SHOCKtober 2012 – Day 24: Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)

Man, oh man. Tombs of the Blind Dead delivers. It begins innocent enough with a girl in a shower… it’s a beach shower next to a pool, get your mind out of the gutter! Betty is showering and another woman, Virginia, calls out to her. They are old friends. Quickly they catch up and V tells B that she and a friend are going camping and that B should come. At the sound of his name, Roger climbs up out of the pool and immediately begins to flirt with B. But doesn’t she see that V is totally upset by this?!

The next morning at the train, because you always take a train to go camping, R and V are waiting for B and her guest, but B’s guest doesn’t show up. B tries to back out of the trip, but R convinces her to go. V is so angry!!

Once on the train, R and B are all flirting again, and V stomps off to get some air. B goes out to see what is the matter and we get a dream sequence where we learn that V isn’t upset that B is flirting with R, she’s upset that R is flirting with B! Total lesbo! Then R shows up and ruins everything!  V gets super angry, goes back to her seat and even asks the guy checking tickets if they can stop the train. But he says the train never stops here. V really wants off though, and the train is pretty slow, so she gets her bag and jumps off the train. B and R call out to her but they stay on the train. R does pull the emergency cord, but the guy driving the train won’t stop because the area is cursed.

V walks until she finds an abandoned town in ruins. She makes a camp and goes to sleep. Zombies – very cool looking Zs, Zs on zombie horses – rise up from their graves and totally chase her around. She climbs on a zombie horse and tries to escape, but they run her down and drink her blood.

The next day, B and R rent horses and go looking for V. They find her shoe in the ruins after their horses run off, and they also run into cops who inform them that V has been murdered!! B and R identify the body and head off to find out more about the ruins. Then V gets up, totally one of the undead, and kills the coroner! V then tracks down B’s work, but B isn’t there, and the girl who is there sets V on fire which destroys her undead life!

B and R find out that the Zs might be Templars who returned from the crusades with Egyptian artifacts and Satanic rites. They killed people and drank blood until the townspeople captured the Ts and hung them from trees until birds plucked out their eyes. Now the Ts rise as TZs each night to continue drinking blood! But that’s not enough to scare off B and R. They get a couple new friends and head out to spend the night at the ruins. Well, the TZs rise and attack them. B manages to run away and she sees the train. This time the train stops…

Okay, this tween/valley girl shorthand is going to stop for a moment, because something happens here that makes me very very angry when it comes to horror films. Betty is running for the train, she trips and rolls down a small (very small) hill. The conductor jumps from the train to help her. As he does, the zombies ride up on their zombie horses, get off their horses, and slowly walks toward the train. This takes, almost literally, 2 minutes. During that time, the girl is acting like she is paralyzed form the waist down. The guy is dragging her and she is just dead weight. Even if I had a broken ankle or broken leg, with zombies that close, I think I could quite easily ignore the pain for the 8 seconds it would take to hobble over to the train and get the heck out of Dodge. Instead, the conductor has to struggle with her, wasting time, finally getting her into the train but now surrounded by slow blind zombies. He dies. The engineer dies. Everyone else on the train dies. But now, her legs totally working fine, Betty climbs atop the pile of wood for the engine. The train begins moving again because the brake is released and it heads to its usual destination. When it stops, Betty climbs off the train. Everyone else is dead. Everyone died because this woman couldn’t get up and move before. The conductor should have dropped her ass on the ground, gotten back in the train and drove off. That’s my one and only complaint about this movie.

… so, anyway, B, whose hair looks totally icky, looks back at the train and screams!

The main thing for me about this movie is the zombies. 100% practical effects, and they look way more convincing than some of the CGI garbage we see in newer movies. They totally work, and despite the horse riding, they are nice slow zombies of the inevitable doom sort. Now I was to watch the rest of the series, of which there are three more. But here, take a gander at a few stills of the zombies of Tombs of the Blind Dead.

Be sure to keep an eye on Final Girl and the rest of SHOCKtober.

UPDATE: Check out other participants – Blog @ Rotten Cotton, Life Between Frames, nijomu

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