Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Halloween Horrors-Tombs of the Blind Dead

As it's October, I thought I'd try and cover a topic I think I am well versed in...Horror Movies. I'm going to talk about some of my favorites , and they may be obscure, but I think they are important, or at least entertaining.

First up is Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971), directed by Amando de Ossorio. It's a Spanish film, steeped in elements of exploitation and creepy atmosphere. Short and sweet, this film has it all. A gal and her boyfriend take a train, and meet a female school aquiantance of the gal's. It turns out the two ladies had an, umm, experience at school, and now the boyfriend takes a liking to the gal's pal. On a train ride, in a fit of jealousy( who exactly she's jealous of is up in the air, I guess), she hops off the train at a place the locals won't go to( always a good sign to stay the Hell away). She stays the night at some creepy old ruins. Turns out that she's staying at the place where the Templars are buried...the Templars being an order of knights in the Crusades that ended up worshipping the Devil and having their eyes plucked out for it. Their pact with the Devil, however, allows them to rise up from their graves to hunt the living to drink their blood, tracking their prey by sound, since, well, they're blind. Of course, things go bad for, well, everyone, which is what I like to see in a horror a 70's film, you never know if anyone will make it out alive, and Tombs of the Blind Dead is no exception.

This is one of my favorite films. It's got that Technicolor look to it, and the locations are appropriately creepy. The Templars look cool, all rotted and nasty-looking. The scenes of them riding their spectral horses in slow-motion are very wonders if Peter Jackson saw these films, because the scenes with the mounted Ringwriaths echo those of the Templars riding across the countryside. Of course, the acting is not always top-notch, but the locations, make-up, and overall atmosphere more than make up for it.

For those of an historical bent, the Templars actually existed. They were the first banking institution in the world, and the Church found them guilty of heresy and Devil-worship...although it's been thought that they were just jealous of them having more $$$ than the Church. They were all executed, and their supposed mass of loot was never found...I was hoping to find it when I was burying a Time Warner cable in my yard the other day, but no such luck.

The Templars would go on to star in three more films, though none of them were actually direct sequels. I recommend them all, and the films are available in a fine DVD box set, appropriately in a coffin-shaped box.

If you're looking for fun, creepy, bloody, atmospheric , exploitative horror, you can do no better than the Blind Dead collection.


Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely looks gory. I've never even heard of this film. Must see it.

Lana Gramlich said...

Ironically the Templars were killed on my birthday all those years ago...

Heff said...

I see naked chicks ! Love the packaging too.

Scott said...

Charles, I definately rccomend the Blind Dead series. It is fairly gory.

Lana, that's a weird coincidence.

Heff, yes , being a European 70's horror film, there's naked chicks!

jodi said...

The last "horror" film I saw was "Jaws". Pretty wimpy, huh? I have never been afraid of the dark or staying home alone, but even a gory scene can give me restless sleep.

Scott said...

Jodi, uh, yeah, that is pretty wimpy. :) That's OK, though, not everyone can(or should) be as twisted as I am and enjoy this kind of film.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I saw the first 'Blind Dead' movie via Elvira's syndicated movie show.

I suppose I should watch it uncut sometime.

I do remember thinking it was a fairly original concept (at the time.)

Scott said...

Paul, I hought it was a fairly original "undead" kind of film. I also liked the fact that the while the series were all about the Templars, they weren't direct sequels-some had different aspects of the Templar curse, such as in one film they were killed by sunlight, while in others light didn't affect them at all, and in another they were on a haunted ship, and in another they worshipped a Lovecraftian idol that granted them their eternal unlife.

And yes, get the uncut versions...Blue Underground's versions are uncut.