La Noche de las Gaviotas (1975) half brain

Alternate Titles:

The Blind Dead 4
Don't Go Out at Night
Night of the Blood Cult
Night of the Death Cult
Night of the Seagulls
Terror Beach

I've now watched the fourth installment in Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead series, and two trends are obvious. (1) The characters get stupider in every movie. (2) De Ossorio gets more infatuated with showing the undead Templar Knights moving in slow motion. I fell asleep during both The Blind Dead 3 and this movie, if that gives you any idea of how slow they get. There is nothing new or surprising in this movie. De Ossorio seems to be banking, as in the third movie, that skeletons walking slowly in robes and making hissing noises will create enough atmosphere to scare us. If this hadn't been the fourth movie in the installment, maybe. If it hadn't been overused, maybe. But as things stand... Actually, I lied, there is a new element in this movie. De Ossorio has a new fascination with crabs. Several minutes of the movie are devoted to watching crabs move slowly and clumsily toward the corpses of the just-sacrificed women. I guess we're supposed to infer that the crabs will eventually be eating the corpses, but we never actually see that.

One thing I'll say about this movie is that the setting is better than in the third movie. This one is set on the coast (thus the title, Night of the Seagulls) as opposed to a ship, with the requisite small, backward village near eerie ruins. The movie opens (as usual), with a scene from when the Templar Knights were still alive and practicing their black rites, sacrificing a young woman to some kind of sea god statue. Flash forward to the present day, when eager young doctor Henry Stein (Victor Petit) and his wife Joan (María Kosti) arrive at the village for Henry to begin a new practice. The locals are unfriendly, and the old doctor is in a rush to leave town, and advises them to do the same. He doesn't tell them why, because that would make things less mysterious, and de Ossorio apparently prefers mystery over believable characters. Joan starts picking up on the signals and gets nervous, whereas Henry, being a man of science, refuses to believe that anything strange is going on until it's impossible to deny.

The secret the villagers are keeping is that every seven years, they have to sacrifice a woman each night for seven nights, in order to keep the Templar Knights happy. This begs so many questions that to list them all would be tedious, but here are a few: If you were a young woman of sacrificial age, wouldn't it be a good time to be out of town? Over the several hundred years that they had been doing this, wouldn't the villagers eventually have just moved away, and been done with the problem? Did the Templar Knights specify that they wanted women with thin, clingy nightgowns, or did the villagers just assume that?

The Steins make two friends while they're there, a local girl Lucy (Sandra Mozarowsky), who becomes their maid, and a mentally challenged outcast, Teddy (José Antonio Calvo), who is seeking medical help after being beat up. Neither of them are forthcoming with information until late in the movie, which again seems unlikely, since neither of them seems to have much of an emotional bond with the village.

All in all you have a series of all-too-familiar scenes connected by unbelievable or ludicrous plot lines. De Ossorio had something with the original The Blind Dead, and The Blind Dead 2 was passable, but since then he seems to have been just getting a paycheck.