Friday, 14 November 2014

Euro - Horror Vaction: The Tombs of the Blind Dead (aka La noche del terror ciego) (1972)

The Tombs of the Blind Dead (aka La noche del terror ciego)
Director: Amando de Ossorio
Starring: Cesar Burner, Lone Fleming and Maria Elena Arpon
Running Time: 97 min

  This is the first film in the "Blind Dead" series and it's suppose to be the best one, this and the sequel.  I've only seen the third entry, "The Ghost Galleon", twice, and no matter how hard I try, I just can't get into it.  Hopefully, this is the film that will make me fall in love with the franchise and have a better appreciation for the "Blind Dead".

 At very sunny resort in Spain, Betty runs into a her old school friend, Virginia.  They talk about old times and Betty tells her all about her new and exciting mannequin business.  As they're chatting, Virginia's "friend" Roger joins them and invites Betty to join them at another spa next weekend.  Betty agrees and Virginia insists that she bring a "friend".  Through the magic of film, the next week arrives and much to Virginia's chagrin, Betty arrives "friendless" and claims that he backed out at the last minute and that she just came to tell them that she is not going but Roger will not hear it and puts Betty on the train and they head off to another spa in Spain. Hooray! 
  On train, Roger is getting really chummy with Betty and Virginia leaves in a huff to go get some air.  While standing on the caboose of the train, she remembers how her and Betty made sweet love back when they were in school.  Frustrated with Betty and Roger, Virginia grabs her bags and jumps off the train.  Betty and Roger call to her but she ignores them and keeps walking through the field.  Betty and Roger ask the conductor if they can stop the train to get their friend but he refuses to because he seems really scared of that area.
  So, Virginia wanders off and finds the ruins of a medieval castle and after finding a creepy cemetery, she breaks down a creepy door to find a creepy floor to sleep on.  It must be nighttime because she is getting into her pajamas and ready for bed.  I'm not sure if it's the full moon or it's the jazz music that Virginia is listening to but outside the corpses in the graveyard have come back to life!  These corpses stumble onto their horses and gather together to find out where this jazz music is coming from that has awakened them from their sleep.  Damn kids!  Eventually, the find Virginia and chase her through the ruins and catch her in the same field she was in earlier after jumping the train.  These ghouls then devour/suck the blood from her until she is dead. ewww.
  The next day, Betty and Roger wake up fresh and feeling good at the spa and remember that their friend, Virginia ditched them.  They try and get directions to the area where Virginia jumped but everyone is afraid to tell them about it.  So, they just rent some horses and head back themselves.  They discover the ruins but no Virginia, only her lost shoe.  Fortunately, they're not the only ones looking around because the police are there searching for clues to Virginia's murder.  The police drag Betty and Roger down to the station to identify Virginia's body and question them.  After a mix up with the body, it is Virginia and this leads Betty to put aside her Mannequin business, so she and Roger can find out who killed Virginia.
  Eventually, they find out that the ruins belong to an ancient group of knights/priests who worshiped Satan and loved to torture people and drink their blood.  After a while, people didn't care for this and had the local magistrate hang them all and let the birds eat their eyeballs.  That's why their blind!  There is a lot of folklore in the area that these monks are able come back from the dead because of a deal with Satan. They can still eat people and they're the ones who probably killed Virginia, them or the smugglers who live down the block.  Now, Betty and Roger must confront these undead monk and/or smugglers to find out the truth about about the death of their "friend"!

  This movie was a lot of fun to watch and I really enjoyed it.  Director Amando de Ossorio (Fangs of the Living Dead, Canadian Wilderness) creates a spooky atmosphere for these monks to exist in that doesn't really let up throughout the film.
  Also, I really dug the look of these undead monks.  The make-up team do a fantastic job bring these dead creatures to life and I love the skull hands that seem to pop up through out the film.
  Finally, the ending to this film is soooo awesome and unexpected.  They ending to some films are so trite and when it comes to that moment here, you're expecting one thing but Ossorio switches things up and creates one of the most unforgettable ending ever and really pushes the envelope here. 

  This film is slow and there isn't as many blind dead scenes as I thought there was going to be, which surprised me.  There is a lot of investigating which is interesting, yawn, but then Ossorio throws in two very bizarre horroresque twists that have no explanation.  **SPOILER** For one, Virginia comes back as a zombie and attacks the morgue guy and Betty's assistant.  This is weird because there is no mention anywhere in the film of the "Blind Dead" turning people into zombies and when zombie Virginia dies, no other victims of the "Blind Dead" come back as zombies.  This is kind of neat but makes no sense.  Also, after Betty and Roger meet with the smugglers and convince their leader, Pedro and his cheap girlfriend, Nina to join them in the ruins during the night, Pedro rapes Betty.  Again, it's just unnecessary and puts the movie out of joint.  I don't see how that enhances the story, other than it's horrible that Betty gets raped before she is attacked by the undead.  After seeing that, this film should be at least be a PG-13, cuz PG is too low a rating for something like that.  **ENDSPOILER** 

  This isn't the best horror film I've ever scene but it really does have it's charms and is very enjoyable.  The "Blind Dead' are done up really well, and there is some interesting violence as well as the type of ending that most horror fans will really enjoy.  Worlds better than "The Ghost Galleon" and great film for a day at the horror spa.

1 comment:

  1. Too bad the sequels weren't as good as this first one. There is a rumour that Peter Jackson's used this movie as an inspiration for making the Nazguls ride in slow motion.