Tombs of the Blind Dead
|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|
|Edited by||José Antonio Rojo|
|Distributed by||Blue Underground|
|Running time||101 min|
Tombs of the Blind Dead is a 1971 Spanish horror film written and directed by Amando de Ossorio. Its original Spanish title is La noche del terror ciego, which means "The Night of the Blind Terror". The film is the first in Ossorio's Blind Dead series, and its success helped kickstart the Spanish horror film boom of the early Seventies.
The Knights Templar (a fictionalized version of a real-life order that was dissolved in the 14th century following charges of witchcraft) and heresy come back from the dead as revenants. The reanimated corpses are blind, because their eyes were pecked out by birds while their hanged bodies rotted on the gallows.
A young couple run into an old friend on vacation. The man invites the woman along for a train journey, but his girlfriend (argues with him, jumps off the train and spends the night in the ruins of an abandoned monastery where the Templars are buried. The Templars rise from their tombs and kill her. The rest of the movie follows the efforts of the victim's boyfriend to find out what happened to her. He returns to the monastery with some friends where they are forced to confront the Blind Dead creatures.
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 revenant Templars as "zombies", insisting that they more resembled mummies who feed like vampires 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. In the English version, a flashback of the living Knights Templar torturing a victim is moved to the beginning of the film, and most of the gore (in particular, a sequence on a train in which a woman is murdered in front of her child) is removed.
Distributors planned to severely re-edit the film for its English language release and add a new opening scene to cash in on the success of the Planet of the Apes film series. The plan was to replace the film's original setting with a post-Apocalyptic future in which the undead were deceased intelligent apes, similar to the ones seen in Planet of the Apes. Rather than doing a reshoot, location footage from the film was edited together and a narration track explaining the premise was produced as an introduction. The revised film title is Revenge from Planet Ape. This revised version removed the flashback sequences showing the sadistic Templars torturing and drinking the blood of a woman to gain eternal life.
The Blue Underground DVD contains both versions of the film (the original Spanish version is subtitled but not dubbed) and the "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.
The Finnish band Hooded Menace base their songs around the film series and various other horror movies.
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)