerate the injured leading lady's non-stop whining) - but this has lots of unintended laughs, a few standout gruesome death scenes and better zombies (designed by Rosario Prestopino) than usual. The film wasn't released in the U.S. until late 1985 (yes, it was actually a theatrical release here) and popped up on VHS a year later (the distributor was Vestron Video). It's a pretty easy to find title and all of the versions are uncut. It was known briefly as ZOMBIE 3, a title which was also an alt. title for at least half-a-dozen other films but was officially given to a 1987 follow-up to Fulci's ZOMBI 2 (which was co-directed by Fulci and Bruno Mattei).


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