a.k.a El Ataque de los muertos sin ojos, Attack of the Blind Dead
The second of Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead films - well directed and often scary. Blue Underground R1 DVD.
After the international sucess of Amando de Ossorio's Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971) and Paul Naschy's Werewolf Shadow
(1971), Spanish horror began to take off and with Naschy finding sucess
with a variety of wolfman sequels, it was obvious that there was money
to be made with a new Blind Dead film. Despite the American title, the
film is less of a sequel than a remake, and is more accurately known in
English as Attack of the Blind Dead:
the small Portuguese town of Bouzano, the villagers are preparing for
their annual festivities - celebrating their overthrowing of the evil
Templar Knights hundreds of years ago. The town Mayor has called in a
pyrotechnics expert, Jack (Tony Kendall) to help the festivities, but
is shocked to discover that his wife and Jack have a rather twisted
history together, and she plans to run away with him. Meanwhile, the
town idiot, Murdo, has captured a local woman, and spills her blood
onto the ground of the knight's cemetery causing them to rise from
their graves. Storming into town they massacre many of the townspeople
and a small group end up trapped in the church - as the knights try to
break in, tensions inside begin to boil...
From the start it is clear Attack is a completely different film to Tombs,
and importantly, a far more effective one. The first half of the film
provides all the necessary exposition and some strong, varied and quite
plausible character build up, although the background to the
Templars is still rather vague (surely simply drinking blood does not
lead to immortality?). While Tombs was obviously partly inspired by George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) - Attack
takes the links much further, with the second half of the film copying
the under-siege theme of the American film. Fortunately, de Ossorio
doesn't directly copy Romero and these church siege sequences
are well scripted and often very tense, and the internal conflicts
come over well (even if the town Mayor is approaching comic book evil).
Generally, Attack manages to be scarier and darker than Tombs with a strong atmosphere throughout - the obviously inserted exploitation elements and lengthy padding scenes of Tombs are gone here and only the ending disappoints slightly. De Ossorio's
direction is strong, helping to build the tension in many scenes, and
the shots of the knights rising are as effective as ever (even if many
of the shots are literally re-used from Tombs).
Special effects are as strong as ever, with the Knights looking very
dead and some impressive gory effects. Antón García Abril
reuses much of the score from Tombs and the choral chanting is equally effective here.
Tony Kendall is the only big name on the cast sheet here, best known for his role as Christian in Mario Bava's Whip and the Body
(1963). Here he plays "Captain" Jack, essentially the film's hero and
gives a decent, plausible performance. Lone Fleming, star of Tombs turns up again in a minor role while Francisco Sanz (Tombs'
Professor) turns up again as a station master. There are no big names
in the rest of the cast, but the performances look decent. De Ossorio takes another shot at the Blind Dead here, and gets it right this time - frequently dark and scary, Attack of the Blind Dead
is generally well written and directed. Recommended to cult horror
fans, and a must see for fans of Spanish horror cinema. If you are
going to get one of the Blind Dead films, this is the one to pick up.
Anyone famous in it?
No-one of note.
Directed by anyone interesting?
de Ossorio - a lesser known Spanish director who shot all four official
Blind Dead films, as well as a variety of even more obscure horror
Is it scary?
A variety of scary and tense sequences.
Some very bloody and gory deaths.
Some mild nudity in a few brief scenes.
Who is it for?
Spanish horror fans will certainly want to see this, and it is recommended to all cult-horror fans.
A decent track, with a good title theme, from Spanish horror composer Antón García Abril.
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour The
print is decent with good colours and minimal print damage although grain is strong and some scenes are very dark.
Original Spanish audio - sounds fine, some hiss.
English - translates the Spanish track and reads well. The text is yellow.
The disc includes:
Original American theatrical version of the film. Under the title The Return of the Evil Dead,
this print runs several minutes shorter, and has some different edits. The print
is of similar quality to the main feature.
Original US and Spainish theatrical trailers. Good condition.
detailed poster and stills gallery. Manual scrolling. (Of special
interest are the black and white stills showing some nude scenes not
present in the film, and either staged for the cameras, or filmed and
as a single disc as detailed here, or the same disc is available as
part of the Blind Dead Collection boxset, along with a bonus disc and
Region 1 (USA, North America) - NTSC
Anchor Bay UK release contains a similar quality version of the Spanish print of the film plus the
film is believed to be uncut. The print used is Spanish language.
A generally superior sequel/remake with a god script and some effective scares. Recommended.
good looking DVD with some light extra features (more substantial
extras are included in the boxset).