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Best Eleven Horror Movies About Cemeteries

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Many love graveyards, and cinema for taphophiles has a long-standing of sixty-plus years. The movies in this list are only those that include the theme of the cemetery, graveyard, or mortuary. But there’s a catch. It must feature in the movies as a location intrinsic to the story.

 

11. The Nights Of Terror (Bianchi, 1981)

 

Two families go to visit a professor. He is nowhere to be found. It’s because he was murdered in a crypt in the graveyard of his property. It’s a gruesome giallo horror. It features scenes with strangely attired zombies among the tombs. These scenes manage to be scary even in broad daylight.

The corpses are well done, but not very credible since their garments are made of sackcloth. This fact takes away any serious interest one may have been harboring. Anyhow, what started ominously and vaguely interesting degenerates deeply. It deviates on a weird tangent of Oedipus complex and frustrated incest.

 

10. I Bury The Living (Band, 1958)

A cemetery director discovers something creepy. He has a map of the cemetery which he uses to mark the parcels. Parcels with a black pin are occupied, and the ones with a white pin are bought but empty. By mistake, he places a black pin in the parcel of a living person and the person dies.

This starts to haunt him. He experiments with the pins. The horror overtakes him when his suspicions are proven true.

Not bad for a 1958 movie. The story might not have much depth, but it’s original. Ultimately, the appeal of this movie lies in the aesthetic department. It has nice shots of the cemetery. It’s cool to see the plot develop in locations inside the cemetery itself.

 

9. The House By The Cemetery (Fulci, 1981)

There isn’t too much of the meat of this film going on in a cemetery. But the viewer is confronted with Fulci’s very spooky one in the first five or so minutes of it. It’s Giallo, it’s gore and has one of the most spooky soundtracks I’ve listened to date. Yet, I expected more stuff happening in the movie’s graveyard, though.

 

8. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (Grau, 1974)

Cinematic inventiveness put to the service of zombie narrative. This Italian flick stands out for its original premise. Re-animated dead through an agro-industrial chemical agent. It was released eleven years before the far more popular The Return of The Living Dead.

One of the alternate titles is The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue. For a film supposed to transpire in England, it does look the part.

The cemetery scenes of this movie are beautiful. I dare say, of the most poetic style, I’ve ever seen in a movie using cemeteries in their narratives. Although sparse, they’re good. Which makes them doubly good.

The expositions horror conventions of this film are awesome. One thing is following a formula insipidly as I’ve seen in many horror movies. But in this movie locations are very nicely executed. The hospital scenes of this movie are quite enjoyable for how eldritch is the hospital they used.

 

7. Cemetery Man (Soavi, 1994)

This one plays almost totally in a Cemetery and even has shots of an ossuary! I must admit I expected much more from a movie bearing that name. I expected to be spooky and twisted like Phantasm, but it ended up telling a much more humane story. Spiced with all sort of zombies, nevertheless.

Some love this movie as an example of great Italian cinema. For me, it was just okay. Especially because it’s more than a zombie horror movie. Its depth goes beyond a simple-minded plot. It is one of those movies that let you thinking about it after watching it.

Anyway, what really matters is that this movie was well done. There are gloomy shots of the typical events that happen in cemeteries. This movie is great at provoking suspension of disbelief in those who watch it. I felt as if I was actually one of the mourners in the burial’s scene.

 

6. Poltergeist (Hooper, 1982)

The crammed-with-stuff, New Hollywood style shows in this Tobe Hooper film. It’s ironic how the story is designed. It screams New Hollywood’s pop-culture integration. What I’m talking about?

Heaps of stuff disposed in the set to add richness to the photography. Plus additional things for the audience to watch, other than the acting. In Poltergeist, especially Lucas and Spielberg things. But with sick twists and in the service of horror.

There are also many eerie moments in this staple of horror cinema. It’s going to creep you out. Still, there aren’t a lot of cemetery scenes in this movie. Yet, ultimately there will be.

It’s a muster for the new generations of horror movie fans. It’s a classic, and it always will be. If you haven’t seen it, which I doubt, you definitely should.

 

5. Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (Clark, 1973)

This b movie blew my mind for many reasons. One, because it’s old… back in the early seventies there wasn’t a lot of zombie movies.

Second because it features Lovecraft, and I always will love a movie that does that. Even if, like in this one, he’s a mere theme. A McGuffin of the plot. Also, because it happens in a an island in Florida. How cool is that?

A side note. This movie has the most eldritch, credible and scary scene about a witch I have ever seen in a movie. Overwhelming suspension of disbelief in the witch’s scene in this movie. The uncanny dread, and the aesthetic pleasure I felt were great. One of the best horror moments in my life.

Going back to the subject of the cemetery on itself, there is a lot of time, I dare say most of the movie, going on in one. As I see it, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is a mystical successor to Night Of The Living Dead.

 

4. The Return Of The Living Dead (O’Banon, 1985)

A new twist to the approach of a zombifying chemical agent. This time from the military-industrial complex. Not much to say besides that.

A great percentage of the story’s time ensues, nocturnally, in a cemetery. What is worthy of note, and makes this movie a muster is the approach taken by O’Banon of using punk characters. I think it was a great idea.

Consider the great obsession of punk culture with dark things. Moreover, punk has a seriously death-oriented infatuation with works of horror.

Those sensibilities are overtly expressed by sub-branches of punk rock. Like horror punk and death-rock music. It does make a lot of sense.

 

3. The Night Of The Living Dead (Romero, 1968)

A new twist to the approach of a zombifying chemical agent. This time from the military-industrial complex. Not much to say besides that.

A great percentage of the story’s time ensues, nocturnally, in a cemetery. What is worthy of note, and makes this movie a muster is the approach taken by O’Banon of using punk characters. I think it was a great idea. Consider for a moment the great obsession of punk culture with dark things. Punk rock culture has a seriously death-oriented infatuation with works of horror.

Those sensibilities are overtly expressed by sub-branches of punk. Like horror punk and death-rock music. So it does make a lot of sense.

 

2. Nightbreed (Barker, 1990)

Know anything cooler than a gate to hell hidden inside an old and spooky Canadian cemetery?

Well unless you are a real weirdo at heart, but still in the closet of repressed eldritch feelings, not much. In Nightbreed the scenes that show the cemetery are great. There are even frantic action scenes in it.

What definitely owns of Nightbreed are the different monstrous characters. In the real world and for one just knowing a tad of occultism this is inter-planar stuff. The characters are truly the kind of being one expects to meet in a place like a cemetery. Otherness that one could see in the astral spectrum of that kind of taboo places. If gifted with that psychic skill.

Roughly the story of an anti-hero that gets away with a happy and heroic demise. The main character seems to be destined to join The Nightbreed. It’s a community of rejects living in demoniac forms.

A theme that’s explored later with the protagonist’s metamorphosis. These degraded non-human forms are a far-cry of their former selves. All this goes on under the ground, in a rustic and bizarre city called Midian.

The sub-plot is a thing to be seen too. The support character, a girl, is pursued by a deranged shrink played by Cronenberg himself.

 

1. Phantasm (Coscarelli, 1979)

This saga gets the first place. It does because there isn’t any other like it. Phantasm weaves the graveyard into the narrative as a pivotal element of it.

To begin with, The Tall Man, the antagonist, is a sort of juggernaut soul vampire that sucks entire towns dry. Of the towns’s dead first, and then of their living. He owns Morningside Cemetery and lives in the mortuary where much of the movie transpires.

If there is anything I regret relating to Phantasm, is having discovered it when I was twenty. Fresh out of adolescence. I wish I would have had the good luck of knowing it in early adolescence. My outlook on life would have been way creepier from then on.

I felt something nonsensical back then in the late nineties when I watched one of the saga for the first time. I thought that it felt like a video game.

Don Coscarelli goes to unexpected edges of invention to add to the already sophisticate and aesthetically-overdosing overall story. That is a story of degrading and alien evil. And the characters that live it are larger-than-life bad-asses. 

Other Great Horror Movies

These have brief shots in cemeteries

  1. The Dark Half (George Romero, 1993)
  2. Interview With The Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994)
  3. Nekromantik (Jorg Buttgereit, 1987)
  4. The Other (Robert Mulligan, 1972)
  5. Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert, 1989)
  6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

 

© 2018 Wensley Evolo
Photo Credit: 826 PARANORMAL

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