Thursday, December 31, 2009

In short: Graveyard Disturbance (1987)

After stealing food and assorted stuff from a grocer, a group of horror film young people races away in their airbrushed van o' doom. Somewhere in the country, their vehicle decides that it's time to stop working.

Followed by mysterious animals making mysterious animal noises, our heroes soon find some ruins and decide to spend the night there. Nobody around here is all that bright, so nobody thinks it strange when some sort of medieval tavern (although with a neon sign and a TV) suddenly teleports in and opens. It can certainly only be a good idea to take a bet with the tavern owner with the blinking red eyes to spend the night until the break of day in the local cursed crypt to win a pot of gold.

Our nincompoops are surprised that the crypt is full of ghosts and ghoulies and that it is far more difficult to escape the crypt than it should be. At least the grim reaper will turn out to be not all that he's said to be.

I have to admit that I like most of the films Mario Bava's less talented son Lamberto made. While most of them aren't exactly art, the younger Bava usually manages to make his films fun.

The made-for-TV Graveyard Disturbance is unfortunately barely fun. Blame the script by Bava and enemy of logic Dardano Sacchetti, blame the lack of gore or the lack of much of anything happening for most of the movie, the fact is that there's just not much to be found on screen that has any entertainment value. Sure, the crypts are kinda nice in their cheap cardboard way and the monster make-up isn't too shabby, but those are really the only things which recommend the film.

It's like a Scooby Doo version of Bava's Demons, promising the cheesy but fun heavy metal record cover aesthetic of those films (and the van o'doom), yet only delivering scene after scene of non-characters waddling through the sets, from time to time screeching about the cuddly and harmless monsters they meet.

Thanks to the TV-heritage of the film, there isn't even any sleaze to keep the viewer awake, and the only thing shocking on display are a lot of worms and maggots.

I don't necessarily have a problem with harmless films, but Graveyard Disturbance is just too harmless to hold my interest for any amount of time. On the other hand, how often do I have the opportunity to declare a Lamberto Bava/Dardano Sacchetti cooperation to be harmless?


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