Return Of The Blind Dead (1973 Portugal)

return-of-the-evil-dead-ataque-de-los-muertos-sin-ojos-1The Bad News: The old Gothic feel of the first one is pretty lost here, replaced by a fast-paced feel that still delivers shocks but doesn’t feel as overwhelmingly atmospheric as the first one felt. It also borrows elements liberally from other films, so it does have a seen-that-before element to it that the first one didn’t have. The Good News: while it has a couple of seen-it-before elements to it, this is still arguably the best film in the series.

It’s action-packed, gory fun that any Euro Zombie fan will connect with. Any fan of the series should see it immediately, while genre fans are in for a great treat. Five centuries ago, the town of Berzano rose up against the treacherous Knights Templar, torturing and killing them. Now the annual day of the revolt is marked by a massive celebration in the town. Jack Marlowe, (Tony Kendall) is hired by Mayor Duncan, (Fernando Sancho) to provide a fireworks display for the celebration, and immediately runs into an old flame, Vivian, (Esperanza Roy). She is now the mistress of the oily Mayor. As the celebration begins in the town, the monastery out in the hillside spits up the Knights Templar zombies, who return to town to wreck vengeance for the original revolt. With the survivors held up in a church, tension mounts as the Blind Dead pick the villagers off, one by one.

el_ataque_de_los_muertos_sin_ojos_3-grandeAfter a series of failed escapes, they have to use their ingenuity to make a last ditch attempt at freedom…The Templars are given more to do this time and are still scary. This one ups the stakes a bit. In many ways, this is the superior film in the series. It has a quite rapidly paced plot, as it seems as it moves from one event to another in no time at all. The attacks come fast and furious, and it therefore never seems slow and dull. This is achieved from the major advancement over the original: the Templars are given the reigns to carry the majority of the film, and they prove they can here quite capably. Given the lion’s share of the movie, they effectively come across as vicious, fearsome predators, which is exactly what they should be. By giving the decaying, creepy creations more screen time, it also results in the highest body count of the series, with blood flowing like wine at a banquet.

The group of survivors holed up in the church are an interesting bunch. Firstly, we have the hero as played by Italian star Tony Kendall, more at home in European spy and adventure flicks, who supplies the film with much-needed masculine energy and heroism. He’s supported by a trio of Spanish beauties who inevitably end up being menaced by the zombies. Other folks include the village idiot, Muerto, an exceptionally creepy guy with one dead arm who spies on people making love; an ill-fated family; the selfish and cowardly mayor, who causes others to die in his own attempts to escape; and the mayor’s right-hand man, who has a change of heart and helps our heroes, before his sexual desires get the better of him and he attempts to rape the heroine. Unlike the first film, this time she is saved.

There is some unexpected humour and cheesy dialogue to keep the viewer involved. Also, with the high body count, there is a lot more action than before, another factor in keeping the film from becoming dull. The real stand-out is the village massacre, which features both horse-mounted and footed Templars laying waste to the citizens in an extended, action-packed sequence that features many different individually great scenes that combine into one great scene. As is usual with all the Blind Dead films, the dead themselves are always a treat to watch, their rotting remains and mud-baked faces as scary here as they were when they first were seen. Director Amando De Ossorio does a great job using slow-motion mixed with an eerie soundtrack to intensify the impact of his historical zombies. Euro horror at its best.

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Comments

  1. I remember watching this film years ago, will have to give it a re-watch sometime soon. You’re right, it’s definitely more action-packed than its predecessor! Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My pleasure. Cheers! πŸ™‚

    Like

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