Friday, May 12, 2006

Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)

Tombs of the Blind Dead is a 1970s Spanish (or Portuguese) horror movie. Hundreds of years ago the Templar knights sacrificed virgins to drink their blood. The Church finally stopped their satanic rites by hanging all the knights and letting the birds peck their eyeballs out. The church didn't know how heavily into the occult the Templars were, though, because the Templars found a way to come back from the dead!

Hundreds of years later, Virginia and Roger are on vacation in Portugal where they run into Virginia's old school chum, Betty. All three decide to go camping together. On the way, Roger and Betty get awfully flirty, which upsets Virginia who jumps off the train to get away. She walks through the empty landscape to a large fortress that appears to have been abandoned hundreds of years ago. Virginia calls out, but the place is empty and she gets no response. After exploring a bit and finding nothing but an old graveyard, Virginia sets up camp for the night. As she settles into the silence, the Templars begin rising from the graveyard. The dread builds with the slow and ominous way the Templars rise, accompanied by low chanting that gradually gets louder and louder...

I don't have to tell you that Virginia ends up as the Templars' midnight snack (oops, I think I just did!). Meanwhile, Roger and Betty are sipping sangria back at the hotel. Hmmmm, they think, Virginia didn't come back to the hotel, so where could she be? Roger, ever the gracious boyfriend, decides that, hey! maybe I should go look for her! So off he and Betty go, on horseback, to the region that Virginia jumped off the train. When they arrive, they find la policia already there...Virginia, they are told, is dead. She's not the first one either. There has been a string of brutal murders in the area and la policia suspect a gang of smugglers. Roger decides to go give them a talking to and meets Pedro, the head of the gang. To solve the mystery of Virginia's death and to clear the gang's name of the murders, they all decide to have a sleepover at the Templar's fortress to find out what's really going on.

Plenty of hanky panky goes on when they arrive at the castle...that is, until the Templars arise to seek the blood of the living! Turns out the Templars can't see you (hence the name, Tombs of the Blind Dead) but they can hear your heartbeat! The last twenty minutes of the movie is full of nail-biting terror! The end will leave you shocked and giddy! This was an excellent film from director Amando de Ossorio. The Templars' skeletal remains, draped with tattered old robes were terrifying...then even had spooky old horses to ride! Awesome, just plain awesome...

By the way, I watched the American version, which supposedly has many gory scenes cut from it (shucks!), so try and find the Spanish version with English subtitles if you can!

Check it out on Amazon!

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