Burial Ground
(1981), directed by Andrea Bianchi

This Italian zombie offering from sleazemeister Andrea Bianchi came during the heyday of the movement -- a time when Italy was fixated on aping the success of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. The beauty of the Italian pastiches, though, is that they often take an idea -- like zombies -- and then do totally crazy twists on them. Burial Ground is no exception -- an odd mixture of gore and sex that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

The story in this one is almost an afterthought -- a group of horny Italians (including Mariangela Giordano) head off to an isolated estate for a vacation. Between bouts of sex between the living folk ("You look just like a little whore, but I like that in a girl."), nearby zombies rise from their grave and begin an all-out assault on the villa. Why are zombies attacking this place? What brought them back from the dead? Bianchi is not too concerned with telling us. It doesn't matter anyway, because the real reason everyone loves Burial Ground can be summed up in two words: Peter Bark.

Bark, a man in a boy's body, looks like a mini-me version of Dario Argento. He didn't do many films in his career, but it's safe to say that his turn as Michael is the most memorable of the bunch. Michael is the son of Mariangela Giordano's character -- and he's definitely hot for mamma. I don't mean in the casting furtive glances or spying on her having sex kind of way (both of which he does) -- but in a much more obvious manner. In one of the film's unforgettable moments, Michael puts the moves on his mother -- literally feeling her up and making out with her. Only a premature move toward third base keeps Bark from rounding the bases and sliding into home. Incest is creepy enough, but add in Bark's odd looks, his goofy girl jeans complete with skinny white belt, and his hilariously dubbed voice, and this sequence becomes legendary. Bark's final scene is no less bizarre -- leading me to wonder why this guy didn't get more work? I think a Peter Bark comeback could be in order ...

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