“Tombs of the Blind Dead” – Chris Luedtke

Probably one of the best experiences with film is seeing some of the original pieces that helped to lay the groundwork for how a genre is supposed to work. Take George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, for example. It’s a legendary film in all respects that helped to create a cult following of die-hard zombie heads who’ve come to expect tons of blood, guts, and human conflict abound. Enter Amando de Osorio’s Blind Dead series. For those who are heavily into horror-zombie genre, the Blind Dead series is an absolute must-see. It’s campy, flawed to death, and fake beyond words.

Long ago in the 13th century, there existed a group known as the Templar Knights. This group reigned terror over villages, as it sacrificed beautiful virgins and drank their blood in order to obtain eternal life. Finally, the group was overthrown by a mob of villagers that hung the knights and had their eyes picked out by crows. Come present day, a group of backpackers are on a train. In a bitter and jealous rage, Virginia (María Elena Arpón) jumps from the train to get away from her boyfriend Roger (César Burner) and best friend Betty (Lone Fleming). As Roger and Betty go searching for their lost friend, they find that her murder is the least of their worries, for the Templar Knights still haunt their castle, and they’re on the hunt for fresh victims.

To be honest, a good chunk of the movie didn’t make a ton of sense to me, which was one of the major drawbacks. Why the Templar Knights still hunt besides the fact that they’re pissed off isn’t really addressed much, which is something that they could’ve gotten creative with. I think the idea here was supposed to be that what they don’t tell us is what’s supposed to scare us. I guess that all depends upon your personal fears. Is not knowing going to scare you? Well, it’s not the biggest drawback in the story, since the Templar Knights aren’t in it as much as they could’ve been. The biggest problem with this one is its snail-like pace. It’s like molasses in winter; for only being an hour and twenty-six minutes, you really feel every one of them. I wasn’t swept up until the end, and by then, there was only about fifteen minutes left.

The characters here are all pre-Jason era. No impure characters are targeted, nor are any characters created to make a satisfying kill. On the contrary, the kills here aren’t really even that satisfying. Blood is very minimal, even though the Templar Knights eat their victims. Heroic characters are also eliminated here. What we basically have are average Joes and Jills walking into a really bad situation that only gets worse. This makes the process of weeding out potential victims both more difficult and slightly unimportant. You’ll see what I mean as it goes along. Since all character ties to the Templar Knight grounds are almost purely based upon curiosity and the desire for knowledge, all extremely personal ties are minimized. Confusing? Well I guess you just gotta see it.

If you’re a horror fan, Tombs of the Blind Dead, in addition to the rest of the series, is something you should really see. Tombs isn’t a masterpiece by any means, but it does a decent job with what it has. Creature effects are comparable to those in Army of Darkness, which is really saying something. But don’t be surprised at the film’s quality, or lack thereof. There really isn’t much draw to a second viewing once you’ve seen this one, but that doesn’t mean you should watch the whole series.

Rating: ★★½☆

-Chris Luedtke

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