In doing a bit of research about this movie I realized that it’s the first in a series and I’ve already seen and reviewed the third part: The Ghost Galleon. It was one of the first movies I reviewed on this site and looking back it follows a slightly different format to what I use now. Check it out for a sweet look at the dead to come in this horror series!
Strictly speaking this is NOT a zombie movie. In fact the director was upset when it was described as such. It’s really about a group of reanimated corpses that feed on the living more like vampires. He doesn’t think of them as idiotic shamblers like most people do. These things have direction and purpose. And I have to agree with him, strictly speaking, it’s not really a zombie movie. Just a movie about demonically possessed dead. And those are really revenants.
I’m loving the poster. The creepy dead images of the corpses with the blood read sky and background in silhouette. The Way the image is painted and the positions of the figures all work pretty well for me. The one thing that does make me laugh a bit though is the sort of herky-jerky look of the two zombies in front. The one on the left is gently nibbling on the woman’s shoulder while holding her hips ever so gently. Meanwhile his goofy friend on the right is sneaking in to cop a feel. And she’s in the middle with this look on her face that just says “Mom! They’re doing it again! Make them stop!” I know it’s trying to blend sexy with a horrific but it seems a little more comedic the longer I look at it. Still it’s a 1970s poster so I don’t mind it that much.
– Maybe this is a bit revisionist of me but the opening score reminds me a lot of the “kill kill kill” whisper from Friday the 13th and is kind of good! (Especially since this is 1971 and not simply ripping Jason off.)
– I can’t really give the filmmakers the credit for this but I couldn’t find a copy in English which spared me the horror of having to sit through some shitty dubbed version that replaces one set of ridiculous dialogue with another set of ridiculous dialogue that doesn’t match the actors’ mouths. So, y’know. I’ve got that going for me.
– There are a few scenes, mostly involving girls and steam whistles, my 14 year old self would be really amazed by. (At 37 they are just cheesy.)
– The “castle” is gorgeous. One amazing advantage of filming in the old world is old-world buildings to film in.
Overall the movie was sort of fun to watch with a beer and a buddy but only if you both like 70’s horror.
– In the opening shots, following a long slow build up of music we get a cheep looking skeleton hand slapping gently down on a wall? Rock? Something and a woman screams. Leaving us to wonder, what the hell is going on? This sets the tone for the rest of the movie, cheap dead effects, girls screaming, and castles.
– It’s slow. And I normally really don’t mind slow movies. This one just doesn’t go slow in a meaningful way for me. It drags.
– I am continuously baffled by why the Knights Templar were even invoked for this. They neither worshiped satan nor were zombific in the least. When they do come back from their graves it’s sort of ridiculous. There are all these dead creatures swarming the castle just to destroy one little girl trying to keep warm for the night. Was she a sinner and the knights wanted to punish her? Was she evil and they wanted her to join them? Were the knights just out to get whoever happened into their treehouse? Seems a bit of overkill.
– In this case it’s just the weird more than the ugly. I found this little gem on the wiki page about the film:
“Distributors planned to severely re-edit the film for its English language release and add a new opening scene to cash in on the success of the Planet of the Apes film series. The plan was to replace the film’s original setting with a post-Apocalyptic future in which the undead were deceased intelligent apes, similar to the ones seen in Planet of the Apes. Although the plan was abandoned, location footage from the film was edited together and a narration track explaining the premise was produced. The Blue Underground DVD contains both versions of the film (the original Spanish version is subtitled but not dubbed) and the unused “Planet of the Apes” opening sequence.”
OH MY GOD! Walking dead Planet of the Apes!? !? Incredible.