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Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981): Soundtrack

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Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981): Soundtrack

Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror‘ is an Italian zombie film written by Peiro Regnoli and directed by legendary exploitation/horror/grindhouse supremo, Andrea Bianchi.

The film is also known by the titles ‘Le Notti del terrore‘, ‘Nights of Terror‘, ‘Zombie 3‘, and ‘The Zombie Dead

The plot centers around a professor who discovers an ancient secret in a crypt that causes the dead to rise from their graves. And its not long before they are making their way to a nearby mansion where a bunch of VIP Italian jet-setters and playboys are spending the weekend.

It’s not a bad entry into the genre, as long as you know what you are getting into – this is low-budget, B-Movie exploitation where the funding, and any creative energy, went into dreaming up ever-more gruesome deaths and shocking scenes. This is a film that has a grown man playing a pre-teen boy, a woman who gets her breast bitten off, and zombies that carry weapons….pretty much anything goes.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack is an odd mix of jazz and weird spaced-out electronics. The styles don’t mix, it’s either one or the other – with the jazz more often being used in the non-threatening scene-setting parts, and the electronic experimentation surfacing when the zombies show up.

The soundtrack was composed by Bert Rexon and Elsio Mancuso, two Italian musicians who had previously worked on creating scores for Spaghetti Westerns.

Bert Rexon is an alternative name for the Italian musician Berto Pisano, who was born in 1928 and first made his living as an accomplished Jazz musician – and the Jazz influence (and skill) can be seen all over this soundtrack. Berto Pisano eventually got into movie soundtracks and went on to score over 50 movies during his career.

Elsio Mancuso came from a similar background and was less prolific in his soundtrack work, he is probably best known for his work with Vasili Kojucharov, and he often appeared under the alias Vasco & Mancuso.

The schizophrenia of the soundtrack (Jazz vs psychedelic electronics) actually suits this movie pretty well and adds to the surreal and unique atmosphere. After all, this is a film where a twenty-something actor is playing a character who is supposed to been a pre-teen boy, so juxtaposition is king, and a soundtrack that veers between Jazz and weird synthesizer numbers seems less weird than it would in any other film.

That said, the Jazz tracks are solid enough, and to my ears at least, they sound stylistically like Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’, you can hear the influence in the opening credits – check out the ‘Main Theme’ from ‘Le Notti del Terrore’ by Berto Pisano & Elsio Mancuso below:


The electronic and synthesizer tracks really shine in this film, and have all the ingredients that fans of the genre salivate for – the electronic part of the score is eerie and features lots of slow building synths, haunting sounds and almost ethereal melodies – it’s oddly beautiful but unsettling at the same time.

Check out an example below:


The soundtrack has never had an official release, but it was available for a very short time on vinyl as a bootleg from ‘Saxon Gregory Productions’.

This unofficial release pulled together 16 tracks of audio and music (note: this contained dialogue and sound effects and wasn’t a pure soundtrack release). It was released with the cover that you can see at the top of the page, and Berto Pisano and Elsio Mancuso went uncredited. The track listing can be seen below:

Track Listing:
1 As Messengers of Death
2 Bedroom Antics of a Housewife
3 Consumed by Fire
4 Decapitating Kathlene
5 Escape to the Monastery
6 Etruscan Monks – Burial Ground
7 Feast of the Monks
8 Graves Shall Open
9 March of the Etruscan Monks
10 Night of Terror
11 Pulled Onto a Broken Window (Screams)
12 The Dead Shall Rise Suite I
13 The Dead Shall Rise Suite II (with Screams)
14 The Earth Will Rumble – Opening Titles
15 Zombie Invasion
16 Zombies Wait

Watch the trailer for ‘Burial Ground: Nights of Terror:


USEFUL LINKS:
More Berto Pisano soundtracks at Amazon.com
More Berto Pisano soundtracks at Amazon.co.uk
More Elsio Mancuso soundtracks at Amazon.com
More Elsio Mancuso soundtracks at Amazon.co.uk
Check out more on the film ‘Burial Ground: Nights of Terror‘ at The Zombie Site

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