La Noche del Terror Ciego (1971) 1 brain1 brainhalf brain

Alternate Titles:

The Blind Dead
Crypt of the Blind Dead
Mark of the Devil, Part 4: Tombs of the Blind Dead
Night of the Blind Dead
La Noche de la Muerta Ciega
A Noite do Terror Cego
Tombs of the Blind Dead

I actually saw The Blind Dead 2 and The Blind Dead 3 before I saw this film, the first in the series. Amando de Ossorio directed all four Blind Dead films, so it was fun to see the film that started it all (although this film was actually also Mark of the Devil 4, being about Satan-worshiping skeletal knights). For the sticklers, even though the knights aren't really classic zombies (they ride around on horseback, swinging swords), there are a few traditional lumbering undead flesh-eaters walking around.

The story for this movie is tighter than in the sequels, although it is still a touch slow. A young woman, Virginia (María Elena Arpón), bumps into her old school friend Betty (Lone Fleming). Virginia's friend Roger (César Burner) invites Betty along on a weekend trip with him and Virginia, much to Virginia's dismay. On the train ride there, Virginia is overcome with jealousy and jumps off the train, deciding to spend the night in some nearby ruins. Little does she know that the ruins are the home of the blind dead, evil knights that conducted satanic rituals until angry villagers mobbed them and strung them up, leaving them for the crows to peck their eyes out. Now the knights wait patiently for victims to stray near so they can perform their rituals yet again.

Roger and Betty eventually come looking for Virginia, finding the ruins themselves. When Virginia turns up dead, they resolve to find the killers, but the locals are reluctant to talk about the ruins at all. Finally they meet a professor who tells them the legend of the knights, but the professor thinks it more likely that a gang of smugglers are the killers, using the legend as cover.

De Ossorio has a preference for using creepy imagery for his scares, and the best imagery comes when we get to see the knights in action, especially the slow motion shots of the knights riding their horses in pursuit of their victims. De Ossorio liked this shot so much that he does it to death in Blind Dead 2, but in this movie it's still done in moderation. He doesn't get to use it at all in Blind Dead 3, since it's set on a boat, which may have been part of the reason it sucked.

The blind knights make an interesting change from the more mainstream zombie films, and de Ossorio manages to keep your attention throughout the film. Although there are some questions that could be asked, like Where do the horses come from?, you shouldn't ask them, and just take what the film offers.