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Another decent Euroshock flick.
on May 24, 2004
Tombs of the Blind Dead (Amando de Ossorio, 1971)
One of the often overlooked Euroshock films of the seventies, Tombs of the Blind Dead has been finding itself a new generation of fans thanks to a DVD release and a mention in Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen. While I wouldn't go quite that far, it's got a charming naivete to it, some excellent footage, and a bushel or two of good mindless fun.
Virginia (Maria Arpon) meets her old babysitter Beth (Lone Fleming) by chance one day, and Beth ends up invited on a weekend with Virginia and her boyfriend Roger (David Hasselhoff lookalike Cesar Burner). After some sexual tension on the train, Virginia runs off to an abandoned monastery around which local legends circulate about a band of Knights Templar who survive in undead form. She turns up dead the next day, and Roger and Beth decide to investigate...
The one thing about this movie every review mentions, and rightly, is the slow-motion shots of the templars riding their undead horses. Beautiful stuff (and, as far as I know, unduplicated to this day). Sure, the slow-motion looks a little cheesy these days, but hey, the movie's almost thirty-five years old. Psychomania's cheesy, too, but it's still brilliant.
The one thing they all seem to gloss over is the painfully large plot holes, threads that go nowhere, somewhat substandard acting by a select few characters, and incredibly cheesy special effects (the fire scene's effects are only a step above those of a similar scene in the shoestring-budgeted TV series Night Gallery). Still, there's enough good stuff in here to make it worth a rental, and the ending (the style of which was borrowed from a certain similar horror film released a few years earlier) is un-Hollywood enough to be refreshing to even the most jaded horror film fan. Turn your brain off for a hundred minutes and just enjoy the undead Templars riding their undead horses in slow motion. ** ½