Category Archives: CINEMA.

DRACULA 2020-PART THREE.

What you have to do is look at this final episode with a mind that is open. and free from all other versions of DRACULA.

dracep

Well after watching part three of the BBC/NETFLIX production of an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA I am even more confused. But it does not take a lot to do that. I was born confused, so they tell me. This series has kind of turned the Stoker novel and the Hammer and other incarnations about the vampire lord on their head literally. The final part of the series brought Dracula into the present day, as I said previously Hammer tried this with SATANIC RITES and DRACULA AD 1972, and in my opinion this did not go well. However, vampires were brought into the present day in other movies such as COUNT YORGA, LOVE AT FIRST BITE and of course BLADE. And I have to say the BBC version as realised by Gatiss and Moffat for me did evoke the Blade concept within the last episode as in modern day and slightly seedy that packs a bit of a punch, with some of its scenes set in bars and clubs which have a pulsating dance music soundtrack. But and there is always a but isn’t there, I also began to find it a little silly, especially when Gatiss entered as Dracula’s lawyer Rheinfield.

This was I thought taking it too far, and the Van Helsing thing and the Johnathan Harker foundation, what the hell was this all about. Sorry but this was just too much for me. I know we must develop and maybe add things to established stories and this is all well and good if the situations, characters and scenarios that are added improve or make things slightly interesting. This adaptation did neither in fact it become a laughingstock by around the forty-minute mark. It’s all very well bringing this iconic gothic character into the 21st century, but where do you go from here, you can’t take him back in time can you? Well hang on maybe if Dr Who is not using his oops sorry her Tardis this could come to fruition. And whilst on the subject of the Doctor, you know THE DOCTOR, how about Dolly Wells as a contender for the next time lord, just putting it out there.

dracep3

 

Ok back to the lawyer bit, if you have Count Dracula locked up and are keeping him that way so that the world is a safer place, would you, I mean would you really let him go because a solicitor says you have to, really? I know the laws in the UK are slightly antiquated and barmy but, think about it. And if Dracula were here in this modern world would he really want to stay? I am really in a bit of a confused state now, not because of the elements of the last episode, but because I am actually enjoying watching it, it may be silly, it may not be Hammer but there are Hammer references definitely, and in this last episode too, the musical score came into its own, it was emotive and wonderfully melodic in places, especially in the closing minutes when Dracula finally walks into the sun light without disintegrating into a pile of dust, and realising finally that it was a beautiful thing.

I think the music as penned by composers David Arnold and Michael Price managed to bring out or at least show us that the Count maybe was not such a monster, adding a greater emotional atmosphere to the proceedings and showing us that this dark lord, was vulnerable and fragile like the humans he had been praying on for centuries. In fact, by the time the last episode reached its conclusion I felt a little sorry for him. There is very little doubt that there were some inventive ideas thrown in here by the writers and also ideas that led to scenarios that were thought provoking. Maybe I gave the first two episodes rather harsh and negative reviews, but with the last episode, I did warm to the Count, even if he did at times look a little like James Bond. So whats next for Gatiss and Moffat, FRANKENSTEIN? Or maybe the League of the Undead?

DRACULA (2020) BBC TV.

 

DRAC11

 

What we have to realise here and be conscious of is, that a review is merely a personal opinion, an opinion of the reviewer who’s taste in film, books and music or even a food may not be the same as everyone else. There are certain examples of what I call classics in literature that maybe should be left alone, there are also stories that have been filmed successfully and become popular that really should not be re-made or updated and altered, writers adding bits and pieces that they think are good or maybe will update the story and make it more appealing to the contemporary world. Movies such as GONE WITH THE WIND, THE ALAMO, EL CID, BEN HUR and their like should not be re-made, but sadly they are, and the end result is a lack lustre collection of films that fade into the mists of time never to be seen again. Now DRACULA by Bram Stoker has been made into a string of movies, each one tackling the content in a different way, the Universal pictures version with Bela Lugosi, although a cinematic classic was not that faithful at all to the Stoker novel but it certainly shocked audiences, the same can be said for DRACULA according to Hammer films, although this the first in the Hammer cycle is one of the better adaptations, with Christopher Lee taking on the role of the infamous Count. Then Hammer kind of lost their way after DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, with the films in the series focuses upon the more sexual content. Then came IL CONTE DRACULA directed by Jesus Franco, who although stuck to the story penned by Stoker, did add some of his little quirks, the director was said to have consulted Stokers novel each day before shooting.  Christopher Lee starred as a moustache wearing Count in this 1970.s adaptation. I think the best version of DRACULA was aired on the BBC in 1977 with Louis Jordan in the title role. Since then there have been many incarnations, BRAM STOKERS DRACULA as envisaged by Coppola and also the rather dark an off beat DRACULA UNTOLD as well as many films which attempted to place the count in a contemporary setting, whether they were successful or not is another matter.

DRAC8

 

Which brings me to the most recent apparition to hit the small screen over the festive and new year period, DRACULA, adapted by the same writing team that re-booted the iconic Sherlock Holmes, successfully or not? Well that I suppose is all down to individual taste. Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat did bring the popularity of the Master sleuth back into vogue via the series Sherlock, but there is the argument if he had ever gone out of the publics mind at all. DRACULA opened New Years day on BBC 1, many had been awaiting the return of the Count, but also an equal number of fans were dreading it because they were not sure which route the writers would take. I watched with an open mind and tried to dismiss all images of past vampire movies from my memory, which is hard task itself. I was also looking forward to the musical score, which is by David Arnold and Michael Price, the same composer collaboration on SHERLOCK. A collaboration that did bring forth several interesting and haunting musical moments.

DRAC5

However, on the new series opening, I was somewhat put out to see that it began with two nuns basically interrogating a dead looking individual who we soon discover to be Johnathan Harker (John Heffernan) Were there nuns in the Stoker novel? If I am wrong here I apologise, but it has been a while since I read it, there was a tiny section I think that had a convent mentioned, but other than that?  But, go with it, it is after all an adaptation, which like all adaptations are based upon maybe characters or even a scenario included within the original work. Harker tells his story to the nuns, one in particular Sister Agatha ( Dolly Wells) who questions him and enquires about the Count and Harker’s experience at castle Dracula is more focused on the task whilst the other sits quietly listening. It is a strange conversation, because the Nun is like no ordinary nun, and confesses that she does not believe in God to Harker, and then asks him did he have sexual intercourse with Count Dracula? Which left me somewhat puzzled, why would a nun ask this? Harker’s account of his time at castle Dracula is a nightmarish one, the nuns sitting listening intently , but every so often Sister Agatha questioning him deeper about his host. It was at this point I longed for something that resembled the Stoker story, which thankfully did manifest itself, and briefly there it was DRACULA as we know and love or loath or even fear it. Harker is driven to the castle, enters and begins his meal which has been left for him, the Count (Claes Bang) who is at this stage a haggard and ancient looking individual, enters and introduces himself to Harker. Harker offers the Count a drink to which he replies “No, I don’t drink (pauses) wine”. He then tells Harker he longs to go to London as the people in Transylvania lack flavour, which is something that Harker corrects saying “I think you mean character”.

DRAC9

 

The Count relays to Harker that he will not return to England the next day, but he will stay ay Castle Dracula for a month, to teach the Count English or at least better English. Harker is shocked, but sort of resigns himself to this situation. And this is where things begin to move faster, and also become somewhat hammy and stupid. The Count is obviously feeding off of Harker as he sleeps, and this is done well because we see the count becoming younger and more agile whilst Harker begins to look older and gaunt. We also see Harker exploring te nightmarish castle and sense his desperation as he can find no way out in the labyrinth of corridors and tunnels. The story goes back and forth from the interrogation with Sister Agnes to castle Dracula as Harker continues to tell the nuns of the horrendous times at the castle. I will say here that I was impressed with the sets and the staging of the production, but it was the dialogue I began to have a problem with, especially the Count himself, at first the accent was connivingly eastern European, but as he grew more youthful and stronger his accent slipped and became something that resembled more east end than east Europe.

DRAC7

There were the stupid one liners aswell, which for me evoked a similar aura to the wise cracks of James Bond when Roger Moore was in the role of 007, rather than a proud, noble if not evil Prince of Transylvania that had fought the Turks and vanquished many enemies, but there were no mention of these as is laid out in Stokers novel. Then we see that the so called journal Harker had kept, apparently contained none of what he had related to Sister Agnes, instead it was more of a love letter to Dracula, Dracula is God, Dracula is good etc.

 

Dracula - episode 1

 

It’s a funny thing I thought that DRACULA was a kind of love story but was a tale of a love lost in tragic circumstances, and the Count discovering the beautiful Mina (Harkers fiancée) and imagining it was his lost love, not a love story between Harker and the Count? But maybe that is the Coppola version filtering through snd mingling with my hazy memories if the book. By the time the stories both caught up with each other and were on the same timeline, I was even more confused, Nuns armed with sharpened stakes, and Sister Agnes, refusing to invite the vampire into the convent, the stand off between the Nun and the Count was impressive, each one attempting to get inside each other’s minds and the Count trying to trick her into letting him have access to the convent. It is at this point we discover that her full name is Agnes Van Helsing. so the plot thickens, or does it just now become even more silly?

 

The transformation of the Count from wolf to himself was also impressive and  something that was touched upon in John Badham’s DRACULA which starred Frank Langella. Hammer films I don’t think ever entered into the realms of Dracula changing shape or persona.(apart from in THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES) So, the Count eventually gains access to the convent because of Harker, and decapitates the Mother Superior before setting a pack of fierce and blood lusting wolves upon the remainder of the nuns, sitting and delivering such classic lines as “I AM UNDEAD , NOT UNREASONABLE, and OH THAT’S GOT TO HURT”. And before the carnage begins, throwing the Mother Superiors head over his shoulder in the same fashion a bride tosses her bouquet at waiting women, into the assembled Nuns.

DRAC1

 

Its all a bit bizarre I think, but was it entertaining, well actually no not really. Do I want to see more, Umm, again no not really, I might be wrong about this series, but somehow, I don’t think so? Only time will tell, as I can already see there is a very mixed reaction to this new style DRACULA.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The score by David Arnold and Michael Price, was nothing outstanding, even the theme for me was lacking something, but I will say I never actually heard any of the score whilst watching the episode, so maybe its doing its job and enhancing and supporting, God knows this production needs all the help and support it can get.

DRACA

 

 

Bang has his moments as Dracula, but it is the one liners that spoil this, without the jokes and the sometimes too modern sounding dialogue, this could have been something worth watching.  In finishing, If I was at the BBC I probably would have re-run the 1977 production, at least it was credible, this new version is more like a British comedy from the 1960’s or 1970’s, Maybe it should have been called I,M ALRIGHT DRAC?

Schindler’s List (25 years on).

 

3

 

Has it really been 25 years since Schindler’s List was released? Yes, it has, over a period of 25 years a lot has happened, but my recollection of this movie is still vivid and fresh in my mind. The impact that this film had upon audiences and generations was immense. In fact, when I was contemplating writing something about the films anniversary, I did think twice as I felt I could not put into words the feelings I had for it. It is a haunting and harrowing movie, a story that shocks and saddens and one, that makes you feel disgust at what the Jewish people suffered at the hands of monsters. It is also a movie that should be shown to everyone in the hope that awful events such as the Holocaust never happen again. But it saddens me to say that History has a terrible habit of repeating itself. And although there has not been anything on the scale of the Holocaust since WWll there have been many wars and conflicts that were all about ethnic cleansing. I saw the movie once in the cinema and it was such an emotional experience I could not go back but instead watched it in the confines of my own home.

 

I would think why did this happen? How could human beings do this to other humans, could I have done this even if it was war, could I have killed women and children without a second thought without any remorse any emotion, the answer is of course No. The thing about SCHINDLER’S LIST is that it a true story, it happened it was as awful it was as sickening and it was as terrifying as it is presented on the screen, in fact probably more so. These were real people, real lives, Sons, Daughters, Fathers, Mothers, Grandparents and Grandchildren.

 

 

All I remember when leaving the cinema after seeing the movie was a sense of loss, of emptiness and of shock. The black and white images made it seem even more real. The film is set in Krakow during the second world war the Germans which are occupying the city have forced Polish Jews into the Ghetto, which is already overcrowded and squalid. Oskar Schindler, who is German, and a businessman arrives in the City, he is hoping to use cheap Jewish labour to make money and become a wealthy. Schindler is a member of the Nazi party and bribes German high-ranking officers and members of the infamous SS so that he can establish a factory where his workforce will produce Enamelware. Schindler then enlists the assistance of Itzhak Stern who is a local Jewish official who has good standing in the community and has many contacts with black market dealers. Stern helps Schindler to get financing for the factory. Schindler stays close to the Nazi’s and begins to reap the rewards both monetarily and status wise. Stern meanwhile takes care of the administration side of things, Schindler insists on employing Jewish workers because they are cheap labour, and Stern all the time is adamant that they are important for the German war effort, thus stopping them being sent to concentration camps or murdered by the Nazi’s.

 


The SS send a hard line second lieutenant to Krakow who is put in charge of the construction of the Plaszow Concentration Camp, a task that he relishes and one that is soon completed. When the camp is deemed ready the German officer orders that the Ghetto be emptied, during the liquidation of the Ghetto many people are killed. Schindler witness’s the carnage and is affected by the horrors that he has seen. He is drawn to a young girl in a red coat who he sees hiding from the soldiers. He later sees her tiny body in a wagon filled with corpses. Schindler knows that he must maintain friendly terms with the Nazi’s and the SS officer, who after the emptying of the Ghetto takes to using Jewish prisoners and workers as target practise as he stands on the balcony of his villa. Schindler bribes him and gives him expensive gifts so that he can still have the support of the SS. As Schindler spends more time at the factory he concentrates less upon making money and more and more upon saving the lives of the Jewish people. He then bribes the SS officer and can build another camp. The Germans start to lose the war and the Reich order that the prisoners at Plaszow are to be shipped to Auschwitz, but Schindler convinces the SS officer to allow him to take his workers to a new factory in Brinnlitz which is close to Schindler’s home town.

schindlers-list-liam-neeson-and-ben-kingsley-schindler-ftr

 

Together Stern and Schindler create a list which has the names of over 800 people on it. These are the Jews that will be transferred to the new factory. But things go horribly wrong when the train carrying them is wrongly re-directed to Auschwitz, Schindler is on hand again and bribes the commandant of the camp with a bag of diamonds to release them. At the new factory, Schindler will not allow the SS onto the factory production floor and encourages the workers to observe their Sabbath. Over the next eight months or so Schindler spends much of his fortune on bribes to high ranking officers in the German army and the SS, to keep his workforce safe.

 

As the war comes to an end Schindler runs out of money, and he must leave because he is still seen as a Nazi party member and the Russian Army is fast approaching. In his last act before leaving he convinces the German guards at the factory not to kill the Jewish workers there, and employs them to leave too, so that they may return to their families as men and not as murderers. Schindler says goodbye to his workers hoping to head away from the Russians and eventually surrender to the Americans who are approaching from the west. Before he goes, his workers present him with a signed statement, saying that he played a major role in saving Jewish lives and they also give him a ring that is engraved with a quote that reads WHOEVER SAVES ONE LIFE SAVES THE ENTIRE WORLD. Schindler is touched but also feels ashamed as he feels he should have done more.

schindler-s-list-original
Spielberg’s movie is an iconic production, and one that will live forever in the minds of all who have seen it. The musical score was by long time Spielberg collaborator John Williams who created a highly emotive soundtrack to underline the events that are unfolding on screen. Williams enlisting the flawless playing of violinist Itzhak Perlman, which added a fragility and a richness to the work.

johnwilliamspng

The cue I COULD HAVE DONE MORE is particularly poignant and affecting. The score is one that I listen to regularly, and on each listen, I am still moved to tears, its fragility and emotive content being heartrending and effecting. Which is why I pleased to hear that the score will be re-released this December on La La Land records in a two CD set. This is Spielberg’s masterpiece and a homage to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, it is also a film that contains one of composer John Williams most emotional scores.

 

 

 

KRULL.

 

krull

 

I suppose at the time of its release KRULL was a kid’s dream or fantasy come true, a real swashbuckler which had definite influences from the story of THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE and heavily influenced by Greek mythology and tales of a galaxy far far away. There are also borrowed themes and scenarios that we all know are the work of Tolkien, but hey, did we or do we really care, did we embrace it, believe it and love it, yep we did. Ok let’s go back 35 years now remember this is pre-internet, in fact pre-almost everything that we today take for granted. I know as well as you all do that KRULL was probably not the best movie ever made, but it had its moments of excitement, magic and romance, at the centre of the story there was the love and romance between a prince and princess, who were being kept apart by an evil and what we thought was an unstoppable evil.

krull-1983-03-g

 

The similarities between it and STAR WARS is today even more evident, simply because we as a cinema going public are all familiar with the themes that are within the STAR WARS saga. KRULL begins in a similar way to the original STAR WARS movie, with what could be a gigantic space ship floating through the darkness of space, this ominous looking sight sets the scene for what is to follow and the movie which is filled with Knights, Slayers, Heroes, Villains, Large Spiders and Evil Tyrants. Yes, there were several films made after the success of STAR WARS that attempted to cash in on the popularity of the movie, STARCRASH for example, (a bad example, but nevertheless an example). The reason KRULL was just a little bit more impressive was partly due to the director Peter Yates, he after all was a seasoned filmmaker and in the hands of anyone less KRULL probably would have sunk without trace.

 

 

But, it was not just STAR WARS that KRULL borrowed from, the story was a combination of many storylines, tales and movies that had gone before. It not only included the age-old battle between good and evil, but there was the mystical and the mythology, the movie including FIRE MARES and a CYCLOPS. The opening which shows the approach of what we at first think is a space ship, is in fact a Black and powerful tower, a castle of sorts where an evil beast like ruler resides with his army of slayers, who are not a million miles away from storm troopers when you think about it.

krull2-1024

 

The black tower settles on the planet of KRULL, and this is when the battle between light and darkness commences. The lead in the movie is played by Ken Marshall who portrays Colwyn, he is a hero in the true style of Hollywood, by this I mean if the movie had been made back in the 1940’s this would have been role for the likes of Tyrone Power or even Errol Flynn. Colwyn is about to become the husband of the beautiful Princess Lyssa played by Lysette Anthony, but the Beast sends his army of slayers to attack the castle where the wedding is to take place and after some resistance the slayers capture the Princess and whisk her off to the black tower where she is held captive by the Beast. Colwyn vows to rescue his love and thus the quest and the action begins. Colwyn is joined by a wise man Ynvr played by the excellent Freddie Jones, together they set off to rescue the Princess and hopefully to rid KRULL of the Beast and his black Slayers.

Krull1-615x263

 

Along the way they begin to collect a rag bag collection of friends and mercenaries who are willing to follow them. Among these are, a magician who struggles to get his tricks right and even manages to turn himself into a goose at one point, Ergo the Magnificent is wonderfully portrayed by David Battley. Then we have the Cyclops, who is gentle and laid back played by veteran actor Bernard Bresslaw in some convincing make up and a million miles away from his performances in the Carry-on movies where he would normally play a somewhat dim individual. Also joining the good guys is Liam Neeson, a very fresh-faced Liam plays one of the criminals that Colwyn convinces to join him, KRULL was Neeson’s third movie, and this was a very small part for the actor, but as they say the mighty oak from tiny acorns does grow. Two more familiar faces in the line up are Todd Carty of East Enders fame, but Carty had been selected for his popular role of Tucker in Grange Hill by the producers of KRULL, maybe as a way of getting a younger audience interested in the movie.

krull_2l

Robbie Coltrane also appears, but his Scottish accent proved to be a problem so for KRULL his voice was dubbed by actor Michael Elphick. Another star of the film was not a human but an armament, in the form of a Glaive weapon, which Colwyn plucks from the hot and fiery lava. The Slayers laser spears too are impressive as were the slayers themselves, the ominous looking armour being enough to strike terror into the hearts and souls of anyone that they were hunting. They were even more threatening and unsettling because they were mute and made no sound unless they were dying, when they let out an ear-piercing scream as a snake like form is spewed from their body.
In fact when you look at it, there are a number of harrowing and impressive moments of horror within the movie, the giant spider sequence for example, and the scene where a seer is possessed by an evil shape shifting entity which has black eyes. The set designs on the movie were also impressive, especially the interiors of the Black Tower, complete with moving walls, floors that swallow up people and walls that also suddenly become filled with spikes.

 


Inside the Black Tower we see our band of brave hero’s falling one by one as they strive to rescue the Princess in distress, and maybe we see too many of the good guys fall, it is a harsh and surprising end to a tale of heroism as many of the band of brave mercenaries are dispatched by the forces of evil. It all ends well, and normality and light are restored as Colwyn and his love are re-united.

12 page insert

One of the movies most outstanding attributes was the rousing score composed by James Horner, he was just 30 years of age when he scored the movie, and his score is magnificent, the cue the RIDING OF THE FIRE MARES is outstanding as is his LOVE THEME for the movie, and when you think that he scored this as well as BRAINSTORM and GORKY PARK in the same year it something of a major feat for a composer who was so young. At the start of his career Horner would score low budget movies with large symphonic soundtracks and this practise put him good stead for films such as KRULL, WILLOW and The STAR TREK films he scored. His first big break came in 1980 when he wrote a stirring score for Roger Cormans BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, which was the soundtrack that made collectors, critics and producers sit up and take notice. He followed this with THE HAND and WOLFEN his atmospheric score for the latter replacing music that had already been submitted by composer Craig Safan.

HORNER

Horner was in my opinion a rare talent and was involved with many of the big blockbusters that hit the screens during the 1980’s at times his music being more memorable than the films it was intended to support. The soundtrack album for KRULL was initially released on a French label which also contained dialogue from the movie in French, the soundtrack was then issued on a long-playing album, and eventually made onto CD and later was released in its full score form by LA LA LAND records in the United States.

 

 
It is without a doubt one of the composers most popular works and in many ways one of his most complex, and to this day remains a firm favourite with film music devotees around the world.

THE BLIND DEAD.

 

blind dead 4

 

 

Directed by Spanish filmmaker Amando de Ossorio, TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD is probably the film that the majority of film buffs associate with he director. The production is now regarded as a classic and I have to say I agree with the film having the iconic and cult status it has been given. Before directing the movie De Ossario had already made several westerns that did not make much of an impression on cinema goers and critics alike. He also directed the offbeat and quite bizarre Vampire movie MALENKA in 1969. But he certainly placed his own style and individual fingerprint upon the horror genre when he embarked on his series of movies that were in the BLIND DEAD cycle of films.

 

The first of which was TOMB OF THE BLIND DEAD, and had three sequels RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD, THE GHOST GALLEON and NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS. All the movies focus on a group of undead Templar Knights who had been put to death because of their wicked practices and worship of Satan. These eyeless and fearsome Knights rise from the dead to seek out the living and drink their blood, but because of their eyes being eaten by crows as they were left hanging after being killed they have to rely upon sounds to track down and capture their human prey.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Templers rise from the dead and appear as skeleton like figures shrouded in dirt encrusted robes riding fearsome looking steeds which are too skeletal in appearance. The films storyline is somewhat thin and un-complicated but because of the way in which De Ossorio handles the direction it is also an incredibly effective and atmospheric movie, the director creating some of the most haunting and fearful imagery seen in a horror movie. Yes, the film has its flaws and also has moments that can get a few unintentional laughs, but on the whole.

 

 

The scenario of the Templers being blind and having to rely on the sound of their victims to track them is an ingenious element of the storyline and also somewhat unfortunate for the human characters who seem to purposely go about their day and night making enough noise to (excuse the pun) wake the dead. Also, they do get into a bit of an uncontrollable state and often become hysterical and loud thus sealing their own fate. However, after they begin to realise that it is their sounds that the Templers are picking up on they begin to be silent but even this does not help them as the undead can apparently hear the beating of a human heart.

Amando de Ossorio
The musical score is by highly respected Spanish composer, Anton Garcia Abril, who provided the movie with a serviceable soundtrack and although not outstanding it works well with the images on screen. The composer employing a Gregorian chant sound that is punctuated with unnerving stabs and sounds, it is a fusion of instrumental and vocal performances with the composer often utilising screams and  percussive elements to enhance and support the storyline and build a taught and foreboding atmosphere. The opening credits music is heard at various stages throughout the movie or at least variations of the theme of sorts, and the sight of the Blind Dead accompanied by the apprehensive and unsettling sounds is most effective. It is a shame that the scores for the BLIND DEAD series were never released although there are examples and snippets from the soundtracks available on sites such as You Tube. Hopefully soon a record label in Spain will maybe attempt to restore the soundtracks and remedy this.  The composers music is I suppose quite modern sounding given the period in which it was created, and on taking a listen to it one can appreciate that Abril’s music, sounds and ideas have influenced many other horror film scores that have followed, THE OMEN  for example.   The film also contains a handful of sex scenes which to be quite honest are surplus to requirement and the director need not have bothered, as there is enough going on for the watching audience in the way of dusty corridors, blood letting and the impressively gruesome appearance of the undead Knights Templar. I think De Ossario inserted these as a kind of homage to Jess Franco or at least was trying to emulate the filmmaker. But, it is the effectively spine-chilling atmosphere and gruesome imagery that make this movie attractive to students of the horror genre. The director was also responsible for creating the make up for the Templers which is so effective and is really something that must have been conceived in a nightmare. The sight of the skeletal phantom like Knights riding their ghostlike horses filmed in slow motion is more than effective, it is resoundingly affecting also. Its not the greatest movie ever made, but it is a worthy addition to any ones Horror film collection. And why stop at just adding the first of the series to your collection, the second movie in the cycle, RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD, which is loosely based upon George A Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, the plot revolving around the Zombie like Knights Templar who are looking for revenge on the village and its inhabitants that had 500 years before put them to death. The village celebrates the event annually and burn effigies of the Knights, but after they offer a sacrifice the Knights awaken and mount their terrifying steeds and converge upon the village murdering anyone and everything in their way.

 

The surviving villagers head to the deserted Cathedral where they try to keep the Knights at bay attempting to escape death at the hands of the sword wielding Zombie’s. Again, directed by De Ossario it is in my opinion slightly better made than its predecessor its plot being more interesting and containing more action, although it is not in sync with the storyline of the previous movie, the location of the village changing from Berzano to Bouzano for example, it remains entertaining. Music is again courtesy of Anton Garcia Abril.