Monday, July 2, 2012
Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972)
This co-production between
might be one of the finest and original horror movies of the seventies, but it
took me some time to realize that. The story is a bit confusing and to be
honest, quite odd, but everything falls into place when I finally took the time
to give a new spin. Why is it odd? Well, it refuses to follow the expected
storyline and almost gives is a Psycho-twist, killing of a main character very
early and also an interesting and unexpected lesbian intrigue that I totally
forgot since last time. So what's Tombs of the Blind Dead about? Just continue
to read... Portugal
Virginia (María Elena Arpón) accidentally meets her former classmate Betty (Lone Fleming) at a sea resort and they immediately decides to hook up again after all these years. But
male buddy Roger (César Burner) suggest to Betty that she should follow them to
the countryside for a weekend of relaxation. Virginia gets jealous and when they're on
the train she jumps of and takes shelter in an ancient, abandoned, city. But
what she don't know is that it's curse and that a gang of blood-thirsty zombie
knights comes out from their graves every night to kill and kill again! Virginia
That's the set-up of the movie, but it has a lot more and that makes it so much more interesting. It would be very easy for Amando de Ossorio to just make another Night of the Living Dead clone but he didn't, and we should be grateful for that - he used that concept in the second movie instead! The interesting storyline which is most of the time quite far from the cursed city keeps the movie entertaining and gives us a few goodies here and there until the great final when the living dead knights finally unleashes their power over our heroes and a train!
What's even more interesting is that Tombs of the Blind Dead isn't that gory. It has one very juicy scene, very graphic, but that's about it. The rest is mostly blood coming out from mouths, simulating bites, and off-screen sword-hits. The atmosphere makes it work and it seems more violent and gory than it really is. But make no mistake, this is not a kids movie - this is vintage, high-quality Spanish horror. The knights themselves looks extremely cool and it's so effective to shoot them in slow-motion every time they ride their horses. It certainly brings a spookiness to those scenes and makes us forgive the not-so-good day for night-effects.
It goes into Mario Bava quality a couple of times, in the scene at the morgue and the classic sequence in the mannequin factory. These are also a welcome addition to what makes this movie a lot more fun to watch than letting the story be in the cursed city all the time. Here the colours comes and both morgues and mannequin's is scary by themselves. I heard that de Ossorio really wasn't fond of the Blind Dead movies, which is a pity. Maybe he had other dreams, something more "serious", but could only get financing to these ghost- and horror-stories. But every frame of Tombs of the Blind Dead shows what a fantastic talent he was and he clearly made his mark in movie history.
But... I've always wondered how one of the characters can steal an undead horse? In my imagination the horses is also evil spirits, damned monsters from hell - so how can they allow the character to take control of one of them and ride away?
But fuck that. Like Joachim said: "Do not question the gospel of De Ossorio!". And I guess I need to behave...