Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972) – Amando de Ossorio

The Spanish/Portuguese horror classic Tombs of the Blind Dead finally found its way into my viewing schedule. It was a fun and interesting watch, with some curious things going on with the treatment of female characters, but the dead Templar zombies are pretty cool.

Virginia (Maria Elana Apron) – arguably the most attractive actor in the entire film, so of course, she’s the first to go – finds herself caught up in what could become a romantic triangle. She is planning a weekend away with her ‘friend’ Roger (Cesar Burner) when she bumps into her old schoolmate, Bette (Lone Fleming), who she had a bit of a sapphic relationship with.

When there’s a bit of attraction between Roger and Bette on the train journey to their weekend getaway, Virginia is alternately jealous and angry until she jumps off the train in a bit of forbidden landscape, a deserted medieval town, Berzano.

She spends the night in Berzano, and meets the satanic Templars who rise from their graves each night to hunt for blood, but because the crows ate their eyes when they were strung up for their crimes, they hunt now by sound. So, sadly, a screaming woman is an easy target, and Virginia becomes a zombie as well.

Bette and Roger go looking for Virginia and find bits and pieces of her belongings before encountering a pair of cops who help them with some leads in figuring out what is going on.

They head back to Berzano with a smuggler, Pedro (Jose Thelman) and his moll, Nina (Veronica Llimera) to finally figure out what is going on, and while Nina attempts to seduce Roger, Pedro rapes Bette, and then the dead Templars strike!

There are no real gore standouts, but I love the way the Templars look, the costumes are top-notch and the way the gravestones and markers shake just perceptibly enough to put you on edge is pretty damned cool.

The film has a flashback to the Templars riding horses and slashing a chained woman with their swords until her blood is flowing freely enough so that each member of the troop can suckle on her flesh. None of the women make out fairly well in the story, and even if one perchance survives, I’m sure this is just the beginning of a new apocalypse!

For the most part, I quite enjoyed this film, I don’t care for the way the female characters are treated or their fates but the zombies are cool, and the locations are gorgeous. Apparently, the film spawned a number of sequels, I’ll have to see if I can hunt a couple of them down.

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