Also known as: Night of the Blind Dead, Knights of Blood
Starring: Lone Fleming, Ceasar Burner, Elena Arpon
Written and directed by Amando De Ossorio, this 1971 spanish film is usually referenced as a classic of european horror cinema, and is the first of four in the blind dead series.
Though invariably lumped into the zombie genre, this film deviates from classic depictions by liberally sprinkling its monsters with facets of vampirism (sleeping in crypts, drinking blood), and focusing heavily upon the history prefacing their modern-day bloodsucking.
Conveyed through flashbacks, the story of the blind dead begins with the Knights Templar
(reduced to cult status in this film) and their sacrifice of young virgins to achieve immortality. In reprisal, townspeople surrounding a local templar monastery slay the knights, and in an act of postmortem malice, leave the corpses unburied for a time so that their eyes may be pecked out by birds (hence blind dead). Jumping forward several hundred years, the now undead templars rise from their graves in response to intruders, hunting them down and drinking their blood
. However, due to their blindness, the templar must pursue victims by sound alone.
In comparison, the forefront storyline is rather bland, involving the hijinks of Betty Turner, Virginia White, and Roger Whelan on vacation in the spanish countryside. A bizarre love triangle ensues, compelling Virignia to leave the group and wander into the wilderness. Finding an abandoned monastery, she decides to stay the night and is subsequently murdered by the blind dead, which in turn draws Betty and Roger into a similar conflict. Besides this, a number of secondary characters are introduced in order to waste time or link the modern plot with flashbacks.
An interesting consequence of the blind dead's ambiguous composition is their apathy toward sunlight, pointy wooden sticks, and weaponry in general, pursuing victims in broad daylight, well outside the vicinty of their monastery. Despite all this good potential, the film is plagued with inconsistencies that tend to leave the viewer more frustrated than frightened.