Amando de Ossorio
|Amando de Ossorio|
April 6, 1918|
A Coruña, Galicia, Spain
|Died||January 13, 2001
|Occupation||film director and writer|
Amando de Ossorio (April 6, 1918 – January 13, 2001) was one of the foremost Spanish horror film directors during the European horror film surge in the 1970s, known especially for his "Blind Dead" series.
De Ossorio complained in interviews that right from the start of his "horror film" career, his producers were always tampering with his projects. His first horror film, Malenka, the Vampire's Niece (1969), was written to be a psychological thriller about a young woman who inherits a castle in Europe and is summarily driven crazy by her uncle who tries to convince her that he and she are both vampires. At the end of the film, the uncle's scheme is revealed and explained by her boyfriend to be a hoax. However, after De Ossorio finished the film, the producers decided to make the uncle a real vampire and added a low-budget disintegration scene to the film's finale that completely contradicted the plot.
In 1971, he came up with the concept of "The Blind Dead", a cult of blind, undead Templar Knights who rode skeletal ghost-horses and were attracted to their victims by the sound of their heartbeat. The first film, Tombs of the Blind Dead, was so successful, he immediately embarked on a career as a Euro-horror film director. Three more "Blind Dead" films followed in quick succession.
His 1975 Demon Witch Child (one of the many Exorcist clones) is today regarded as an underrated must-see horror classic by most of his fans. In the late 70's, de Ossorio's name strangely wound up on a couple of x-rated adult films. Unfortunately his last horror film, The Sea Serpent (which had been De Ossorio's dream project for many years) was a disappointment to him due to the low budget special effects, and led him to retire from filmmaking in 1984 at age 66.
He was interviewed for a 2001 documentary about his life entitled Amando de Ossorio: The Last Templar just a short time before he died. During the interview, De Ossorio complained about the pitifully tiny budgets he was always forced to work within, and he lamented that in almost every case, the finished project never came close to what he had envisioned when he first conceived each film. He cited his worst disappointment being the abysmal special effects that appeared at the climax of his Ghost Galleon (1974), wherein the producers actually used a folded piece of cardboard to represent the magnificent Spanish galleon that burns and sinks at the end of the film.
In his final years, he augmented his income by producing scary oil paintings of his Templar Knights and selling them to his fans. He died in 2001 from natural causes at the age of 82. His four "Blind Dead" films are now available in a deluxe DVD box set, and most of his other horror films are also available now on DVD.
Amando De Ossorio filmography
- La Bandera Negra ("The Black Flag"), 1956 (drama made as an independent film project)
- La Tumba del Pistolero ("Grave of the Gunfighter"), 1964 (spaghetti western)
- I Tre del Colorado ("The Three From Colorado"), 1966; aka "Rebels In Canada" (spaghetti western)
- Pasto de Fieras ("Field of Beasts"), 1967 (a children's drama)
- La Niña del Patio ("The Girl in the Yard"), 1967 (comedy)
- Malenka, The Vampire's Niece ("Malenka, El Nipote Del Vampiro"), 1969; released on video as "Fangs of the Living Dead"
- Tombs of the Blind Dead ("La Noche del Terror Ciego" / "Night of the Blind Terror"), aka "The Blind Dead", 1971 (the first of the "Blind Dead" Tetralogy)
- Return of the Blind Dead ("El Ataque de los Muertos Sin Ojos" / "Attack of the Blind Dead"), 1973 released on DVD as Return of the Evil Dead (the second "Blind Dead" film)
- Night of the Sorcerers ("La Noche de los Brujos" / "Night of the Warlocks"), 1973
- The Ghost Galleon ("El Buque Maldito" / "The Cursed Ship"), 1974; released on video as "Horror of the Zombies" (the third "Blind Dead" film)
- The Loreley's Grasp ("Las Garras de Lorelei" / "Claws of the Loreley"), 1974; released on video as "When The Screaming Stops"
- Night of the Seagulls ("La Noche de las Gaviotas"), 1975, released on video as "Night of the Death Cult" or "Don't Go Out At Night" (the fourth & final "Blind Dead" film)
- Demon Witch Child (1975) Original Spanish title: "La Endemoniada" ("The Possessed Girl")
- Las Alimañas ("The Animals"), 1976 (X-Rated)
- Pasión Prohibida ("Forbidden Passion"), 1980 (X-Rated)
- The Sea Serpent ("El Serpiente del Mar"), 1984 (alternate title: "Hydra, Monster from the Deep", aka "Hydra, The Sea Monster")
- Amando de Ossorio at the Internet Movie Database
- Night of the Sorcerers Web Site
- http://www.santoandfriends.com (Filmography of Mexican Horror films)