Tombs of the Blind Dead
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|Tombs of the Blind Dead|
Original Spanish film poster
|Directed by||Amando de Ossorio|
|Written by||Amando de Ossorio|
|Music by||Antón García Abril|
|Edited by||José Antonio Rojo|
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 70s. Ossorio has stated that Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer's Gothic horror legend "El monte de las ánimas" (1862) as well as George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) both influenced the creation of this motion picture.
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.
- Lone Fleming as Betty Turner
- César Burner as Roger Whelan
- María Elena Arpón as Virginia White
- José Thelman as Pedro Candal
- Rufino Inglés as Insp. Oliveira
- Verónica Llimera as Nina
Although the Knights are identifiable by their uniforms, they are never called "Templars" in the film; 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 sex and gore (for instance, the scene depicting the lesbian relationship between Betty and Virginia and the sequence on a train in which the Knights Templar kill a woman 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 film made its DVD debut on Sep 27, 2005 as a Limited Edition which was released by Blue Underground. It was re-released later that year by Anchor Bay Entertainment on Nov 14. Underground Blue would later re-release the film again on Sep 26, 2006, approximately one year after its first DVD release.
Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle says, "Spanish filmmaker de Ossorio earned international fame with this widely popular tale of blind zombie monks, creating a fresh mythology and unforgettable zombies, all set against imposing scenic backgrounds."
Allmovie gave the film a positive review, praising the film's make up effects, chilling atmosphere, and soundtrack. TV Guide awarded the film 2 / 4 stars and called it, "a slow and lackadaisically plotted thirsty-corpse movie distinguished by terrific music and locations, and genuinely eerie zombies". Brett H. from Oh the Horror! gave the film a positive review stating, "Tombs of the Blind Dead is a slow moving Spanish classic that is a must see for all fans of creature features with ample amounts of all the things that make horror great. It’s not perfect and it does have some small inconsistencies (why in the world are the Templars so powerful, yet sometimes swing their swords like goofy puppets?), but you'll be too engulfed in the atmosphere and monsters to worry too much about it".[self-published source?] Jeremy Zoss from Film Threat gave the film a negative review stating, "Like many old works of entertainment form Mexico, Tombs of the Blind Dead is not without its charms. It would be a great film to watch while drunk with a group of friends. However, when looking for a real horror film, the Blind Dead are definitely not worth seeing". Film critic John Kenneth Muir gave the film a mostly positive review, noting that the film lost momentum after the first act but praised the film's suspense, unsettling imagery, and effectiveness of the Templar zombies as "genuinely scary". Adam Tyner of DVD Talk wrote, "Although Tombs of the Blind Dead isn't a particularly gory film, several of its sequences are deeply unsettling".
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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.
In 2015, actress and filmmaker Emma Dark co-directed with Merlyn Roberts an unofficial short film sequel.
- Tyner, Adam (18 September 2005). "The Blind Dead Collection". DVD Talk. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "La Noche del Terror Ciego (1971) - Amando De Ossorio". AllMovie.com. AllMovie. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
- Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 171–173. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
- "La Noche del Terror Ciego (1971) - Review - AllMovie". Allmovie.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "Tombs Of The Blind Dead Review". TV Guide.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- H, Brett. "Horror Reviews - Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)". Oh the Horror.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Zoss, Jeremy. "Film Threat - Tombs Of The Blind Dead". Film Threat.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Muir, John Kenneth (2002). Horror Films of the 1970s. McFarland & Company. pp. 238–240. ISBN 9780786491568.
- "Tombs Of The Blind Dead (Noche del terror ciego) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Island of the Blind Dead Celebrates the Templar Knights!
- Willis, Andy (2013). "Amundo de Ossario's 'Blind Dead' Quartet and the Cultural Politics of Spanish Horror". In Hunt, Leon; Lockyer, Sharon; Williamson, Milly. Screening the Undead: Vampires and Zombies in Film and Television. I.B. Tauris. pp. 233–248. ISBN 9780857735430.