Monday, October 25, 2010

Tombs of the Blind Dead: Always Pack Your Big Silver Mitten When Rising From the Grave.

As much as I am a deep lover of films like The Orphanage and the Devil's Backbone, I must admit that I do not know a whole lot about Spanish horror films before the year 2000. This is why upon seeing that Tombs of the Blind Dead was newly added to Netflix Instant, I promptly settled in to give it a shot--and put my dreams of watching Disney World: Behind the Scenes on hold.

Luckily, Tombs of the Blind Dead was more than a pleasure to watch. And well I mean, you know how the Italian language is pretty close to Spanish? Well the same goes for their films more or less--as several points throughout the film I thought for a minute I saw a flash of Bava. We are immersed into a similar atmosphere where the hollowing wind provides a steady soundtrack, the only difference is that rotting skeletons are the be all, end all of bad guys. Thank God for this movie.

While on vacation, Virginia runs into Betty (Bet), her old roommate from boarding school. Virginia's sort of boyfriend Roger, invites Bet along for a train trip and is not so subtle about his immediate attraction to the new woman. While on the train, Virginia grows uncomfortable and embarrassed over Roger's forwardness. After recalling a painful memory where an innocent night of bedtime ballroom dancing evolved into a lesbian romp,

Virginia jumps off the train and spends the night in a strange place. Of all the town ruins, Virginia picked the burying grounds of the Knight Templars to camp out in. The knights were accused of being satanists, were executed and then left outside so that the crows would peck out their eyes.

While sleeping, Virginia is awoken up by the sounds of the knights rising from their tombs, and killed. After feeling guilty, Betty and Roger soon embark on a journey to find out what the hell happened to Virginia, and why other people keep turning up dead.

Remember that time when I commented on how cool skeletons that rise from the grave are? Well this movie may in fact be the poster child for dead bodies that actually decay the way they are supposed to.

There's just something so eerie about seeing a skeleton, amble out with his gross stick fingers, and his sick corpsey head.

I love it. I'm still trying to figure out what makes the knights such a threat when they are just a bunch of bones though. Perhaps they have evil satanic power. I had an even harder time figuring out where all their horses came from but what the hey--skeletons riding horses? Amazing.

The knights were pretty frickin fantastic, and they definitely reminded me of the Nazguls from Lord of the Rings.

The Knights due to their eyes being pecked out were blind, and the way that they locate their prey is by listening to their heart beat, or if you're an idiot and make a lot of noise, than that's an alternative. In any case, I love how the knights need only slowly descend on entire trains as slow as snails and everyone just stays where they are and screams. You may think this is a sign of a bad film but quite the contrary, because that's what makes this film so wonderful.

Most importantly however, Tombs of the Blind Dead is filled with the kind of imagery that I thrive on.

From simply creepy things like the mannequin store,

to that amazing shot of the woman walking down the hall lined with mannequins.

There's even a most glorious indication of beautiful blood!

The best moments though was when the dead Virginia would creep up behind people. Every scene like that filmed in such a way that practically every screen shot was a work of art.

Her movements are so subtle, and so slow--the way the morgue sheet is draped over her makes it look like some glorious Grecian dress.

Granted I'm still a little fuzzy on the details of how the knights turn their prey into the walking dead. Since the director insists they are not zombies...and Virginia bites people on the neck like a vampire.......a plus b....equals c...divided by.... right. I have no clue what's going on. What I do know however is that Amando de Ossorio has a new fan. Tombs of the Blind dead is actually the first film in the Blind Dead series, so I look forward to watching more. Also his other film Demon Witch Child is apparently an underrated must see horror classic. As is customary it's almost impossible to find anywhere--so if someone knows where I can see that tell me ASAP. If you need more proof see the video at the bottom.

My recommendation is that you seek out this film immediately. Especially if you are a fan of Bava. As a bonus you will get to see what is perhaps the fakest boobs I have ever seen. And by fake I don't mean silicone, I mean they made a wax double of a girl's chest so that they could slash it with swords. I wouldn't have noticed if they had had the hindsight to paint the nipples a different color. Gosh how I hate women with flesh toned nipples!

P.S. Why is this knight wearing a big silver mitten?

Dear God I hope that is a goof, because it may possibly be the greatest goof that there ever was.

Demon Witch Child--is the to watch movie of the year. If you have more information on the whereabouts of this film please email me.


matango said...

I agree that the film is entertaining though it doesn't always make sense. I think they drain their victims blood maybe? I enjoyed the second one in the series, too, though it made less sense. That one features somebody stealing one of the Templars zombie horses.

On Demon Witch Child: Sorry, I can't help you track it down. I first read that as "Demon With Child" which could be an awesome sitcom about a fish-out-of-water single parent demon raising a sassy kid in the big city. Also: the sound of dubbed children laughing is like the sound of broken glass.

Franco Macabro said...

An Army of Skeleton riding horses, that reminds me of two movies: Army of Darkness and Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires!

I've always wanted to check these movies out, but havent for some reason.

Hey, if you are exploring horror movies from Spain, highly recommend Let Sleeping Corpses Lie...

Big D said...

So true Andre...
Latin directors eh?
Its always to do with the eyes.
In this case they are blind of course, but even Sergio Leone loved his close up eye shots in his westerns... Think about it.
Latin directors and eyes.
Another Spanish classic is Horror Express (different names in different countries I think)It has none other than Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in, but plenty of Latin gore... oh and eyes...

deadlydolls said...

Seriously, was that an oven mitt?

But I also only recently watched this film and promptly fell in love. So damn scary! The final scene, where a character runs away as the nights approach on horseback was easily one of the most suspenseful moments ever. Sure, the story doesn't quite make sense and the rape is ever so smoothly glossed over, but still...damn scary.

Anonymous said...

Here's a site that has a bootleg dvd of it. I have ordered a couple of this seller's dvds and can say that the quality is as good as it gets as far as unreleased dvds go (also has a great dvd of the Video Dead.)

Christine Hadden said...

1) Those knights remind me of the grim reaper. Quite the fright! But yes, the Nazgul indeed.
2) I detest mannequins. SO very scary. But then again, I hate dolls, so there you go.
3) The silver mitten? Removing something hot from the oven perhaps?
I'm at a loss, but it's a real hoot.

Andre Dumas said...

matango--who needs sense made these days anyways? I am really looking forward to moving on in this series though hooray for blind skeletons. As a side note...aren't all skeletons basically blind because the eye balls like...liquify? How many skeletons do you see with eye balls?!

Thanks Film Connoisseur! That was suggested to me via Netflix--one of their "if you liked that you'll love this" things, but now that I have your blessing I will check it out much sooner rather than later.

Big D-- that's a fine, fine point my friend. I never really noticed it but you are right! I'll be sure to put your recommendations on my list.

Emily--OH THE RAPE! That's true, it was very glossed over, so much so that I completely forgot to put it in my review. Oh well at least he got what was coming to him, and she ended up in a coal cart with a bad wig. And yeah definitely an oven mitt. But A. why would he be cooking on a train and B. how did he find an oven mitt that was so cool and silver looking. It matches his corpsey cloak perfectly!

Wow thanks Anonymous! I'll keep this information on the down low...but my wishes have been granted.

Chris I knew you would appreciate that oven mitt. It's totally an oven mitt, but saying that he's wearing a big mitten just sounds funnier.

Reanaclaire said...

hi Andre, on behalf of my clients, I would like to offer you to write a movie review for my client. If you are interested, let me know, thanks!


The Blind Dead are so awesome they're even scary with mittens! And Heaven help you of they're wearing galoshes!

I love these movies, flaws and all but I feel the last one in the series 'Night of the Seagulls' is my favorite but many consider the second film the be the best version of the story.