Skeletal ghouls greet visitors at the mansion of a professor studying the ancient Etruscans.
Burial Ground (original title: Le Notti del terrore, also known as Nights of Terror and The Zombie Dead) is an Italian grindhouse zombie movie directed by Andrea Bianchi. It is one of several films released under the alternate title of Zombie 3.
Professor Ayres discovers a secret in an ancient stone and when he opens a crypt, he revives zombies that kill him. He had invited three couples to visit him in his manor to reveal his discovery. However, they never get around to meeting the professor. Out of the blue, the zombies attack them and they seek shelter in the mansion.
A scientist studying an ancient crypt near a grand mansion accidentally unleashes an evil curse. The curse reanimates the dead buried in the area and the zombies devour the scientist. Three jet-set couples and the creepy, mentally challenged son of one of the women arrive at the mansion at the scientists invitation. The guests are quickly attacked by rotting corpses as they begin rising from their graves.
The group of people lock themselves in the mansion and, as night falls, the zombie siege begins. The first victim is Kathryn, the maid (Anna Valente), who is pinned to a window and decapitated with a scythe. The zombies then begin to display unusually high levels of intelligence, using tools, axes to chop through doors, etc. One of the guests, George (Roberto Caporali) tries shooting at them with a shotgun but quickly runs out of shells.
Zombies then break into the mansion and attack the guests in the library. One of the guests, the young Michael (Peter Bark) has become traumatized, and his mother Evelyn (Mariangela Giordano) tries comforting him in another room. Michael, however, seems to be becoming sexually attracted to his mother, and fondles her breasts while kissing her. Evelyn slaps him, and he runs off, screaming "Whats wrong?! Im your son!" Michael then encounters the now-zombified Leslie, another guest, and stands still and stares at her while she shambles towards him, snarling and covered in blood.
The group then decides to let the zombies inside the house, reasoning that they can distract them while they escape. Evelyn goes off to get Michael, but finds he has been killed by Leslie, then has a nervous breakdown.
The remaining survivors escape from the mansion, and hide out until morning. They then find a monastery, but discover that all of the monks have become zombies. The zombie monks chase the rest of the survivors to a workshop in the middle of the forest, where they encounter the zombified Michael. Evelyn offers Michael to suckle at her breast, and he bites off her nipple. The last two survivors, Mark (Gianluigi Chirizzi) and Janet (Karin Well) are assaulted and killed by zombies in the workshop; as the scenes fades, the zombies put their hands on Janets head while she screams in terror. The misspelled "Profecy of the Black Spider" then appears on the screen ("The Earth shall tremble, graves shall open...they shall come among the living as messengers of death, and there shall be the nigths (sic) of terror") as the film ends.
Burial Ground: Nights of Terror was given a belated limited release theatrically in the United States by the Film Concept Group 1985. It was subsequently released on VHS by Vestron Video under the alternate title of Burial Ground. In the UK the film was released on VHS in 1986 as Nights of Terror with over 13 minutes of BBFC and distributor cuts, before being re-released in 2002, fully uncut, as The Zombie Dead.
The film was released on DVD in the U.S in September 2006 by Shriek Show. It is available separately or in a triple feature package Zombie Pack, Vol. 2. The Zombie Pack, Vol. 2 includes Burial Ground: Nights of Terror, Flesheater, and Zombie Holocaust. In June 2011, Shriek Show released it on Blu-ray.
Peter Dendle called it "a high-impact, somber dirge that sustains tension mercilessly and wastes little time on plot and circumstance." Dendle states that though it is often dismissed as a cheap clone of Zombi 2, Burial Ground improves on that films strong points. Marc Patterson of Brutal as Hell rated the film 2/5 stars and called it "uninteresting and dismissible." Sara Castillo of Fearnet stated that the film is "notable for its near total lack of plot and bloody zombie breast-feeding scene". Danny Shipka stated that the film was partially responsible for destroying the zombie film fad with its bad effects, acting, and writing. Peter Normanton rated the film 5/5 stars and called the pace "breathtaking". Normanton wrote that the film sacrifices plot for creative death scenes, but the low budget can cause the special effects to look "a tad farcical". Glenn Kay wrote that "there isnt one iota of suspense or terror" and that the film is dull and pedestrian.