1971, director Amando de Ossorio created what horror fans worldwide consider to be Spain's Night Of The Living Dead. In Ossorio's nightmare vision, a legion of Knights Templar - executed horsemen whose eyes had been pecked out by crows - rise rotting from their graves, hunting only by sound in a quest for human flesh. The Blind Dead saga begins here, as a modern-day tourist trip to the ruins of the Templar monastery unleashes a frenzy of lesbian desire, sexual violence and the unholy onslaught of the eyeless undead!
Spoilers follow ...
- The Blind Dead Collection: Tombs of the Blind Dead review by NP
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You rated this film: 4
After an argument with her boyfriend, Virginia White (María Elena Arpón) flounces off on her own and in no time, deeply regrets her tantrum. Spending a foolhardy night in a crypt with nothing but cigarettes, pyjamas, a book and a transistor radio, it isn’t long before grave stones start shuddering, the earth starts shifting and spindly, twig-like fingers emerge from within their tombs. The Blind Dead, or Templar Knights, move slowly. Very slowly. As they ride through the decaying waste-grounds, even their horses move at half speed. Decaying, rotting and accompanied by Antón García Abril’s magnificently gothic, chanting soundtrack, they are hugely impressive, even now. Except for those flimsy digits, which never look capable of anything, certainly not making a grab for the heroine. And yet, Virginia has a terrible time, because for all their flaws, the Blind Dead are relentless pursuers. Arpón looks stunning at all times however, even in the most precarious situations, often bathed in some completely unconvincing day-for-night shots.
As this is the first of Director Ossario’s ‘Blind Dead’ series, perhaps we should accept this production’s version of the titular villains’ history. Although seemingly contradicted later in the series, here the Templar Knights are killed and hung for their nefarious blood-letting and sacrifices, and their eyes are pecked out by crows.
At 100 minutes this is probably too long, but the running time is filled with incident, including echoes of zombies and vampirism. The remaining heroes, poser Roger (César Burner) and Betty (Lone Fleming) don’t have the presence of Arpón. There are only a certain amount of times you can marvel at how many poses Burner can adopt without removing his hands from his hips – however, there are some gruesome set-pieces and some briefly gory effects (especially at the end). The Knights are used more sparingly than they would be for the three sequels: you really have to wait to see them, which heightens the anticipation (although much of their footage is used more than once). This film, more than any other, makes much of the blindness of the creatures, who only locate their various victims when they scream, which under the circumstances, is an entirely understandable reaction. This remains my favourite entry in the series.