Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tombs of the Blind Dead, Perfect Euro-Horror from Spain

1972's "Tombs of the Blind Dead" is everything we want from Euro-horror, and more.  Made in Spain, filmed in Portugal, TOBD gives us gore, a great story, nudity, babes in peril, and ghost knights riding ghost horses.  I must also recommend the Spanish version with subtitles over the American version which is dubbed.  The Spanish version is...shall we say...a bit more "risque" in a European sense.  Need I say more? This film generated several sequels, including "Ghost Galleon" (this one is available on YouTube).
The Plot:  Two bikini clad babes meet at poolside in a Spanish resort.  Here is the awkward part, Bette (Lone Fleming) and Virginia (Maria Elena Arpon) were lesbian lovers at boarding school.  Virginia is with her hunk boyfriend Roger (Cesar Burner), but when she sees Bette, she only desires her again.  Unfortunately for Virginia, Bette has moved on, and when she sees Roger, she only desires him.  The three decide to go by train to spend the week-end in the Portuguese countryside...and yes...three is a crowd.  After Bette and Roger all but consummate their relationship in front of Virginia, Virginia decides to sneak off the train when she sees, what she believes, is a rural town in the distance.  Uh oh!  Berzano isn't a town, but the ruins of an ancient city cursed by the ghosts of Satanic medieval knights.  With no civilization near these ruins, Virginia prepares to spend the night in the ruins of a church.  As we get to see her undress, the knights rise out of their graves, are met by ghost stallions, and converge on the church.  A horrified, and half dressed Virginia can't get away, and is caught, bitten, and drained of blood by the knights.
Feeling guilty the next morning, Roger and Bette decide to look for Virginia.  They arrive at Berzano and are met by the cops who advise them Virginia has assumed room temperature.  As Roger and Bette look into the mystery of Berzano, they find that medieval knights came to the town in the 13th century.  These knights returned from Egypt skilled in Satanism and begin sacrificing all the town's virgins in tortuous fashion.  The townspeople revolt, and hang the knights, only to have the ghosts rise up from the grave and hunt the living. Meanwhile, Virginia reanimates in the morgue and starts drinking the blood of the living.  Now the real danger starts.  Bette owns a mannequin shop, and a vampiric Virginia makes her way there.  Virginia and Roger enlist the help of two smugglers, Pedro (Jose Thelman) and Maria (Maria Silva), to bring them to Berzano again.  As the beautiful Nina (Veronica Llimera) tends to the mannequin shop in Bette's absence, Virginia arrives in a very thirsty state (see picture below).  At Berzano, Maria seduces Roger, and Pedro attempts to rape the ghost knights rise from the grave.
Will pretty Nina survive Virginia's advances?  Will Roger and Bette survive both the smugglers and the ghost knights during their night in Berzano?  The acting is terrific, story gripping, and Fleming, Arpon, and Llimera are each stunning.  Full of scares and a most ambitious ending, "Tombs of the Blind Dead" is a must see.  Gory and ominous, this is a film one must watch twice because of all the action and plot devices.  I enjoyed TOBD more on the second viewing, and was inspired to see a couple of it's sequels ("The Ghost Galleon" and "Night of the Seagulls") soon after.  

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