Director – Amando de Ossorio
Cast – Lone Fleming, Cesar Burner, Maria Elena Arpon, Jose Thelman, Rufino Ingles, Veronica Llimera, Simon Arriaga, Francisco Sanz
Release Year – 1971
Reviewed by John of the Dead
For quite some time I had heard good things about Spanish director Amando De Ossorio’s “The Blind Dead” series, which includes a total of four films. The first film, Tombs of the Living Dead, gives us an interesting plot involving the use of Templar Knights, something I have never before seen nor heard of in any other horror flick(other than it’s sequels). After viewing this flick and enjoying it quite a bit, I can see why this film has become the cult classic that it is.
During the 13th century a sect of knights known as the Templars existed in Portugal. The knights fought in The Crusades and upon returning, brought back a belief in Satanic rituals. These rituals required them to drink the blood of virgins while sacrificing them. The knights were eventually tried and hung for their crimes, and left for the crows to peck at their eyes. Fast forward to present time and a few travelers have stumbled upon the ruined monastery of the Templars, and have unleashed the blind knights to wreak havoc on them and all others who inhabit the land.
This is definitely one of the most interesting “living dead” flicks I’ve ever seen. I have never seen one that incorporated a medieval aspect into it before Sam Raimi‘s 1992 epic, Army of Darkness, and this flick using the Templars of all knights was even cooler. We don’t get a ton of background on the Templars, but just the right amount to gain the viewers attention and engage them into the film. With this sub-genre being as convoluted as it is, it’s always nice to see some great and creative elements thrown into them, and this flick excelled in that area. Thank writer/director Amando de Ossorio for that.
The look of the undead Templars was awesome, and was definitely my favorite aspect of the film. I personally prefer very skeleton-esque undead(yes, even more than Romero‘s less-decayed Dawn of the Dead zombies), and these Templars looked excellent in that aspect. I loved how they moved as well, very slow and creepy, and the fact that they are blind added even more creep-factor to their look. How so? Their blind mannerisms added a different yet great look to them that I had not seen in any undead before. You just have to see it for yourself, it is genius.
Plot-wise I enjoyed this film, but story-wise it does have quite a few plot holes. One being where the hell these Templars got their horses, but hey, its 70s horror so I’ll forgive. What I really did not enjoy about the story was some needless elements thrown in just before the final act of the film. There was a slight romance element thrown in that not only wasted time, but made very little sense and I believe it took away from the feel of the film. It was just way too out of place, and I think it detrimented from the film heavily. I also wished we would have gotten more Templar knight action/footage. We only see them get into action I believe two times, and it wasn’t enough for me. I really did love every second we got to see them, but this film being what it is I believe we should have gotten more of them. This goes along with my previous notion about the needless romance element thrown in towards the end. Instead of throwing in bullsh*t like that we should have been given more Templar-oriented action, you know…since that is what this film is about.
Overall, this is really cool watch that I recommend to fans of 70s horror and undead horror. These Templar knights look great and give this film a really high creep factor, and make this a very interesting film to watch. Definitely recommended to horror fans.