Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Directory of the Dead 2: Nights of Terror

For my second installment of Directory of the Dead, I chose a fairly unpopular, even sometimes considered bad movie.  This movie is pretty insane, the dialogue is atrocious, the special effects are laughable, there's hardly a story, and a forty-something dwarf plays a young boy.  It's that bad.  Now, here is why you should watch it!

Today's film is the 1981 train-wreck, Nights of Terror.

What its title?

The films original Italian title translates to Nights of Terror.  This seems odd as the terror only takes place in one night, but more on that later.  The official US DVD title is Burial Ground: Nights of Terror.  The film has also been released in English speaking countries as The Zombie Horror, The Zombie Dead, and Zombi 3 (there it is again).

Why is Nights of Terror important?

The short answer is this film isn't important.  Obviously, for the most part, this blog is opinions, and I won't tell you it is anything else.  The films is a textbook example of an exploitation movie.  Ridiculous violence, sex, and anything considered taboo.  Exploitation films have a major part of the history of film, if only just to prevent of from repeating the past.  This film literally has two sex scenes within the first nine minutes, and a third beginning, although interrupted, at the sixteen minute mark.  They aren't holding back here.

The zombie carnage begins in the opening scene really, but the main characters of the film encounter zombies about sixteen minutes in as well.  This movie doesn't mess around with story.  Obviously, this is a flaw, but are you really watching old Italian zombie movies for their in depth storylines?  In addition to the sex and violence, there is a literally a dwarf playing a small child who has a slight incest fetish for his mother.  He wants to breast feed, and I think he is round twelve maybe?  I'm not sure, he looks forty!

What is it about?

As I have stated before, there isn't a whole lot of story here, and the little story that there is might be hard to follow.  I'll do my best to give a spoiler free synopsis.

Some scientist is studying a crypt in under or around some mansion.  He accidentally releases some stone of some kind, and awakens the dead.  Prior to these events, this scientist apparently invited three couples, one with a child, to this mansion for a weekend vacation of sorts.

The next morning, after a sex filled evening, the couples eat breakfast together and begin their day.  Two of the couples end up in the grounds of this beautiful mansion as zombies attack.  The power to the building is somehow cut, and eventually the survivors of the attack retreat into the mansion for safety.  The survivors try to hold out in the house until morning...

What are the zombies like?

These zombies are classic zombies with a little apparent intelligence.  They are very slow, definitely eat people, and most certainly are the living dead.  Their bites are fatal and turn you into one of them.  Their intelligence is apparent a few times.  First of all, somebody cuts the power to the mansion.  Maybe it is coincidence, or demonic forces, as the light bulbs explode, but somebody did it!  So, giving the zombies the benefit of the doubt, we'll assume evil spirits cut the power.

These zombies also use weapons to a degree.  They aren't running around quickly clubbing survivors with clubs, but at one point somebody tries to close a window on a second floor, and zombies throw a nail into her hand so she can't escape.  They then grab a scythe and decapitate her.  Furthermore, after the survivors seal the main entrance, the zombies give up on trying to pound their way through it.  They all grab weapons once their pounding proves ineffective.

As for killing them, they die like most zombies die, destroy the brain you destroy the ghoul.

What are the survivors like?

Some of the survivors have a degree of intelligence, others certainly do not.  They are smart enough to board up all the windows and doors immediately following the first zombie attack.  Some of them are flat out ridiculous, like the twelve year old boy who just wants to breast feed, even during the zombie invasion!

Somehow, one of the characters in this movies finds a gun and automatically to shoot in the head, maybe Night of the Living Dead exists in this movies continuity.

What to look forward to in this movie?

There is so much ridiculous zombie carnage in this movie.  Every survivor death is pretty unbelievable, and that makes it fun.  There is a scene where a zombie punches through a windows, grabs somehow, then pulls there head through the grab, destroying the person's face.  Most of the zombies are ancient monks or something, so they pretty much all have living worms and maggots all over them.  It's a very cool effect, and I don't see anyway they could have faked it...

There is also, of course, the dwarf playing a boy which is so utterly ridiculous it really has to be seen to be believed.  It's horrible.  Then, when he is begging to be breast fed, you know this movie has hit rock bottom and it is still great.  Just wait until a nipple is bit off!  The film was heavily censored in the UK under the 1984 Video Recording Act, as most films on this list were.

Zombie Kill of the Week?

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