Burial Ground has been a perennial title for gorehounds and Eurotrash fanatics since the VHS era but it has rarely looked good for U.S. audiences. The old Vestron VHS was a murky mess and the Shriek Show DVD and later blu-ray incarnations improved things somewhat but still had serious problems of their own (see Mondo Digital’s typically thorough write-up for a history of this title on video). Thankfully, Severin has picked it up for a new blu-ray and the results are better than any of the film’s fans could’ve hoped for.
The transfer used here looks fantastic, capturing the dark, velvety color scheme of the villa the film was shot in nicely and also handling the super-dark night photography well. If you grew up with this title on VHS, seeing this version is like having a veil lifted from your eyes. Both English and Italian audio options, the latter with English subtitles are included. Each sounds good for a vintage one-channel mix but the English track is recommended for the gonzo fun the dubbing adds to the proceedings.
Better yet, you get a nice little slate of video extras that add some context to your appreciation of this twisted little oddity. Here’s a quick recap of what you’ll see…
Villa Parisi (15:47): film historian Fabio Melelli takes the viewer on a tour of the film’s location today, pointing out areas where memorable scenes were shot and providing some interesting background on the director and cast. He also gets into the villa’s long history as an Italian horror film location, including Blood For Dracula, Nightmare Castle and several Bava films. There’s even a wild anecdote about one of the film’s makeup artists. A must-watch for the Eurotrash brigade.
Peter Still Lives (7:35): A Q&A session from an Italian cult film festival with the film’s most popular star, Peter Bark. He reveals he got the role after being spotted by an agent and discusses his accidental film career. The chat is so-so but the segment’s producers also throw in a few eyebrow-raising clips from his other films.
Just For The Money (8:57): a sitdown with actor Simone Matteoli, a t.v. and theater actor who starts off by frankly admitting that he did the film for the money. He’s bemused by its cult popularity and shares a few thoughts about director Andrea Bianchi, Bark and his mortification at having to do his first sex scene.
The Smell Of Death (9:20): this segment repurposes a pair of interviews with producer Gabriele Crisanti and Mariangela Giordano from a Shriek Show edition of this title. Crisanti philosophizes about the film’s commercial mix of sex and death as well as how the film’s lo-fi nature gives it a potency that slicker modern genre films don’t get (a little self-aggrandizing but there’s a nugget of truth in there). Giordano gives a memorable account of a burn stunt gone wrong and both people share memories of Bark.
Deleted/Extended Scenes/Shots (10:24): a series of trims presented M.O.S. They range from a few frames to a few minutes. It’s easy to see while it was all cut but the film’s fans will be amused by some extra stripping and bedroom make-out footage.
Trailer (3:31): a vintage European spot done in a classic “highlights reel” style.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Burial Ground, click here.