Monday, January 14, 2013

Amando Ossorio Week: Tombs of the Blind Dead

Howdy all.  Today I have chosen Amando de Ossorio as the subject of the week.    With the mass level of Spanish and European Horror films making a huge surge, Ossorio wanted to stem away from films like: Santo E”La Vengaza De La Momia, The Lepers and Sex, Mission Sabotage and of course the uprising continuation of the Hammer Films of this time like Dracula ’72, The Karnstein Trilogy know as: The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire and Twins of Evil.   Ossorio knew the mainstream was changing and more violence, an increase in gore and nudity was on the horizon past the exploitation films.   That did not mean that story had to be sacrificed in the process.   The basis of the Blind Dead series is around the ghost stories he heard as a boy.    So huddle in around the burning pit, and make sure your charcoal filtered mask is working.   This is La Noche del terror ciego.

Even spoilers need subtitles… (Incluso spoilers necesita subtítulos)

With capturing the legends of the Knights Templar a order of the Crusade that was said to be annihilated for performing the black arts of witch craft, Ossorio spins the tales of perhaps those very wealthy and pagan men did receive the immortality promised to them all those centuries ago.
 But enough of that, pool party!  Bikinis and more body hair than Ron Jeremy and John Holmes combined and yes everyone disco dancing.    Our story opens with a young couple on vacation running into an old friend from school.   Virginia (Maria Elena Arpon of The House That Screamed, Crimen imperfect, Black Story and El Cristo del Oceano) recognizes her dear friend Betty (Lone Fleming of Bad Man’s River, In Happened at Nightmare Inn, Where Time Began and Return of the Evil Dead) and the two proceed to catch up.  They speak on about their lives, work and any budding romances, when Roger (Cesar Burner of The Man Called Noon, Green Inferno and Last Chance), Virginia’s boyfriend pulls himself out of the pool in a suave yet smarmy manner.  Virginia tells Betty of Roger and her impeding trip into the country.  Free from the hustle and bustle of society and just enjoying the relaxation that the country provides.   Betty is hesitant to join as she is unattached and Roger assures her she will find a man willing and with this they are scheduled to meet up at the train promptly at 4. 

A few odd notes and it will be right back to our gripping story line.   To cash in on the popularity , foreign distribution want re-cut and released La Noche del terror ciego with the alternative title Revenge from the Planet Ape in some half assed effort to capitalize on the success of the Planet of the Apes films.  With a new prologue attempting to link the two stories together, this story makes ape prisoners whom been tortured and maimed, vow to return from the dead to seek bloody retribution on mankind and avenge themselves against man’s injustice and tyranny in the hopes of saving the planet.

Back to our flick in process, our couple is met back up with Betty who couldn’t snare a fella but Roger insists she join them all the same.  Virginia seems to be quietly seething and is of the mindset Roger is looking for a little action on Betty’s behalf.   And with a bit of stomping out and a rather nice dissolve when find out in a flashback that Virginia and Betty were…close one might say and sorry fellas the shots are actually tender (minus the organ music) and feel innocent.  Roger now hip to what is going on, Virginia settles on the brilliant idea of leaving the train at the only port of call being some old ruins and no civilization to be seen.    GENIUS!!!  Roger and Betty discover this temper tantrum; jump the train in the hopes of finding her.  After trekking a bit in the ruins clearly it is time to camp in the very…eerie ruins that is not even on a current map. Now before this sounds cranky this is only in the first 12 minutes. 

Finally, the legion of Spamelot rise and it is clear they are not big on trespassers.    I had the hardest time not snickering as the burial crosses starting to shift in the loose soil. No no, that’s not Styrofoam, that is clear a marble and granite found in the area and just appears as though wind could push it about.   And what brings back the dead you may ask? Why those pesky kids with their smooth FM Jazz and their filthy cigarettes.    Given their complete lack of peepers it is said that the Blind Dead must hunt by sound and sound alone.  Don’t…make…noise.

The handheld, tripod based and steady cam work has been amazing.   I admit I was drooling a bit over the ladies but as characters boy they needed name tags establishing: Born to be disemboweled.  The tone of the movie is captured well by lighting and various fog and smoke effects. Exterior shots as well as a few day for night did not sway me from finishing this.  I gather what the overall effect was to be from this film in telling a ghost story that shook our writer/director’s very being but the limited budget must have been utter hell for Ossorio and personally I would have loved to see the knights’ mounts mostly skeletal with bit of fur and meat draped haphazardly.   Ah well.  What could have been.