Vengeance From the Grave – Return of the Blind Dead (1973)

The second film of Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead quadrilogy finds a man who has been belittled by everybody; seek revenge by raising the ancient knights from their rest to right the wrongs done to him.  Yet, his wrongs are nothing compared to the actions taken against the knights those long years ago.  Now that they are free, they are going to set their vengeance upon the town and what better time than the night that features the celebration of their death.  Ossorio delivers a fairly straight-forward plot in this one, but throw in a love triangle between the main characters and fill the streets with people and you have a disaster just waiting to happen.

return-of-the-evil-dead-ataque-de-los-muertos-sin-ojos-1The biggest sin that this film perpetuates is the assumption that it is a sequel to the first movie when in fact, it is not.  They are tied together of course, but the only thing that this film carries over is a very similar origin for the knights as well as featuring the creatures themselves.  Other than that, the film is an entirely new entity and should be treated as such if you are going to watch it.  So yes, the knights come back and they start their reign of terror, killing those or at least the descendants of those that they feel were responsible for their deaths a long time ago.  One of the main ingredients that Ossorio kept was the fact that they are both blind and also self-aware.  It worked exceedingly well in the first film and it is good to see that he kept the best parts of his creatures around in this second one.  He did seem to drop the more vampiric like aspects of his creations, and where there were a few knights in the first movie, there are quite a few here.  Unlike the first film though, these knights seem a lot smarter, corralling everyone in the town and then setting up guards so that nobody can escape.  They might be desiccated corpses, but they have brains.

el_ataque_de_los_muertos_sin_ojos_3-grandeAmidst the horror of a town under siege by the undead, Ossorio decides to throw in a bit of drama and romance to keep things interesting and it manages to succeed. We are introduced to a man named Jack who is in love with the mayor’s fiancé.  The mayor is unaware at first, but when he finds out, things heat up just as much as the fire that they use to keep the zombie knights at bay.  Tony Kendall and Esperanza Roy play Jack and Vivian respectively and they work extremely well together as between them, their scenes come easy and naturally.  Fernando Sancho who plays the mayor is, for all intents and purposes, just as much the opposition as the knights are.  Adding to the drama even more is Dacosta played by Frank Braña who is just as conniving, though not as cold as his boss, the mayor.  Dacosta is also in love with Vivian and it literally drives him mad to see her with another man which leads to him nearly raping her.  Ossorio might throw the focus of the film onto his undead creations, but he shows that evil can also come from the living and that it can be just as bad, if not worse.

Oftentimes a sequel is not as good as its predecessor as has been proven many times over, but this film is, even if only for the fact that it is completely unlike the movie that came before it.  The horror is just as palpable and the suspense just as taut.  Comparatively speaking, the film is not as slow as the first one and does feature quite a bit of action, which in turn keeps things moving at quite a brisk pace, but in the end it is almost like comparing apples and oranges.  El Ataque de los Muertos Sin Ojos, as the film is known originally, is a great horror movie overall but it would have been nice to see a continuation of the first film rather than one that simply reimagines what has come before.

4 out of 5

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