TOMBS OF THE
BLIND DEAD

AKA: The Blind Dead, La Noche del Terror Ciego, Night of the Blind Dead,
A Noite do Terror Cego, La Noche de la Muerta Ciega, Crypt of the Blind Dead

Tombs of the Blind DeadArguably the finest horror movies to have emerged from Spain in the last 3 decades were director Amando DeOssorio's "Blind Dead" series, in which he took modern day zombie lore and mixed in elements of medieval sword and sorcery to potently good effect.

Filmed in Spanish, with English sub-titles, the film starts off in Lisbon, where three colleagues, Virginia (Elena Arpon), her boyfriend Roger (Cesar Burner), and best friend Betty (Lone Fleming), are planning to go on a camping trip together. However, whilst on the train Virginia has a bust up with her boyfriend, and so jumps off mid-journey in the hope of hiking back to town.

As night falls, she decides to rest up inside the ruins of an old monastery. But this proves not to be  such a good idea, as the area is actually the burial ground of the evil Templar Knights, who were supposedly executed in the 13th century for practising witchcraft and committing human sacrifice. Local legend has it that they still haunt the area at night, looking for fresh blood to sustain their damned existence, and sure enough, as darkness falls something begins to stir in the old cemetery.

Roger and Betty are alarmed to hear of their friends death the next day, and with the police not making any headway in their investigations, the two friends decide to camp out at the old monastery for themselves to see if  anybody is still frequenting the place. They enlist the help of small time smuggler named Carlos, who wants to find out who is encroaching on his turf. But as night falls again, they soon find out that the local legends about the undead Templar's are indeed true, and a bloody battle ensues.

Overall this is a very interesting and innovative feature, showing the skeletal knights galloping about on spectral steeds in ghostly slow motion. The other interesting part about these medieval zombies is that they have no eyes, and so have to hunt their victims by sound alone (screaming is not advisable). The film is not overdly gory, but is certainly very atmospheric and creepy, particularly the scenes showing the Templars rising from their graves.

My only gripe is that there was far too much time wasted with the main characters dialogue, and not enough time given to showing the ghostly Templars, and many horror fans may find this film a touch slow in places. However, the final scenes leading up to the train massacre at the end more than makes up for the slower moments and I would strongly suggest that Eurohorror and zombie fans seek this film out.

Overall Marks : 6/10

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Tombs of the Blind Dead spawned three sequels, all of which directed by Amando DeOssorio. The film was followed by "Return of the Evil Dead", "Horror of the Zombies" and "Night of the Seagulls".

  • The release of this film helped director DeOssorio become a major horror director during the 70's. Indeed, out of the 20 or so movies he directed during his 40 year career, 10 of these were between 71-76. He sadly died in 2001 at the age of 83.

  • The scenes showing the horses galloping in slow motion were believed to have been inspired by a scene from the 1970 film "Werewolf's Shadow" by Leon Klimovsky

  • The titular "Blind Dead" aren't actually referred to as being Templar Knights in the original Spanish language version. Instead they are called "los Guerreros de Oriente", which translates as "Warriors from the Orient".

  • The original UK video release by Redemption films was cut by 1Min.51s by the BBFC. This trimmed the flashback sacrificial scene, removing the sword cuts to the woman's breasts and subsequent scenes of the Knights drinking blood from the breast wounds, and also substantially reduced the graveyard rape scene. An uncut video was released in Holland though.

  • The current UK DVD from Anchor Bay is more complete, but misses a couple of brief cuts totalling 16s, as the BBFC still didn't take too kindly to the Templars drinking blood from the sacrificial maiden's breast.

  • The uncut version is available on US DVD from Blue Underground.

  • There is a dubbed English version of this film, which was released to US Drive-In theatres, entitled "The Blind Dead". However, this is considerably shorter than the original Spanish language version as it cut out most of the gore to secure an "R" rating. It also missed out the rape scene in the graveyard and moved a flashback scene, were a young maiden is sacrificed, to the start of the film. This version was included as an extra on the US DVD by Blue Underground.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

 
Buy Online.

Buy the UK DVD (slightly cut).

Buy the UK DVD box set (4 films).

Buy it at Amazon.Com

Buy the US DVD box set (UNCUT 4 films).

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Other films in the series.

 

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