February 9, 2011

The BLIND DEAD Quadrilogy


Original Title:
La noche del terror ciego

Alternate Titles:
The Blind Dead / Night Of The Blind Dead / Crypt Of The Blind Dead / Revenge From Planet Ape

German Title:
Die Nacht der reitenden Leichen

Spain / Portugal, 1971
Director: Amando de Ossorio


Part 1 of Amando de Ossorio's "Blind Dead" quadrilogy: an absolutely terrific and unique euro-horror-classic, and definitely one of the 70s' most interesting takes on the zombie genre - though it's definitely not your typical zombie gorefest, but rather an incredibly atmospheric suspense-movie about a couple of undead templars who rise from their graves to seek revenge.
I admit that the acting is pretty so-so and the story/script is fairly mediocre - however, these flaws totally don't matter because of 4 things that make this film as great as it is:

~ The Blind Dead: a whole load of undead templars on undead horses. They look stunningly creepy, mainly because of their rotten faces and impressive slow-motion movements.
~ The soundtrack: a haunting score consisting of sinister piano music, weird noises and awesome monk choirs.
~ The settings: wonderfully chosen desert locations and a beautiful abandoned town:
~ The atmosphere: it's hard to find a movie which is so intensely atmospheric as this one. There are many slow scenes where not much happens - still, it never gets boring because the atmosphere seems to hypnotize you.

Furthermore I have to make mention of 4 absolutely unforgettable scenes: the first rising of the dead, the thrilling scene in the morgue, the even more thrilling scene in the mannequin manufacture and the amazing ending.


Original Title:
El ataque de los muertos sin ojos

Alternate Titles:
Return Of The Evil Dead

German Title:
Die Rückkehr der reitenden Leichen

Spain, 1973
Director: Amando de Ossorio


A disappointing quasi-sequel, nowhere near as great as "Tombs...".
The story is lame and quite unoriginal (incl. a few pointless "Night Of The Living Dead" elements), many of the characters are horribly annoying (f.e. the mayor and the local idiot) and there's far too little suspense and atmosphere in here. Plus: I totally hate it that they unnecessarily re-used many scenes from the first part, and I also hate all the mildly funny dialogue because it's just completely out of place.
Still, it's at least quite entertaining: the templars look even creepier than in part 1 and they also appear more often throughout the movie. The brutal and gory flashbacks are just terrific; settings, soundtrack and cinematography are again just brilliant.
Remarkable scenes: the opening, the fabulous scene with the little girl walking past the waiting undead and the excellent and super-thrilling climax.


Original Title:
El buque maldito

Alternate Titles:
Ship Of Zombies / Zombie Flesh Eater / Ship Of Zombies: The Blind Dead III / Horror Of The Zombies / Ghost Ships Of The Blind Dead

German Titles:
Das Geisterschiff der schwimmenden Leichen / Das Geisterschiff der reitenden Leichen

Spain, 1974
Director: Amando de Ossorio


"Ghost Galleon" is not the weakest but undoubtedly the silliest entry in the 'Blind Dead' series. It's silly, lame and extremely cheap-looking - and except for a bunch of undead kinda-templars, it has nothing to do with its predecessors.
The story is terribly stupid and makes not much sense, the script is badly written and huge amounts of the dialogue are so horribly bad, I wanted to turn down the volume more than once. The acting is also pretty below-average, it's hardly ever tense or suspenseful and the galleon (obviously a model) looks very unrealistic.
At least, the undead look great as always, the soundtrack sounds great as always, there's some decent gore and all the atmospheric fog-scenes gave me a neat John-Carpenter-feeling.


Original Title:
La noche de las gaviotas

Alternate Titles:
The Night Of The Sea Gulls / Don't Go Out At Night / Night Of The Blood Cult / Night Of The Death Cult / Terror Beach

German Titles:
Das Blutgericht der reitenden Leichen / The Bloodfeast Of The Blind Dead

Spain, 1975
Director: Amando de Ossorio


The final part in the 'Blind Dead' saga is definitely the weakest. Again, it has nearly nothing to do with its predecessors, again, de Ossorio's fails to create any suspense or tension, again, there are scenes re-used from part 1. The story is implausible and quite ridiculous, the acting is mediocre and the soundtrack just bored me. Hell, even the templar's appearances are boring and unspectacular.
At least, there are once again well-chosen settings and locations, the camera work is neat and there are also a few great gore scenes - but apart from that, it's just forgettable.

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