Tombs of the Blind Dead: Films of my Youth

blinddeadposter

I write best when I write about what is on my mind.   I write about geek culture because geek concepts are always scurrying around in the back of my head.  There are other topics too, but this is the most fun to share.  Whenever I have to search around for what to write about the easiest thing for me to do is to stop and take a look at what my brain is focused on.  If I am interested or obsessed about something chances are someone else is too.

You may already know I am a horror movie/B-movie geek.  I have watched more low budget movies than most people have watched movies.  When I was about eleven years old I was sleeping over a friends house, this was always a challenge because I am an insomniac and being in a strange place made it worse. 2AM rolled around and everyone else was asleep, I was not.  Since we were in the living room I popped on a UHF channel (probably 68 for you old school new englanders) and a poorly dubbed and heavily edited film came on that scared me out of my wits.  I never forgot the imagery or the pacing, that fear I felt stuck with me for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until I was an adult and the internet was in full swing that I figured out what the movie was called.  Tombs of the Blind Dead in English or La Noche del Terror Ciego in Spanish.  The movie features some of the most unusual horror movie monsters of the time.  Long deceased, undead, flesh eating  Templar Knights who cursed for their blood rituals rose from the grave to seek revenge for their execution at the hands of the local townsfolk.

The movie probably has one jump scare and what makes it somewhat unique is the incredibly slow pacing.  This was deliberate on the part of director Amando de Ossorio and it creates a persistent dread throughout.

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I realize that nostalgia is playing a huge part here and the movie was significantly more frightening to me as an eleven year old than it would be now as I am approaching forty.  You may see the trailer and wonder what all the fuss is about, but if you look through the duct tape and ten dollar special effects then you may find something worthwhile.

The movie was released in 1971.  Filmed in Portugal, but as a Spanish production there are hints of it being in the end of the Spanish Franco era.  Government officials are always depicted as being decadent, spouting morality while living a life of corruption.  There is at least one morally problematic scene that would not pass muster today.  It was during a time when exploitation films pushed such things to pull in an audience, I generally cringe or fast forward through it.  I won’t describe it here, but if you care enough to see the film you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Despite its flaws I watch this film ever year.  It spawned three sequels of mediocre quality, but since I am obsessive I generally watch them anyway.  I made my way through three the first three movies before I realized it was 1AM.

I can’t guarantee that you will love it, but I can promise it will be a unique experience.

Warning, the following trailer is a bit NSFW (not safe for work) due to campy fake blood, lots of screaming and people in distress.  A lot less violence than you would see on prime time network television, but I thought I should say something.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWyTUXUYQ0Q]