The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1972) ***

Few of the silver screen’s monsters have been creepier than The Blind Dead. Dressed in ratty cloaks and decayed to the point of skeletal remains, these undead, sightless medieval zombie Templar Knights hunt their prey by sound, though even if you remain perfectly silent, they will still hear your heart beating and come after you anyway! Their popularity led to three sequels and a deserved cult following.

This is their first and best movie. It’s about Virginia and Elisabeth, two friends (and former lovers) who along with Virginia’s boyfriend Roger decide to take a trip to the country on a train. When Roger only has eyes for Elisabeth, the jealous Virginia jumps off the train at the mysterious, abandoned town of Berzano and spends the night in a decrepit church. That night, The Blind Dead rise from their graves and kill her by eating her flesh. Of course, since they bit her, she becomes a zombie too and attacks the coroner. Roger and Elisabeth start investigating Virginia’s murder and are puzzled when the locals keep mum on the subject of Berzano. One crazy old doctor tells them the secret of the town and of The Blind Dead. Through the miracle of flashback we get to see the Knights in their 13th century heyday sacrificing a virgin and drinking her blood during a satanic mass. Then we are told the Knights were captured, tried and publicly hung where crows pecked out their eyeballs. Roger and Elisabeth, along with a drunken smuggler and his whore stupidly camp out in the graveyard to see if the legend is true.

The last twenty minutes are pretty great as the scary, slow moving Knights picks the cast off one by one and massacre a trainload of people (including a juicy scene where a Knight takes a bite out of a mother holding her son as the blood splatters on the poor kid’s face). Director Amando de Ossorio favors suspense over gore, but unfortunately lets the pace drag here and there that prevents the film from really taking off. He also puts in one too many slow mo Knights on horseback scenes for my taste. These are minor quibbles however, and shouldn’t stop you from checking it out.

This was re-released under several titles (as were the sequels), the funniest being Revenge from Planet Ape, where a silly prologue (along with false advertising) made the audience think it was a Planet of the Apes sequel! Whoever the marketing genius behind that one deserves an award of some kind.

AKA: The Blind Dead. AKA: Crypt of the Blind Dead. AKA: Night of the Blind Dead. AKA: Mark of the Devil 4. AKA: Revenge from Planet Ape.
Tags: blind dead series, horror, t, zombie
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