Friday, March 4, 2016

Movie Review: Tombs of the Blind Dead

Tombs of the Blind Dead (La noche del terror ciego) a.k.a The Night of the Blind Terror a.k.a Tombs of the Evil Dead a.k.a Crypt of the Blind Dead a.k.a Night of the Blind Dead a.k.a Tombs of the Blind Zombies a.k.a Mark of the Devil Part V: Night of the Blind Terror a.k.a Mark of the Devil, Part 4: Tombs of the Blind Dead a.k.a Revenge from Planet Ape 
Interfilme, Plata Films S.A., Spain, Portugal, 1972.
Tombs of the Blind Dead title
Betty (Lone Fleming) meets her old friend Virginia (María Elena Arpón). Virginia's friend Roger (César Burner) suggests a countryside weekend. Jealous Virginia does not seem to be particularly happy about the plan. At school the girls had a brief lesbian romance. The train trip brings out painful memories and Virginia decides to take a hike near a ruined Berzano village. 
María Elena Arpón, Lone Fleming and César Burner
Virginia, Betty and Roger
María Elena Arpón
Virginia explores the ruins
Little do they know that terrible fate awaits those who trespass the Tombs of the Blind Dead. Virginia makes herself cozy in the ruined monastery. At night the Blind Dead rise from their graves. Roger and Betty try to find Virginia but she is already murdered by the Blind Dead.
The Riding Dead
Blind Dead
You look a bit dusty
Betty's assistant Nina (Verónica Llimerá) and Professor Candal (Francisco Sanz) tell them the story of the Templar Knights. Centuries ago devil worshipping Templars sacrificed virgins to gain immortality. They were executed for their crimes and the crows ate their eyes. Because they are blind they navigate by sounds. The police do not believe the Professor but blame smugglers. Roger and Betty decide to contact the smugglers to find out the truth. 
Verónica Llimerá
The Templars when they were living
María Silva and José Thelman
Smugglers Maria (María Silva) and Pedro (José Thelman)
This is very atmospheric horror with creepy music and cool revenants in filthy cloaks. Filming locations in Pelayos de la Presa, monastery of El Cercon and monastery of Santa Maria la Real de Valdeiglesias near Madrid look great. For a horror film there is more than usual amount of telenovela drama. It is not perfect as it is slow as a zombie and seems to recycle some film material about the Blind Dead rising from the grave. There is also some illogical action by Betty and Roger, would they really trust the smugglers enough to spend a night with them in the ruins? Still the nightmarish atmosphere overcomes the weaknesses. The girls are pretty and María Elena Arpón looks a lot like one Finnish meteorologist.

Watching the Blind Dead ride their undead horses in slow motion makes one wonder if Peter Jackson took some inspiration for the depiction of Ringwraiths in "LotR." To exploit the "Planet of the Apes" hype this film was also released in drive-in theatres as "Revenge from Planet Ape" with narration explaining that after humans won the war against apes, some undead apes returned with a vengeance. 
Part of The 2016 Movie Watching Challenge (#45. Horror movie with a poster that you think is cool) 

Rating: Very good

Starring: Lone Fleming, César Burner, María Elena Arpón (as Helen Harp), José Thelman (as Joseph Thelman), Rufino Inglés, Verónica Llimerá, Simón Arriaga, Francisco Sanz, Juan Cortés, Andrés Isbert, Antonio Orengo, José Camoiras, María Silva, Britt Nichols, Pedro Sempson 
Director: Amando de Ossorio


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