Tombs of the Blind DeadTombs of the Blind Dead

“Tombs of the Blind Dead” (1971), Directed by Amando de Ossorio, Not Rated (equivalent to an R)

Some of the films that I present on this list I will have just watched for the first time before I write about it. This is one such case. Tombs of the Blind Dead is the first in a series of four films (all directed by Amando de Ossorio) that deal with the undead Knights Templar. None of the following films are sequels in the truest sense; each successive film would revise the premise and strengthen it with each succeeding film.

Anywho, Tombs of the Blind Dead is an excellent example of early seventies euro-horror. You discover early on in this film that acting, plotting — just general cohesiveness of the film as a whole is not important. What is important is atmosphere, a sense of dread, sexual tittilation, and gore. The film’s very simple plot breaks down like this: Three friends (one man, two women) meet and begin a train trip together. You soon find out that the two women had a lesbian encounter some years ago when they were (quite hot) schoolgirls. One of the girls apparently still has feelings for the other and, not being able to deal with this, escapes from the train into the middle of nowhere. While walking, she discovers a spooky old castle — a great place to set up camp for the night, no? Haha. She does, and she is promptly attacked by the zombified Knights Templar, who rise from their graves, mount their slow-motion steeds (all of the shots of the Knights riding their horses in slow motion are quite memorable, I must say), and proceed to attack and drink the blood of the helpless woman. Soon thereafter, the two friends she abandoned become concerned for her and begin an expedition to find out just what happened to her…

You could argue that Tombs of the Blind Dead is not a good film. I would agree with you. However, the film has maintained a cult reputation over the years, and I can definately see why.  The film

succeeds in every area where it tries to succeed: atmosphere, nudity, gore. The shadowy cinematography by Pablo Ripoll is noteworthy, as is the overall design and appearance of the Knights themselves: zombified skeletal figures garbed in tattered robes that carry swords and always move in slow motion. Also (and I almost forgot to mention this),

the reason they are the BLIND dead is because crows pecked out their eyes as their executed bodies hung from the gallows; because of this, they hunt by SOUND. A nifty twist, no?

Let’s take a look at the trailer, see if this is something you could warm up to:

As with most of the films on this list, you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy this. The pacing in this film is a bit slow, so this is a great film to put on in the background while carrying on conversation with company or what have you. I’d say it’s worth a look.

I also have the first sequel, Return of the Blind Dead, which I plan to watch soon. I’ll fill you in on that one at a later date.

INTERESTING TRIVIA: In the early seventies, a highly edited version of this film was released in the United States as “Revenge from Planet Ape” in order to cash in on the success of the then-popular Planet of the Apes films. The scenario here is that instead of the Knights Templar, these zombies were once intelligent apes and are seeking revenge on the humans that defeated them!

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Written by Josh

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