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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 29 October 2005
"Return of the Evil Dead" ("El ataque de los muertos sin ojos") is also known as "Return of the Blind Dead" although the title literally translates as "Attack of the Blind Dead"), which actually makes more sense since this 1973 film is the sequel to writer-director Amando de Ossorio's 1971 film "Tombs of the Blind Dead" ("La Noche del terror ciego"). These films were followed by "El buque maldito" ("The Ghost Galleon") in 1974, and "La Noche de las gavitos" ("Night of the Seagulls") in 1975, and comprise what is considered Ossorio's four-part horror masterpiece about the undead Templar Knights that emerge from their tombs and move ever so slowly after their victims. When you watch these films you might be reminded of Richard Pryor's joke about how the mummy is coming so, "Walk away! Walk away!" But Ossorio knows how to work the atmosphere with his creations.
The most interesting thing about "Return of the Evil Dead" is that while it is a sequel it stands on its own. That is because it seems the rules of the game have changed somewhat, although they are certainly still compatible. This second film begins with what happened to the Templars in 1473 when the local villagers got tired ot the knights sacrificing virgins and drinking their blood. The Templars were burned at the stake, but not before their eyes were burned out so that they would not be able to see when they rose from the dead like they insisted they would do. In "Tombs of the Blind Dead" anybody who dared to visit their castle would find that the Templars had risen from their graves. The idea was not to make any sounds so that they would not find you, but it is pretty hard not to scream with rotting corpses coming after you.
In "Return of the Evil Dead" it is the 500th anniversary of when the Templars were burned at the stake and the villagers are celebrating their victory, including burning Templar manikins at the stake. Now, in the dubbed English version the Templars simply rise from their tombs, get on their horses, ride into town, and start slaughtering the locals. However, if you see the slightly longer original version, "El ataque de los muertos sin ojos," there is a scene where Murdo (José Canalejas), the creepy looking guy in town, makes a blood offering to raise the Templars from the dead. Barricading themselves inside a hacienda are a small group of people trying to survive, including Jack Marlowe (Tony Kendall), who showed up in town to provide fireworks for the celebration, his old girl friend Vivian (Esther Roy), and the corrupt mayor (Fernando Sancho). The mayor keeps calling the governor for help, but the governor's mistress keeps telling him that everybody in the town is drunk because of the big celebration, so they are on their own.
Consequently, this second film ends up being a lot like "The Night of the Living Dead," where you have people holed up someplace surrounded by monsters who may be moving really slow but there are a whole lot more of them than there are of you (in fact, there are two or three times more Templars in this one than in the original). I found this to be the best of the four films, although not enough to end up rounding up in terms of stars. But with Ossorio's four films what stands out is that while none of them are great, they are pretty good when it comes to taking the relatively simple idea of the blind undead Templar knights and then creating and sustaining a spooky atmosphere. In the realm of horror films, Continental or otherwise, coming up with a series of films that are solid enough to avoid being bad is a pretty good achievement, even if none of them rise to the status of being a true classic.
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