Return of the Blind Dead
|Return of the Evil Dead|
Original Spanish film poster
|Directed by||Amando de Ossorio|
|Produced by||Ramón Plana|
|Written by||Amando de Ossorio|
|Music by||Antón García Abril|
|Cinematography||Miguel Fernández Mila|
|Editing by||José Antonio Rojo|
|Distributed by||Blue Underground|
|Running time||91 min|
Return of the Blind Dead, also known as Return of the Evil Dead and El Ataque de los Muertos Sin Ojos (in original Spanish: "Attack of the Blind Dead"), is a 1973 Spanish horror film written and directed by Amando de Ossorio.
The film is the second in Ossorio's Blind Dead series.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (November 2011)|
The film opens with a flashback to 13th century Bouzano, Portugal. A peasant mob has captured the Templar knights and is preparing to burn them for witchcraft and murder. One of the captured knights swears revenge on the village. The villagers (in a break from the first film) burn the knights eyes out with torches before burning them to death.
The film flashes ahead to the present where the village prepares for a festival celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the defeat of the Templars. The village idiot, Murdo, watches the preparations until being attacked and stoned by a pack of children. The children are run off by Moncha and Juan, romantically involved locals.
Back in the town square, firework technician and former military captain, Jack Marlowe, meets the mayor, Duncan, his assistant, Dacosta, and his fiancee/ secretary, Vivian. It is revealed that Jack and Vivian have personal history, establishing a tension between the four characters. Jack and Vivian take a walk, where she reveals that she purposely hired Jack to rekindle their romance. Their walk takes them to the abbey graveyard where the Templars are buried. Their romantic interlude is interrupted by peeping Murdo, who proceeds to warn them of the Templars’ impending return. After Jack and Vivian depart, Murdo murders a young townswoman that he has kidnapped as a blood sacrifice.
As the festival is in full swing the Templars, awakened by Murdo’s sacrifice, rise. At the festival Jack convinces Vivian to leave with him. Their interactions raise the ire of Duncan and Dacosta, who are a keeping a close eye on the pair.
Back at the graveyard, the Templars ride down Murdo (but leave him alive) and head toward town. On their way, they come across Moncha’s house where she is in the midst of a sexual rendezvous with Juan. Juan is killed but Moncha escapes on an undead Templar horse. She stops for help at the rail station, where she persuades Mr. Prades, the rail master, of the danger by revealing her zombie horse. She runs off, as Mr. Prades tries to call the mayor.
While the phone rings in his office, the mayor dispatches Dacosta and his henchmen to assault Jack. The beating is finally interrupted when the call from the station agent gets through. The mayor is skeptical believes the agent to be drunk. He sends Dacosta to the station to take over. The Templars arrive at the station and kill Mr. Prades.
Meanwhile, Jack and Vivian leave in Jack’s car. They encounter the traumatized Moncha in the middle of the road and bring her back to town. Dacosta and another of Duncan’s goons, Beirao, encounter the knights as they approach the train station. They hurry back to the village and warn the mayor of the oncoming horde.
They mayor calls the governor to request help, but his pleas fall on deaf ears as the governor assumes Duncan to be drunk and reprimands him. The governor is the third person (after the station manager, and then the mayor) to ignore warnings of the coming Templars, assuming the messenger to be drunk.
The knights descend on the village and the festival turns into a massacre. Jack organizes Decastro and some of the villagers into a defense force, as Duncan scrambles to gather his valuables and then looks on from the balcony. Eventually Jack and Decastro clear an escape for most of the villagers. Jack, Vivian, Decastro, Monica and Duncan are all left behind. They try to get away in Jack’s car but are overwhelmed by zombies and escape into the church, where two of Duncan’s underlings, Beirao and Amalia, are holed up with their daughter. Once inside the church, the group finds Murdo hiding out.
The survivors begin fortifying the church against the undead siege, but before long, unity begins to erode. After failing once again to convince the governor of their plight, Duncan persuades Beirao to make a break for the car. He is killed in the attempt. Meanwhile, Murdo persuades Moncha to come with him into the tunnels beneath the church to escape. After Beirao’s failed attempt, Duncan tries to escape using Beirao and Amalia’s young daughter as bait. He is killed and the child is left in grave peril among the Templars. Jack and Amalia manage to save her, with Amalia sacrificing her own life in the process.
Down in the tunnels, Murdo is decapitated by the knights as he climbs out to the surface and Moncha is subsequently pulled by her head through the opening and killed.
Back in the church, Dacosta catches Vivian alone. Resigned to a grim fate, he attempts to rape her before the Templars kill him. Jack rescues Vivian, and Dacosta is impaled on a spear in the ensuing scuffle.
As the night wears on, Jack and Vivian decide to chance escaping. They convince Amalia’s daughter that the zombies and her mother’s death were both part of a nightmare and then blindfold her as they attempt to silently creep through the square full of blind d knights. As they slip past the monsters, the little girl peeks out of her blindfold and screams as she sees the zombies surrounding them. However, the Templars make no move, and then crumple to the ground in the breaking morning light. Jack, Vivian and the child walk away from the village as the credits roll.
As in the other three films in the series, Amando de Ossorio wrote, directed and designed the Templar make-up for the film  and composer Anton Garcia Gabril scored it.
Ossorio characterized the financing and production of the film as, “very difficult... Very complicated,” and claimed never to have been paid for the movie.
Amando de Ossorio described the film as having "political aspects" evidenced by the mayor who looks to abandon the town and save himself when the Templars attack.
Author and critic Jamie Russell sees the thematic link between sex and death in the films as "a pessimistic vision in which youth and beauty are always destroyed." Russell goes on to assert that, "sex becomes nothing more than prelude… that brings us ever closer to the final end," and that,"flesh is simply a reminder of our own mortality."
The film is not a direct continuation of the first film; in particular, besides ignoring the ending of the first film, it offers a completely different version of the death of the Knights Templar and their blinding. In this film, the Templars of Bouzano are shown having their eyes gouged out or fused closed by fiery torches. This differs from the legend of Berzano in the first film, which claimed that the Templars' eyes were pecked out by birds as their dead bodies hung from the gallows.
Versions of the Film
There are multiple cuts of the movie. The uncut Spanish language version, El Ataque de los Muertos Sin Ojos, runs over 4 minutes longer than the international English-language cut, Return of the Evil Dead, and contains longer, more explicit gore sequences. The opening of the English cut, contains a truncated version of the Templars' blood sacrifice before the villagers capture and kill the knights. In the Spanish version, the sacrifice flashback occurs when Murdo warns Jack and Vivian about the coming return of the Templars and contains shots of the virgin's heart being removed and eaten by the knights. In the Return of the Evil Dead cut, Murdo does not sacrifice a local girl to incite the Templars resurrection and when he's decapitated later in the film, the shot of his headless, spurting neck is removed. Several names are changed and/ or anglicized in the English dub of the film: the village of Bouzano is Berzano, Decosta is Howard, Amalia's unnamed daughter is Nancy, Moncha is Monica, Beirao is Bert, Mr. Prades is Matthew and Juan is Don.
Both versions are on the Blue Underground DVD release of the film.
Films in the Blind Dead series
- Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
- Return of the Blind Dead (1973)
- The Ghost Galleon (1974)
- Night of the Seagulls (1975)
- Burrell, Nigel. Knights of Terror: The Blind Dead Films of Amando de Ossorio. 2005 Revised Edition. England, UK: midnight media publishing, 2005. Print.
- Alexander, Chris, and Trevor Barley. "Lord of the Blind Dead." Rue Morgue Sept. 2005: 24-29. Print.
- Russell, Jamie. Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema. 4th Edition. England, UK: Fab Press, 2005.