Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)

Tombs of the Blind Dead
(La Noche del Terror Ciego)

Written & Directed by Amando de Ossorio

Lone Fleming...Betty
César Burner...Roger
María Elena Arpón...Virginia

When Virginia, a gorgeous brunette with legs that won't quit, separates herself from her traveling companions, she stumbles across a decrepit and macabre old compound with cobwebs and creaking doors. Quite the little adventurer, she decides to set up camp for the night. She passes the evening reading by the campfire, smoking cigarettes and listening to hot jazz on her portable radio--a real beat chick, this one--completely oblivious to the fact that she is treading upon the titular tombs...THE TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD!

The Blind Dead are of the restless sort, and so they quite quickly rise from their "final" repose, clad in the traditional garb of the Knights Templar that they once were. Hell, some of them are even on horseback! It's no Zombie Vs. Shark moment, but still pretty damned good. And before you know it, it's they're coming to get you, Virginia. Very slowly, granted, but they're coming just the same.


When her former companions, man-friend Roger and long-lost possibly-lesbian lover Betty come looking for Virginia, they discover the worst. Not trusting the local police to handle the job, Roger and Betty decide to investigate on their own. Just for the record, not a very good idea.

Blind zombies. Knights Templar. Italy. When I first heard about this film, I expected some overblown, over-long and possibly pretentious arthouse epic. So I was quite surprised to discover that this was a simple, all-too-short, and mostly intellect-free movie. Sure, the Knights Templar angle required a modicum of understanding, but it was explained quite succinctly within the film, and really had very little to do with the admittedly slim plot.

That's not to say that I didn't like it. In fact, I found it quite enjoyable. The scoring was good, the chanting was creepy, and although the deaths could have been more graphic, the scene in the mannequin factory was simultaneously beautiful and disturbing...and if that's not turning the genre into art, then I don't know what is. The fact that the zombies hunt relying on their sense of hearing was quite novel, leading to a chilling chase scene finale.



Although I still don't know where they found those horses!

But the entire time I was watching this movie, I couldn't help thinking, This really seems like it should be...sleazier! And, well, I was right. It should have been sleazier. But that's not the fault of the filmmakers. It was the fault of this here reviewer.

You see, I was feeling rather lethargic and exhausted when I popped this DVD into my player, and so I chose the English-language version of the film as opposed to the Italian-language original version. There was nothing on the menu notating that there were any differences between the two, aside from the obvious language track. But, upon finishing the movie, a quick check of running times demonstrated that the Italian version was a good fifteen minutes longer.

Cursing the gods (Moloch, Cthulu, whoever...), I plopped ass back on the couch and settled down for a little taste of Italy. Those 15 minutes missing from the English version?

CRITICAL!

We're talking a quarter of an hour of lesbianism (no longer just implied), nudity, bloodshed, gore, cannibalism, sex, rape, and child killing, with a different order of events and drastically different (and improved) dialogue.

So don't make the same mistake I did. If you're gonna do, do it right.

View the trailer below!


1971
Not Rated
86 Minutes/101 Minutes
Color
Italy
Italian (optional bastardized English version)

Tombs of the Blind Dead
is currently ranked #67,925 in DVDs at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!


That'sa one spicy meatball!
--J/Metro

1 comment:

  1. Im a huge fan of the original film, thought the sequel was a drag and a complete retread and havent seen the other two yet, great film and very erie though!

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