Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972) First entry in Amando de Ossorio’s four-film Blind Dead saga. The Satanic Templar Knights performed human sacrifice rituals to give them eternal life in the 13th century and were eventually hung for their crimes and had their eyes eaten out by birds and lie dormant…until now. Pretty girl Victoria jumps off a train in the middle of nowhere because her former boarding school roommate seems to be moving in on her boyfriend. She decides to rough it in a sleeping bag which sets the events of the film in motion. The dormant and eyeless Templar Knights rise from their tombs and drink her blood, because that’s what Templar Knights do. Victoria’s friends go searching for her the next day, and find out the town’s superstitious legends while they’re at it. The bring a drug dealer and his sleazy girlfriend for the ride. Hey, more blood for the Templars. Several beautiful girls in this one, nudity, and lots of 70s euro-gore made this a hit, and worthy of three sequels. Some American distributors tried to pull a fast one on audiences by tricking them into thinking this was a Planet of the Apes sequel, by adding a ridiculous spoken word tie-in to the opening sequence and calling the film “Revenge From Planet Ape”.
Return of the Evil Dead (1973) Second entry in the Tombs of the Blind Dead franchise. A Portuguese village’s centennial celebration is turned into a massacre when the town’s cemetery caretaker recites an incantation that brings the bloodthirsty Templar Knights from their grave. A love triangle between a fireworks expert, a shady mayor and his busty girlfriend make up the key components of the group who tries to survive the night. A pretty girl who was the first to encounter the blind dead, the mayor’s cronies and a couple with a young daughter make up the rest. One by one the group gets smaller. Lots of gore in this sequel that’s just as good as the first. One thing that must be mentioned, in the extras on the Blue Underground DVD release, the stills show excessive nudity from just about every female in the film. The actual film has several quick nude scenes, but again, the stills make it look like a naked romp! This release claims to be the most complete version, but is there another with the nudity intact? The Spanish language version clocks in at 91 minutes, 4 minutes longer than the English dubbed version.
Blue Underground released a fantastic box set collection in 2005. I’ll be back in a few weeks with the last two films in the series: The Ghost Galleon and Night of the Seagulls.