Burial Ground 4K UHD/Blu-ray Review (Severin Films)

This release smells of death

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Burial Ground, also known by its subtitle The Nights of Terror, is Andrea Bianchi’s attempt at Italian zombie horror, mimicking George A. Romero’s Living Dead series as much as it copies Zombie. This is a low-budget flick with a lot of special effects, but it’s clear right away that, for all Bianchi’s aspirations, the most that he was able to glean from these previous violent flesh-eating films was their penchant for showing explicit gut-feasting by extremely rotted cadavers.

Bianchi’s film has become something of a cult classic, but it has gained this notoriety not because of its quality but because of its curious rejection of what most would call a storyline. Piero Regnoli’s script picks up in medias res, a strange decision that eventually leads to some of Burial Ground‘s most interesting aspects; without much exposition to explain why three couples – all of them seemingly distanced from each other both in relationship and in proximity – are meeting at an expansive villa to be shown a professor’s discovery of life after death, the viewer is forced to put the pieces together. Burial Ground could have had a very underdeveloped plot line about these people, but instead Bianchi gets rid of it altogether, leading to some insane reveals – in particular, Evelyn (Mariangela Giordano) and her borderline incestuous relationship with her son Michael (Peter Bark).

While there is no reason to feature these kinds of themes – in fact, Burial Ground eschews any kind of critical thinking about the subject matter – it adds a depth to the film’s natural storyline that exposes the intricacies of character that the film has no time to explore explicitly. Intentional or not, Burial Ground sits well within the category of horror films with conservative ideas about sex and eroticism; most of Bianchi’s film is comprised of scenes where these people have sex, then encounter a number of ravenous maggot-infested corpses. There’s a link here between sexuality and death, although one could certainly blame that on Bianchi’s storied past as a director of trashy erotic films.

While Burial Ground isn’t a particularly good film from a traditional standpoint, its admirable deletion of unnecessary plot lends time for gory, nudity-filled encounters, along with a focus on the beautiful Villa Parisi setting. Its makeup effects are exemplary too, with zombies in various states of decay that emphasizes skeletal putrefying anatomy. The violence is explicit, the blood a bright and vibrant red for humans and gray-green for zombies; ultimately, this is a gore-lover’s dream first and foremost, with precious little downtime between attacks.

It’s a surprise that Burial Ground manages so much fun in so little time despite its lackluster plot, but Bianchi recognizes the things that viewers of these types of films want to see. It’s not a perfect zombie movie, and some won’t be able to appreciate the merits of the film – including nipple-biting, a striptease, and the plight of all those actors who were forced to get up close and personal with maggots – because of its poor acting and missing themes. But it is certainly a product of its time with its own unique offerings, and it’s a film that hasn’t been laid to rest yet.


Severin Films previously released a Blu-ray version of Burial Ground back in 2016, and this time they’ve restored the film yet again with a new 4K scan, presumably of he same film elements that led to the 2K scan on the old release. The elements are still in pretty good condition, and this new UHD features marginal improvement over the last iteration. Viewers will notice a bit more clarity and sharpness to some pivotal moments, though for the most part the film does still retain a pretty soft look to it thanks to a medium-high grain scale. Room details and fabric textures are apparent, but not particularly noticeably stronger than the previous 2K scan. Here it does seem like Burial Ground is hitting the limits of the particular film elements used, since this release is not a huge step up from the previous Blu-ray transfer. The biggest difference one will notice is the Dolby Vision/HDR 10, which helps to add some brightness and an overall less yellowed color palette to the film, revealing additional details that were previously obscured by the darker tones. The visceral reds of blood are very apparent here, and black levels are well-managed though there is still some thick grain in these moments. Overall, this is a good new transfer for the film, but it’s not a huge makeover for Burial Ground.

Severin has provided both a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.o mono English and Italian track for this release, both with their own subtitle tracks. The English track sounds quite good, though its overall volume is a bit lower than the included Italian option. The Italian also sounds strong, with an especially punctuated soundtrack which tends to be louder. Either option is good, with the English offering a slightly changed script and occasionally different score cues.

This new UHD release collects all of the previous extras from Severin’s Blu-ray version, with the addition of a new audio commentary with Nathaniel Thompson, Troy Howarth, and Eugenio Ercolani present on both discs in the set. The trio gives a great rundown of the wacky antics of Burial Ground, as well as diving into contextual elements including Andrea Bianchi’s output and the rest of the cast’s filmography and even the voiceover work. For those that have seen the film more than once, this is an enlightening commentary to listen to.

The rest of the extras (except for the archival audio commentary with Calum Waddell and John Martin, which has now been added to this release from 88 Films’) are all ported from the Blu-ray, including a modern-day look at the Villa Parisi, a short interview from a festival with Peter Bark, a new interview with Simone Mattioli, older interviews with Gabriele Crisanti and Mariangela Giordano, and deleted/extended scenes. This also comes with a hardbound slipcover featuring new artwork.

Extra Features

Disc 1: UHD

  • NEW 4K scan
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critics Nathaniel Thompson, Troy Howarth And Eugenio Ercolani
  • Audio Commentary With Italian Cinema Experts Calum Waddell And John Martin
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 3:44)

Disc 2: Blu-ray

  • NEW 4K scan
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critics Nathaniel Thompson, Troy Howarth And Eugenio Ercolani
  • Audio Commentary With Italian Cinema Experts Calum Waddell And John Martin
  • Villa Parisi: Legacy Of Terror – Location Featurette (1080p; 15:47)
  • Return To The Burial Ground – Interview With Actor Peter Bark At Villa Parisi (1080p; 13:50)
  • Peter Still Lives – Festival Q&A With Peter Bark (1080p; 7:56)
  • Just For The Money – Interview With Actor Simone Mattioli (1080p; 8:59)
  • The Smell Of Death – Interviews With Producer Gabriele Crisanti And Actress Mariangela Giordano (1080p; 9:22)
  • Deleted/Extended Material (1080p; 10:24)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 3:44)


While not a massive step-up from their previous Blu-ray release, Severin Films’ Burial Ground 4K UHD looks great with its new Dolby Vision/HDR 10 and 4K scan of existing film elements, and alongside a beneficial new audio commentary, all of the previous in-depth extras are here too. If you don’t already own this in another format (or 88 Films’ version), this is well worth checking out.

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