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Image Entertainment presents
Graveyard of Horror (Necrophagus) (1971)

"Today I will leave Binbrook Castle. Today I will leave because I can no longer withstand the silence of death."
- Robert Sharrington (Victor Israel)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: October 10, 2002

Stars: Beatriz Elorrieta, Bill Curran, Catherine Ellison
Other Stars: Frank Brana, John Clark
Director: Miguel Madrid

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, some nudity)
Run Time: 01h:26m:38s
Release Date: July 09, 2002
UPC: 014381146523
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- CB-B- D

DVD Review

The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film describes Graveyard of Horror as "a strange feature best viewed at 5:30A.M. on television." That's actually a fairly accurate summary of this most unusual, moody, and surrealistic Spanish horror film, known to some as Necrophagus, its original title. Interestingly enough, the Psychotronic Encyclopedia, Image's own description of the film, and many other sources have the plot for this film very much incorrect. Regardless, Graveyard of Horror is a thoroughly bizarre piece of work that tells many stories at once, all of them eventually interlinking towards the end. It isn't a horrible film, but it isn't a great one either. Instead, it's one of those incredibly weird B-movies that exists in a realm all its own, where normal standards and criticisms just don't apply. Anyone who has experienced Spanish horror films like, say, the Blind Dead series, might have a general idea of what to expect, but even then, this is some confusing stuff.

Told in a giant flashback, the film comprises the story of the Sharrington family and begins with the young, successful Michael Sharrington returning to his home after a long business trip. He lives in Binbrook Castle in a small, unnamed European village, where his brother, Robert, was a prominent noble before his disappearance. When he returns home, Michael finds out that his wife, Elisabeth, and her unborn child are both dead. When he asks why, Elisabeth's three sisters and mother are strangely silent on the topic. He suspects something horrible happened, but no one is speaking of it. When he tries to see Elisabeth's body, he again is denied any satisfaction. The members of this creepy, snow-ridden, mountain village seem to have turned against him and don't want him to find out the fate of his bride.

Elisabeth's sisters are hiding some strange secret, and the village itself is covering up some kind of deeper evil. As Michael resolves to dig up Elisabeth's grave to put an end to the whole issue, all sorts of odd elements come into play. There's the suspicious "inspector" working with the local doctor on some secret case. There's a pair of hooded, masked figures stalking the night, digging up bodies, and giving corpses to a zombie that lives in an old, ruined castle. There's also the suspicious behavior of Elisabeth's sisters, all of whom wanted Michael for themselves and now accuse each other of having destroyed his marriage on purpose. This tangled web of weird goings-on is all part of some larger, much freakier evil, but what it is remains the ultimate mystery.

If Graveyard of Horror has one thing going for it, it's the reliance on these multiple plotlines to weave an intriguing tale. At times, the film is a little on the humorous side with some questionable dialogue and special effects, but it certainly tries very hard to be disturbing, and it does succeed to a certain extent. There's plenty of atmosphere to go around, as the exterior scenes were all filmed on location in a mountain-top village, with misty hills and real snowfall. The graveyard of the film's title is a real, Gothic cemetery in the middle of a rather lonely, snowy plain; one can feel the chill just looking at it. There's some creepy moments here, there's no question, and it functions best when the viewer knows as little about what is going on as possible. By the end of the movie, even I wasn't sure exactly what the whole thing was about, but that thread of surreality makes Graveyard of Horror stand out from the average, crappy monster B-movie.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The film suffers from some age problems like scratches and such, but the transfer is surprisingly solid in how it handles the detail and color of the print. The footage is full-frame, as the original negative was 1:33:1, and there are no signs of any loss of composition; in fact, the technical handling of the scenes is not bad and quite visual. A few instances of pixelization and compression artifacts show up here and there, but it's confined to the most badly damaged portions, which are pretty much in the first 10-20 minutes.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The mono soundtrack isn't all that impressive, but it is clear and perfectly audible, with no issues of distortion or hard-to-hear dialogue. While the English dub is a bit awkward and out of sync with the characters, I would imagine the original track was probably extremely hard to obtain. The weird sound effects and occasional musical score are all rendered very nicely, though, and the track is given sufficient room to move around, with plenty of low end and high end, so it doesn't actually sound 30-years-old.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring House Of Terror, Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Brides Of Blood, Beast of Blood, Brain of Blood, Blood of the Vampires, The Blood Drinkers
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no feature-related supplements, but there are 7 trailers for other Image horror film presentations, 6 of them with the word 'blood' in the title. The presentation is nothing special, with nice, quick menus, and decent chapter stops. The cover used, however, is a little on the goofy side. It makes the film look like some vintage monster flick, and I seriously doubt it resembles the original art in any way, given that the movie is so slow and moody.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Graveyard of Horror is funny, stylish, overwhelming, and confusing, all at different times. It's worth a look for anyone who enjoys a good, extremely unusual low-budget horror film.

 


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