Tombs Of The Blind Dead (1972)

DVD Cover (Blue Underground)
Genres: Gothic Film, Horror, Zombie Film
In the 13th century there existed a legion of evil knights known as the Templars, who quested for eternal life by drinking human blood and committing sacrifices. Executed for their unholy deeds, the Templar's bodies were left out for the crows to peck out their eyes. Now, in modern day Portugal, a group of people stumble on the Templar's abandoned monastery, reviving their rotting corpses to terrorize the land. --IMDb
Amando de Ossorio Amando de Ossorio
Lone Fleming Lone Fleming
César Burner César Burner
María Elena Arpón María Elena Arpón
José Thelman José Thelman
Rufino Inglés Rufino Inglés
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6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 31, 2007
Though many people credit George A. Romero for inventing the whole zombie genre (and to some extent, he did), what many people don't know is that Spain was technically filming what would become the first zombie film a year or so before "Night of the Living Dead" became a reality. Now -- sure -- zombie movies had been made before, but never to the same degree as either "Night of the Living Dead" or "Tombs of the Blind Dead". Notice the similarities in those titles? I am not saying who copied who, so you can make your own judgments and opinions, but let's just say that George A. Romero was probably more than a little inspired by this cult classic from Spain that didn't find a United States release until three years after Romero's film would gain such popularity.

This film blends fantasy in horror. We learn quickly about the Templars, a group of knights in the 13th Century who committed sacrifices and drank human blood in the attempt to gain eternal life. Eventually executed for their many atrocities, their bodies were left out for the crows to peck at them. Flash forward to modern day Portugal, where their monastery is accidentally unearthed by a group of college kids, thus reviving them and sending them on another ghoulish rampage where human blood and carnage is all that they crave. So, not only did this film give us one of our first taste of zombies, as we know them, but also the classic set up of college kids on vacation getting picked off, one by one, but evil, blood thirsty zombies from beyond the grave.

What most people remember about this film are the zombies themselves. On horseback, their scenes are shown in slow motion, which adds an ethereal and more than a little creepy undertone to the film. These slow motion sequences stand out in "Tombs of the Blind Dead" and turn these zombies into some of the most terrifying you are likely to ever see in a motion picture. The end sequence on the train is also one of the creepiest and most utterly satisfying endings I have ever seen to a zombie flick. Just watching this film and then watching "Night of the Living Dead" -- you start to see so many nuances that were borrowed -- not stolen, but borrowed. Amando de Ossorio brought zombies to life in Spain and Romero transfered that notion to the States.

Not going to lie to you -- it's more than a little difficult to find this film on DVD. I have an ancient VHS copy that I just recently unearthed and had never watched before. I am so glad I did. It's bizarre you don't hear many people mention this film in the same pantheon as "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead" and all of those other classic zombie films. This one very well might have started it all. This one is constantly listed by classic horror fans as one of the creepiest horror films ever shot, primarily for the simple technique of the slow motion zombies on horse back. In these days of million dollar effects, it's hard to believe such an affect could be achieved by such a tiny and simple action. "Tombs of the Blind Dead" is one of the best zombie films ever made. 10/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 05/31/2007, 09:44 AM
Wow, I figured Chad would have covered this one, especially since he picked up that box set. I'm still waiting for it to drop below $60 before I get it. I haven't seen this whole movie, but what I did see was fantastic. It was really creepy, and felt like a true zombie film. Rating pending.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 06/03/2007, 09:16 PM
I went and bought this boxed set (region one) and it is amazing. All 4 movies completely uncensored with both the American and original releases, and some of the most entertaining extras ever (not to mention really quick-ass stills galleries). Plus it has a great documentary about De Ossorio that is well worth the cost of the set... I don't care what anyone says... I like the third movie. Such amazing things can be done with shit budgets. Still, the first one is, without a doubt the best of the series... not to mention it still creeps me out... those templars... god... greatest horror monsters ever.
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