Mash up Lucio Fulciâ€™s Zombie with Tombs of the Blind Dead and then mix in a healthy dose of incest, a dwarf, gratuitous sex, sweet â€˜70s â€˜staches, lots of mutilation and some seriously whacked out space music. Thatâ€™s Burial Ground: Nights of Terror. Itâ€™s not particularly original or well made, but it earns some serious points for batshit insanity. The plot sees a group of six friends (and one â€œkidâ€ who is played by a dwarf â€“ that’s him in the picture, fucking weird) visiting their professor friend in a secluded manor. Unfortunately, the prof has accidentally awakened the dead in an ancient crypt on the property. Friends arrive, crypt opens, mayhem ensues. Plenty of nudity in this one and lots of gore and violence, especially against women (the Italians always seem to lean that wayâ€¦). Some of the gore is well done, some not so much. If you like zombie movies enough to be reading this itâ€™s worth seeing, though, without a doubt.
Return of the Living Dead 2 is a bad sequel, inferior in every way to the original. The two leads from the first movie return, as different characters fulfilling the same purpose. Here they are much less sympathetic â€“ theyâ€™re grave robbers as well as morons. The army loses a canister and two bullies open it with a couple of random button pushes (awesome security, army guys!), and the zombies take down the suburban neighborhood. Itâ€™s paced and structured much more like a traditional horror movie than the apocalyptic zombie mayhem of the first, complete with a resolution that sees the heroes kill the supposedly unkillable (in the first movie) zombies with surprising ease â€“ it turns out electricity is their downfall.
The humor is dumbed down from the first. The gore and makeup isnâ€™t as good, though it is still impressive in spots. The writing is worse, and so is the acting. Director Ken Wiederhorn is terrible. Some irritating continuity gaps test the patience of fans of the original. You get the picture? I will say that the pacing is a bit tighter, but it still drags because the movie sucks. At least the zombies move more slowly and shambley than in the first, which, for my taste, is slightly superior.
The film Return of the Living Dead is largely responsible for what has become a lifelong obsession with zombie movies. My history with the film starts way back in 1985, the year it was released, when I was but a wee boy of twelve years old. The movie was being advertised heavily and the commercials, some of which featured the notorious tar zombie and his â€œBRAINS!â€ catchphrase, simply terrified me. I distinctly remember one night, staying in a cheap hotel in California, where I was convinced that zombie would break through the flimsy door of my room and attack my brothers and me before my dad, in the room next door, could do anything about it. I didn’t sleep much that night, and, no doubt due to my terrified vigilance, the tar zombie never came for us.
Today is George A. Romero’s birthday, and what more fitting day to launch what is destined to be the greatest zombie blog ever conceived and executed by man? No need to answer, that is a rhetorical question. Stay tuned for everything zombie related you could ever ask for.
In the meantime, happy birthday to you, Mr. Romero. Your films have been changing the world for the last forty years and I hope you get forty more, even though you’d look like one of your more decrepit zombies by that point. Thanks for everything!