Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!
Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
Spanish/Portuguese co-production centering around the Templars, a group of medieval knights who were executed for their satanic practices and had their eyes plucked out by birds. Now, they arise from the grave in skeletal form, ready to drink the blood of any poor soul unfortunate enough to spend the night in their castle. Having no eyes, they find all of their victims by sound, but this isn't much of a handicap. If you were being chased by 600-year-old armored corpses, you'd make a lot of noise, trust me. The plot, incidental as it is, has a group of people investigating the death of a friend at the Templar ruins.
Atmospherically directed by Amando de Ossorio, Tombs of the Blind Dead is chilling, down to the bone. The beautiful shots of the Templars slowly galloping across the Portuguese plains are terrifying in their simplicity. These guys are coming for you, and there's nothing you can do about it. I'm encouraged to seek out Ossorio's other work, including all 3 sequels to Tombs.
The director, however, is not a great writer; some of his plotting is downright silly. Take for instance, the two completely gratuitous sex scenes. One's a lesbian flashback that could have been handled a little more tastefully, and the other's a rape scene. Rape, in my book, is a big no-no unless you're going somewhere with it, dramatically speaking. Also, due to the slow gait of the undead knights, there were constant hiccups in reality where a person just had to run into a barrier where they couldn't move so the enemy could close in. A good script wouldn't call attention to these sadly necessary details, but Tombs does.
These are minor quibbles, though, and they are only minor distractions from what is actually quite a solid little fright film. Check out the Anchor Bay uncut edition (available either on VHS or a dual-sided DVD with Return of the Blind Dead), which adds 16 minutes to the U.S. theatrical release. Then, curl up in a chair, press "Play" and don't - make - a - sound!