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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: March 26th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1981

Burial Ground - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: Sam Cohen
The gates of hell have opened and the dead are back to chomp on the living with Andrea Bianchi’s Burial Ground, a 1981 Italian zombie film with an extra heavy dose of T&A and depraved bloodletting. The sickos at Severin Films have upgraded this much-loved zombie classic to 4K Ultra HD with a new two-disc release to please grindhouse fans everywhere. The new 4K presentation aided by Dolby Vision HDR is solid and offers the best the film has ever looked at home, plus a couple audio commentaries have been added to Severin’s existing supplements package from their 2016 Blu-ray to round out this Recommended release. 

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p/HEVC
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
ORIGINAL ENGLISH AND ITALIAN AUDIO TRACKS
Subtitles/Captions:
Optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature
Release Date:
March 26th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

First things first: Andrea Bianchi’s Burial Ground is the kind of Italian sleazefest that it’s been properly derided for being, however that’s also the film’s biggest strength. This is the kind of Italian production with flat, staid and overlit interior lighting, exteriors with fuzzy grain and a heaping helping of gross-out insanity that makes a video nasty so famous. Understandably, this kind of work isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. It’s just that in a flagging Italian horror circuit of the early 1980s filled with filmmakers trying to outdo one another with grotesquerie, Bianchi was the reigning champion of bad taste.

Burial Ground dispenses with classic plot mechanisms to provide a wild, gut-chomping time. Professor Ayres (Benito Barbieri) discovers a secret ancient crypt near a capacious mansion, opens it and is immediately eaten by some zombies. But now that the crypt is open, the mansion’s unsuspecting patrons are in for a night of true terror. Three different couples, with one of them bringing their 13-year-old son Michael (Peter Bark), arrive at the estate for a nice weekend away. Soon, the couples start having sex and wake up the countless zombies buried underneath the mansion. You see, the mansion was built on a burial ground.

If we’re to compare Bianchi’s work here to his fellow Italian sleaze peers like Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso, then Bianchi excels at excising the fat that Mattei and Fragasso would pad their plots with to deliver the kind of egregious entertainment that Italian horror is known for. That even extends to the whacked-out characterizations, like the incestuous child played by Peter Bark. In another director’s hands, this would be the primary focus and delivery system of sleaze. But in Bianchi’s, it’s intelligently used as a well-crafted setup and hugely insane climax. Burial Ground doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, nor does it really follow any standard story structure. In short, it’s the incidents that draw audience attention, and boy howdy is there a lot of egregious violence to be seen.

Burial Ground also has the added benefit of having the overbaked, overlit interiors and exteriors that became so common in Italian genre filmmaking. These very sparsely detailed and flat frames provide the funniest dissonance between zombie action and the soapy human drama. It’s Italian exploitation at its best, in that its faults are often the most engaging parts of the work. The way the bloodletting hilariously interrupts the story is in itself the draw to such sleazy fun. 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-rays
Don’t let Michael near his mother in Burial Ground, presented here as a two-disc (UHD66 for the 4K and BD50 for the Blu-ray) that comes housed in a standard black amaray case. The case is housed in a limited-edition slipcover showcasing some fun zombie art as well. Both discs boot up to standard menu screens with options to play the film, select audio options and browse bonus features.

Video Review

Ranking:

Severin Films upgrades their 2016 Blu-ray of Burial Ground, which was sourced from a 2K scan of original 16mm and blow-up 35mm elements, to 4K Ultra HD with a 2160p presentation sourced from a new 4K scan of the 35mm blow-up intermediate. The result is nothing short of the best the film has ever looked at home, but of course some specific attention needs to be directed towards the quality of the source used. A 35mm blow-up intermediate will offer a finer field of film grain than if the scan came from the 16mm OCN, thus this presentation reflects that fact, plus it has a very unique “dupey” feel in the title cards where optical filtering was used. That all said, colors are a huge improvement over previous presentations and offer the best view of those flat pastels that overtake the interiors. Flesh tones are tuned just right, and that gut-ripping climax with all the noisy black levels and hot reds is handled remarkably well by the encode. Dolby Vision HDR enhances finite interior features nicely, plus the layer brings out the most detail in that cheap zombie make-up. Kudos, once again, to Severin for another great catalog upgrade.

Audio Review

Ranking:

No matter which track you choose – English or Italian – you’ll be treated to a clean and clear DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono presentation. I tend to stick with the Italian track, as it has dubbing provided by the original cast, and that’s no different here. The audio source seems to be in great condition with little damage to note, with both tracks striking a nice balance between the score and dialogue. 

Special Features

Ranking:

As for the supplements, I’d like to note that the previous 2016 Severin Blu-ray already offered some terrific insights on the film courtesy of a shooting location tour, an interview with Peter Bark, deleted/extended material and more. Severin hasn’t added any new supplements, save for a couple audio commentaries present on the 88 Films UK 4K Blu-ray release. If you’re a seasoned fan or newcomer to this particular onslaught of Italian horror profundity, you’ll find the kind of insights you want on such an egregious entry in filmmaking. I mean, don’t you want to hear about how Peter Bark feels about chomping off his character’s mother’s nipple? You’ll find that here!

Disc 1: 4K UHD Feature & Supplements

  • Audio commentary with film critics Nathaniel Thompson, Troy Howarth and Eugenio Ercolani
  • Audio commentary with Italian film experts Callum Waddell and John Martin
  • Theatrical trailer (HD 3:32)

Disc 2: Standard Blu-ray Feature & Supplements

  • Audio commentary with film critics Nathaniel Thompson, Troy Howarth and Eugenio Ercolani
  • Audio commentary with Italian film experts Callum Waddell and John Martin
  • Villa Parisi - Legacy of Terror: Featurette on the historic house location (HD 15:47)
  • Peter Still Lives: Festival Q&A with actor Peter Bark (SD 7:35)
  • Just for the Money: Interview with actor Simone Mattioli (HD 8:57)
  • The Smell Of Death: Interviews with producer Gabriele Crisanti and actress Mariangela Giordano (HD 9:20)
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes/ Shots (SD 10:24)
  • Theatrical trailer (HD 3:32)

The dead shall rise once again, this time in 4K, with Severin Films’ new 4K Blu-ray release of Burial Ground. This Italian sleazefest brought to you by Andrea Bianchi is presented in 2160p with Dolby Vision HDR and is truly the best the film has ever looked at home. Add all previously produced supplements from Severin’s 2016 Blu-ray release of the film and you have a new Recommended release.

Order Your Copy of Burial Ground on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 

  

Also Available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from 88 Films