Ok, here I go again into the frightening depths of 1970’s horror. This time with an interesting entry called Vengeance of the Zombies!
This is my favorite poster image for the movie which I’ve come across so far. It has that fun, spooky feel of 70’s horror with a woman in distress and a horde of horror looming over her. We get a hint of sexuality in the female figures and it suggests some power controlling them in the figure of the man with his hands out on the right.
I tend to like this sort of painterly image style for movie posters although it’s hard to say this is really my favorite. This looks a lot like the poster for The House By The Cemetery which I remember liking so it has that going for it. The figures loose individuality as they fade into the background particularly around the eyes and so much so that the two figures behind the woman with her arms raised end up looking incredibly similar. I’ll still give it the thumbs up though as that may have been intentional.
After all the contrast between the victims’ image, in full color and highly individualized, does seem to be purposely contrasted with the zombie horde which seems more lifeless and lacking character, as most zombie hordes do.
The story follows a woman and her writer friend, (why is it always a writer friend or a professor or a professor writing a book?) who are checking out an Indian guru called Vishnu who’s played by Paul Naschy, famous in Spain for his horror movies. Meanwhile someone is going around London killing women and reuniting their corpses to be part of his zombie army.
As the plot unfolds dream sequences and bizarre ritualistic murders are interspersed to remind us this is meant to be a scary movie. There are a few visuals that jump out at us as being really memorable, the look of satan, several of the murder sequences and the gold-painted Mirta Miller are all memorable shots. But as far as thrills and scares this movie is sadly lacking.
This is another movie, a lot like Fulci movies, where the voices of the actors have been added into the film during post production. That’s not so unusual, especially for the time but it often throws off the performance and makes it jar with the images on screen. The actor moving around and saying his or her lines on the set is going to sound a lot better than they will six months later in a sound studio trying to remember exactly how they said their lines. Add to that the incredibly bad dialogue that SOMEHOW keeps getting into these old movies and you have yourself a recipe for something awful.
A lot of the themes in the film deal with sort of pseudo-religious cults or beliefs. It’s not unusual for a lot of these kinds of horror movies, they deal with the devil and evil and horrors from beyond the grave so the more esoteric they can get with it the more bizarre or unusual the tone of the film. It’s something I’ve seen so often that it’s gotten a bit dull.
The music is a real sign of the times. If you only watch up to the title sequence you’ll get a great window into movie making at the time. The funky, exotic, Star-Trekesque quality of the bongos comes right out of the 60’s with a heavy dose of the 70’s funk and jazz to come. As soon as that ends you’re dumped into London and the WORST song I think I’ve ever heard. Correction, the worst singing I’ve ever heard.
What the hell is this guy saying?
And then BOOM we’re immediately hit with harpsichord music which is SO typical of the time. The worst part about all this music is how poorly it sets a mood. It doesn’t seem to match what’s going on on the screen. This keeps up throughout the movie and annoyed me to the point of distraction.
The accents are incredible. That is, the total lack of them is amazing. The movie is set in London, yet hardly anyone actually has a British accent.
Special thanks to zombiebagles for posting this movie on YouTube.