Horror. Worldview. Faith.

Tombs of the Blind Dead – Review

Tombs of the Blind Dead – Review

Jan 10, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by Amando de Ossorio, 1971

Tombs of the Blind Dead is a Spanish horror movie directed by the legendary Amando de Ossorio and is part of his famous “Blind Dead” collection of which there are four films:  Tombs of the Blind Dead, Return of the Blind Dead, Ship of Zombies, and Night of the Seagulls.  Created on a shoestring budget with limited to no budget for special effects, Tombs of the Blind Dead cemented Ossorio as a brilliant director with a creative spirit.

The movie is about a group of three friends, two of which are female and have a relationship that goes back several years to college, who discover that a love triangle can literally be a deadly thing.  When Virginia White realizes that the guy she is crushing on has a flirtatious attitude toward her best friend, Betty, she decides to take drastic measures.  During a train ride to a local vacation spot where the three were going to enjoy some relaxation, Virginia suddenly jumps off the train with her sleeping bag.  Betty and Roger watch from the moving train as their friend makes her way through a field toward an old, abandoned monastery.  Unfortunately for Virginia, this is the monastery where 13th century Templars were on a quest to secure eternal life by drinking blood from virgin women and offering them as sacrifices.  Put to death for their actions and hung from trees so that birds could pluck their eyes out, the Templars were nevertheless able to secure their immortality by returning from the grave every night at the ringing of the monastery bells.  From there, the story moves from Virginia’s death at the hands of the undead to the ensuing investigation and increased carnage.

Watching this film was a real treat for several reasons.  First, Ossorio’s creativity shines in the movie as he provides some clever working of the camera I have not seen in any other zombie/undead film.  For example, because the Templars had their eyes plucked out during their punishment, they are only able to move in on their prey by sound.  One victim picks up on this weakness of the zombies and stops dead in her tracks.  The ploy is working and the Templars lose her for a moment.  But then the soundtrack slowly builds on the sound of the poor girl’s heartbeat.  She is scared to death and the racing of her heart is enough for the Templars to once again pick up the scent.  To add punch to the scene, Ossorio moves his camera slowly into the heart area of the victim’s chest as the soundtrack continues to increase in volume.  It was a beautiful scene.  The setting of the monastery is also effective and comes across, to some degree, similar to the look of Dracula’s castle in Hammer’s Horror of Dracula.  Finally, Ossorio does quite well with what limited resources he has to work with.  Although the film is certainly not a gore-fest, it does provide a nice array of gruesome death and torture scenes.

Of course, a film like this has plenty of flaws.  The acting is brutal to watch as is much of the dialogue.  The love triangle plot at the beginning was pretty lame and for some reason they threw in a strange flashback to a lesbian encounter between Virginia and Betty during their college years which was completely pointless.  Some of actions taken by the victims toward the end of the film defy any logic whatsoever.  Add to that a incredibly awful subtitled film, 1/3 of which was not readable because it blended in with the film, and you have plenty to overlook while watching.

But, it really is pretty easy to overlook.  I finished the movie and was impressed with what I had seen.  I look forward to checking out the remaining three films in the series.

Click Here to purchase Tombs of the Blind Dead

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