The Ghost Galleon (1974)

a.k.a El Buque maldito, Horror of the Zombies
Jack Taylor stars in the appalling third part of Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead series. Blue Underground R1 DVD.

The Film

Sports gear magnate Howard Tucker (Jack Taylor) decides to promote his new brand of sports boat with a crazy publicity stunt - he hires two models to sail deep into the Atlantic Ocean and wait to be rescued - their pictures appearing all over the world and his boat getting the praise for staying intact in the rough sea. However, when the model's boat encounters a mysterious galleon and contact is lost, Howard Tucker and his crew have to go out and discover what has happened - they discover a mysterious boat existing outside of our dimension, populated by the Blind Dead...

After the relatively similar first two Blind Dead films, writer and director Armando de Ossorio tried to take a completely new route here - creating a sea-bound horror film. Unfortunately, the rather original concept is the only interesting thing about Ghost Galleon which lumbers under a dull storyline with terrible plot holes apparent from the very start - Lillian, the friend of one of the models on the boat misses her (the operation has apparently taken 2 weeks to plan) and threatens to call the police, which Tucker is so desperate to prevent that he kidnaps her, yet his plan would surely have worked just fine if the police were searching for the girls? No real explanation is given for the appearance of the Blind Dead, and certainly not for the "dimension bending" existance of the ship, strong contrast to the other films - Attack of the Blind Dead (1973) especially made a strong point of explaining the mythology.

Characterisation is poor leaving the audience uncaring for their fates - we have a nautical navigation professor who is an expert on exorcism, and a swimsuit model manager who can identify the age of a galleon - while the attitude of all the cast on encountering a ghostly, seemingly abadoned galleon is absurdly understated. Of all the factors however, it is the incredibly slow pacing that makes the film most hard to watch - although the other films in the series are notably slow paced, here it seems merely padding to draw the film out to feature length, exemplified by two near-identical killings by the Blind Dead that take several minutes each and some long, pointless dialogue scenes - even the film's ending, which is quite good, is dragged out far too long. Unfortunately, while there are some interesting hints of deeper themes on display - the Howard Tucker character representing the lengths to which corporations will go to make money, even contemplating murder - it is not enough to make the film watchable.

De Ossorio's direction is decent and would surely have brought some scares were it not for the terrible script, and he is let down by a terrible looking boat model and generally poor looking effects (although the Blind Dead themselves look as good as normal). Antón García Abril reuses his score from the previous films, although its absence in many scenes leaves them without tension.

Frequent euro-cult star Jack Taylor takes the lead role of Howard Tucker, but doesn't get much opportunity to act thanks to the script. The rest of the cast, relative unknowns, give suitable but hardly impressive performances.

De Ossorio comes up with an interesting idea, but with very a poor script lacking characterisation or logic, and some obviously low budget effects, Ghost Galleon rates as a dull and generally worthless film without even any gore or nudity to appeal to exploitation audiences. Big fans of the series might be able to enjoy some elements of this - certainly not one for first time Blind Dead viewers. Not recommended. 

In Brief

Anyone famous in it? Jack Taylor - American actor who worked with Spanish cinema legends Paul Naschy and Jess Franco.
Directed by anyone interesting? Amando 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 titles.
Is it scary?Not really.
Any violence/gore? Some blood and a little gore.
Any sex? None.
Who is it for?
Only for Blind Dead series completists.
Good Soundtrack?Spanish horror composer Antón García Abril gives a rather flat track.

Similar Films

Follows:La Noche del terror ciego [a.k.a Tombs of the Blind Dead] - the creepy, but poorly written first film.
El Ataque de los muertos sin ojos  [a.k.a Return of the Evil Dead] (1973) - the superior sequel.
Sequels:La Noche de las gaviotas  [a.k.a Night of the Seagulls] (1975) - the effective final chapter. 
Inspired by:Night of the Living Dead (1968) - George Romero's seminal zombie chiller.
Led to:Mansion of the Living Dead (1982) - Jess Franco's perverse, sex-filled riff on the Blind Dead.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour
The print is decent with good colours and  minimal print damage with only mild grain.
Audio Original Spanish and English audio - sound fine. The Spanish track plays slightly better.
Subtitles English - translates the Spanish track and reads well. The text is yellow.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Original theatrical trailer. Relatively low condition.
  • US trailer, TV and radio spot under the title Horror of the Zombies.
  • A detailed poster and stills gallery. Manual scrolling.
AvailabilityReleased 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 detailed booklet. 
Region Region 1 (USA, North America) - NTSC
Other regions? An Anchor Bay UK release contains a similar quality version of the the film without the Spanish audio track.
Cuts? The film is believed to be uncut. The print used is English language.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 17th November 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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