Tombs of the Blind Dead
||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (February 2013)|
|Tombs of the Blind Dead|
Original Spanish film poster
|Directed by||Amando de Ossorio|
|Produced by||José Antonio Pérez Giner,
|Written by||Amando de Ossorio|
|Music by||Antón García Abril|
|Editing by||José Antonio Rojo|
|Distributed by||Blue Underground|
|Running time||101 min|
The film is the first in Ossorio's Blind Dead series.
In it, Ossorio introduces the concept that the Knights Templar (a real-life order that was eventually obliterated after charges of witchcraft) come back from the dead as zombie-like revenants. Their blindness is explained as the result of their eyes having been pecked out by birds after their hanged bodies were left on the gallows.
The story follows a couple who run into an old friend on vacation. The man invites the woman along for a train trip, but his girlfriend (embarrassed over his obvious interest in the other woman - and over the lesbian affair they had in school years ago) jumps off the train and ends up spending the night in the ruins where the Templars are buried. The Templars wake up from the trance and kill her. The rest of the movie follows the efforts by the victim's boyfriend and girlfriend to find out what happened.
The film is notable for the slow, creepy atmosphere it maintains throughout. The zombie Knights Templar are blind and hunt by sound, leading to several sequences where characters are attempting to be as quiet as possible so as not to be found and killed.
Although the Knights are identifiable by their uniforms, they are never called "Templars" in the movie; they are referred to as "Knights from the East."
Ossorio objected to the description of the living dead Templars as "zombies," insisting that they more resembled mummies and that, unlike zombies, the Templars were not mindless corpses.
The Spanish version, La Noche del Terror Ciego, differs from the English version Tombs of the Blind Dead. The English version moves a flashback of the Knights Templar (still alive) torturing a victim to the start of the film as well as removed most of the gore (in particular, the train car massacre sequence removes a sequence where a woman holding her daughter is murdered in front of her child).
The film nearly ended up being severely rewritten for its English language release, to turn it into a "Planet of the Apes" cash-in. The original plan for its US release, was that the film would be completely re-written to be a post-Apocalyptic future where the undead would be deceased intelligent apes similar to the ones seen in Planet of the Apes. This was ultimately aborted however, though location footage scenes from the film were edited together and a narration explaining the premise was commissioned and finished before the decision was made to simply adapt the original script.
The Blue Underground DVD contains both versions of the film (though the original Spanish version is subtitled only) and the unused "Planet of the Apes" opening sequence.
More recently, the Knights Templar appeared in the unofficial, shot-on-video sequel Graveyard of the Dead. In addition, they have briefly been featured in supporting roles in Don't Wake the Dead and Unrated: The Movie, two recent films by German director Andreas Schnaas.
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)