In the seventies Spanish director Amando De Ossorio created The Blind Dead Collection! A great and vastly underrated collection of ‘Zombie’ movies. Blue Underground was great enough to put out a sweet box set (which is what I have here) with all of them in a nice coffin box complete with a thirty eight page book and a DVD about the director. As mentioned these movies were made years and years ago so what would be tired clichés now totally work in here, then again a lot of that is due to the quality of the movie itself, there are still a lot of clichés used correctly today. So without further adieu, here are the films.
Tombs of the Blind Dead:
The starter for the series, made in 1971 it’s a pretty simple story, two friends go on a trip with a male friend, one gets jealous of the other so she does the only smart thing and jumps off the train in the middle of nowhere. Luckily for here where she’s gone is the place where some Knights use to practice things like Satanism and witchcraft. While doing this they discovered the key to being immortal, however the sacrifices they did also angered the towns people so they were put to death. Sensing the intruder on their land, even with the handicap of being dead for hundreds of years, the Knights rise to hunt down this girl. With an awesome creepy knights rising from their graves scene. From there of course the police get involved and her friends go looking for her, this is just more lambs to the slaughter for the mighty Knights. We even get an awesome ending, the likes of which you rarely get to see. This is a pretty slow paced movie and features skeleton knights slowly creeping after people most of the time so if you have ADD you might not be into it but it does have a very very ‘Night of the Living Dead’ feel to it, pretty damn creepy.
Return of the Evil Dead:
In 1973 we see a sequel in our Blind Dead series, now with this it is the 500th anniversary of the Knights execution and legend has it they will return for revenge. Part of this I didn’t like, they immediately changed the legend. Instead of the Knights being hung and crows pecking their eyes out like in the first movie here the knights eyes are burned out by town’s people and the knights are burned. What sense the double burning is I have no idea but the eye thing was done because the knights swore revenge and the towns people figured if they couldn’t see then they couldn’t find the town. While everybody is having fun we’ve got a strange man who is the grounds keeper of where the knights are buried, who happens to have kidnapped a girl and decides to sacrifice her to bring the knights back. (Another change from the original, where they could just get up whenever they wanted.) Luckily they’ve kept the look and movements of the dead knights which I loved from the first one. Granted there is a fair amount of footage of them used from the first movie. Have no fear; the knights seem to have no trouble finding the town even without the aid of eyes and start on a grand slaughter of the townspeople. The last part of the movie basically takes place in an old church, because what’s a zombie movie without the would be survivors held up in a confined place? A lot of the church stuff is, once again, very ‘Night of the Living Dead’. The ending has a somewhat Hitchcock feel to it, which rules. Another great movie in the series, almost as good as the first one.
The Ghost Galleon:
So it’s 1975 and we get another Blind Dead movie. And I’ve really got to commend them for this one, going in a spin-off type direction, it was pretty brave but I’m into it. This time we’re not at the same town as the previous two movies, here we’ve got two ladies in a boat stranded at sea when they come upon the Ghost Galleon. They board the ship and disappear. Some people come looking for them, and well you can guess what happens after that. The ship as it turns out belongs to buddies of the famous knights from the other movies, they were on their way to meet up with the rest of the group when some shit went down and they got condemned to be ghosts forever. This one has almost as good as an ending as the first movie and just like the other two, it rules, it’s somewhere between the first and second movies in terms of greatness.
Night of the Seagulls:
Our fourth installment is from 1976, we’re back on land for this one but it seems to have a stranger feeling than the other movies. The whole town seems to be in on it this time. There’s an out of town couple that comes in and observes the weirdness, for this they’re treated as outcasts. We also get the same stock footage in parts that we’ve seen in the first two movies that was absent from the third. I fucking love movies about creepy towns (I love Dead & Buried), but this is really the fourth best of the four movies. It’s pretty decent, but fails to be great like the other three.