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El Buque maldito suffers from several alternate titles, perhaps distributors
fear a stigma if it is out in the open about being the third of the Blind
Dead movies? Amando de Ossorio delights those that follow the Blind Dead
series with a third installment. I have to admit those pesky Templars seem
to end up just about everywhere by the time you've made it through the
This review deals with the cut version, as I have been unable to locate an
uncut version as much as I would like to find it. Special effects are
adequate although the ghost ship that is the Templars' residence this time
is severely lacking. The sets themselves are decidedly creepy and evocative.
Given, most hardened viewers will not find themselves terrified by the
lumbering skeletons and may well ridicule the slow moving protagonists in
this film. By today's horror standards the Templars are not the most
threatening but make up for their snail pace by just being patiently
Dubbing is a disaster in this film, all foreign horror films for the 70's
and 80's get the royal raspberry treatment when it comes to dubbing. The
lines are delivered dead pan and generally seem more concerned with matching
lip movement than conveying plot points. Anyone familiar with the Blind Dead
mythos will most likely figure out there's more going on within the ship
than just the Templars randomly killing. I assume the sacrifice scenes ended
up chopped out of the release I watched.
The film has its weak points as well as strong. None of the characters are
particularly likeable, although all the females are decidedly attractive.
Apparently Ossorio decided to spice the weaknesses of the film up by
distracting the male audience with eye-candy. The plastic ghost ship in the
bathtub may cause humorous howls from the more FX sensitive.
The film is atmospheric and conveys dread with an even hand. The camera work is excellent throughout. More than anything else the film is purely hamstrung by budgetary constraints. The confined space of the galleon apparently reduced the budget but not near enough to cover all the bases.
If you enjoyed Amando de Ossorio's previous Blind Dead films this one should not disappoint. Others may find the film too slow moving and come away disappointed.
Although one wouldn't know by the title,this is the third entry in the
Spanish Amanda De Ossorio directed Blind Dead series,and as usual
doesn't really have anything to do with the others except the Blind
Dead themselves,those scary skeletal Templar knight zombies. This film
is often considered the worst of the series,and it's certainly the
tamest in terms of gore,but it's actually a very underrated film.
Skillfully exploiting it's main setting-a ghostly ship,Ossorio really manages to turn somewhat unpromising material into something quite effective. Yes,the plot hardly exists-some people are stranded on a ship inhabited by the Blind Dead,and that's really it,but the build up is ominous,the interior of the ship is made into quite a frightening place even without the Dead,and the Dead themselves,even shorn of their horses,are extremely creepy. Ossorio doesn't really get round the problem of the Dead being extremely slow moving yet able to catch their victims,but the climax of the film features the most effective shots of the Dead in the series,rising out of the water,looking truly spooky.
Hardly a classic,and there's no getting away from the unconvincing models of the ship,but this film really works very well within it's limitations.
This film was my first introduction to the severely underrated Blind Dead mythos. Despite their age, they stand as some of the most hauntingly eerie and frightening horror films of all time. The film centers (for its first half) around two models (we shall call them #1 and #2) lost at sea on their way to an assignment who come across an old Galleon. #1 goes aboard, #2 too frightened to come aboard, and disappears. After a long contemplation, #2 decides to face her fear and board the decrepit vessel. Naturally, #1 does not answer her calls, and she assumes it is simply a cruel joke and camps out in one of the ship's rooms. Eventually, she is awakened to a noise outside and becomes confronted with the ship's long dead crew of 13th century Templar Knights. They slowly approach, extending their skeletal arms. Of course, #2 attempts to escape, however, her attempts are futile as she is caught and (almost gloriously in a sickeningly sadistic way) lifted onto the shoulders of the knights and carried off to certain death. I suppose it is hard to look at such films objectively without Wes Craven's cleverly written satire "Scream" coming to mind. As the second model tried feebly to escape the malicious Templars, the line "always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door!" reverberated in my head and I fought the urge to laugh as I was seeing this principle in action. Then I realized just how much principles such as those addressed in Scream fail to work outside the other Wes Craven films. The fact of the matter is, #2 did try the "front door" (the boat) but the boat had vanished. So, at that point, all she could do was run feebly "up the stairs". It is easy for us the viewer to make such remarks at such situations considering that we are not there on that galleon surrounded by bloodthirsty Templars. It is a simple fact of human nature that in situations of high stress, coherent thought becomes jarbled as raw instinct (and the will to survive) takes over, making even the most futile escape routes seem like open doors to havens of unrivaled safety. So, to all those who have lambasted such works of art as this for such reasons as those presented in "Scream", try to tell yourself to run out the front door instead of running up the stairs whenever you're being attacked by a deranged killer (or killers, alive or undead!). In conclusion, the Blind Dead series stands as the epitome of the horror film for their abilities to make the sly, satirical remarks of "Scream" fans null and void in the face of true danger.
The Blind Dead leave the sanctuary of the Templar's crumbling monastery
for the third in the series, the floating fright-fest Horror of The
Zombies (aka The Ghost Galleon). If there was ever a film that's rooted
firmly in the decade from which it sprung, it's this one. Oh, and
Saturday Night Fever, but this one's from 1974: pre-disco, and
Now, if we've all forgotten just how senselessly ugly Seventies fashions were, the opener will bring it all kicking and screaming back to us. It's at a swim-wear photo shoot, where top model Noemi is looking for her missing girlfriend. She's taken to a secret location by photo-frau Lillian (Maria Perschy) where the great mystery is revealed her girlfriend Cathy and another model are out in the middle of the ocean as part of an elaborate publicity stunt to promote a weather-controlled boat, cooked up by cocky financier Howard Tucker (Jack Taylor).
Unfortunately for the girls, the fog rolls in (although, being the Seventies, everyone is huffing away on cigarettes and cigars, so how would you notice), and an ancient galleon, seemingly abandoned with rags for sails, floats into view. The girls radio the news of the Ghost Galleon back to base; the resident token egghead Professor Gruber goes a little strange, and despite his rigorous scientific training, suggests the legendary Ghost Galleon is from a another dimension outside of time and space. Clearly a huge fan of Eric von Daniken, Gruber seems to have read one too many supermarket paperbacks on the Bermuda Triangle, but, like I said, it's the Seventies we ALL read Von Daniken. The girl's are here, he reasons, but they're not, and they won't be coming back. Nothing is real the ship, the fog, you or I... A philosophical paradox, for sure, but the real mystery is this: how de Ossorio stretches such a flimsy premise to feature length truly defies all scientific explanation.
So of course they all go looking for the Galleon and the missing bikinis, or maybe Howard Tucker wants his speedboat back. Cue more fog, and the resurrected skeletons of the Knights Templar rising from their on-board coffins. We soon discover on a 16th Century boat, there really is nowhere to run. Or, you could swim, but wait for the water-logged ending to drown that theory. "Preposterous" is the key word here de Ossorio asks a great deal of his viewers to suspend belief when what amounts to little more than chicken bones drags a fully grown woman down a flight of stairs to her complete and utter dismemberment.
Horror Of The Zombies features the two most popular stars in Spanish horror. Austrian-born Maria Perschy, and American expatriate Jack Taylor who starred in a string of no-budget shockers for Jess Franco and decided he couldn't go home ever again. And yet Horror Of The Zombies was the least successful of the Blind Dead quartet. Perhaps the film strayed too far from the formula, although how could you go wrong: girls in bikinis on a boat with zombies? Despite its limited scope, micro-cast and tendency to be stage-bound, it's still an entertaining exercise in tension, atmospheric and illogic, and the empty eye sockets of the Knights Templar are always a welcome sight.
All I can say now is "Welcome aboard" for a cruise into another dimension of TERROR! with the 1974 Horror Of The Zombies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all, "Horror Of the Zombies" (the title of the version I saw)
makes it sound like the movie is about something that scares the living
dead. This turns out not to be the case. If fact, these aren't
conventional "zombies" at all; they are more like undead pirate
skeleton mummies; and it turns out that this is actually a sequel in a
franchise called "The Blind Dead". Now, if you ask me, "The Blind Dead"
is a much creepier (and much less overused) concept and would stand out
quite a bit from the usual overexposed run of undead horror flicks, so
the distributor was missing on a good bet here.
Apparently this particular variety of skeleton mummy has a predilection for attacking European supermodels (or whoever the producers can afford to hire to pretend to be supermodels) and there is an ugly violent sexual undertone to much of the proceedings. This includes a nasty gratuitous rape scene near the beginning and two excruciatingly extended scenes where young women are dragged, screaming and begging for help, to their doom. None of this is visually all that explicit, but the soundtrack is mixed way up to capture every gasp, sob, and moan from the young women. I realize that this is a "grindhouse" film, and so that is a large reason for the film to exist in the first place, but it still means the film doesn't age very well.
On the good side: cool looking zombie designs, with the skeletal figures, tattered cloaks and empty, shadowy eye sockets; they're nicely framed and shot and the best parts of the movie consist of watching them advance like a wave of human leprosy. They really do look implacable and sinister (as opposed to the normal run of zombies, who are somehow pathetic in their advanced states of decomposition). Also good is the rest of the art direction and the set design for the main set of the ghost ship; the swirling fog and gloomy sets really do give the impression of a pocket version of Hell. And someone had the brilliant notion to accompany the march of the undead skeletons with some disturbing chants and antiphonal choral sounds; these add a great deal of ooomph to the impact of the actual zombie scenes. And the last five minutes or so deliver a nice, grim comeuppance of sorts.
On the negative side, the camera keeps cutting from the viscerally creepy and claustrophobic closed sets to one of the worst miniatures of a ship since...actually, these are even worse than the miniature effects in "Danger! Death Ray", which previously held that title. Looking at these travesties of a so-called "ghost galleon" completely undercuts all the atmosphere and tension, and the effects where coffins sink to the ocean floor are even worse. (Why didn't the director just show the coffins sinking into the water on the surface when he saw how awful the miniatures of the coffins on the ocean floor were? Was he that desperate for usable footage?)
But mostly, the screenplay just doesn't deliver. Most of the scenes leading up to the Undead's appearances drag like leaden galoshes. The characters (with the exception of the professor) are not likable or admirable at all (it was nice that "Supermodel" Noemi was concerned about the fate of her best friend, but I was almost happy when she got killed off after 50+ minutes of watching her). The logic of the film is constantly falling apart - since when does a professor "just know a little bit about exorcisms", and since when did exorcisms involve brandishing a flaming cross? If the zombies only attack at night, why did they rise off the ocean floor in the middle of the day? If the zombies come up from the hold when they attack, why didn't the party find a way to seal the hatch? And the "acting" is barely there - all though I will admit that the dubbing here is not as awful as you would normally expect in a cheapie like this. Maybe the guy who did the sound design for the zombie attack sequences had a hand in the ADR and mixing of the vocals for the English version.
Based on this entry I might conceivably watch the first "Blind Dead" movie if it appeared on a cable channel or something. Mummy skeletons in cloaks are never a complete waste of time...but this one comes close. If not for the final three minutes of the film (which are reminiscent of some of John Carpenter's grimmer tales), I'd rate it even lower.
This is one of the entries in Ossorios' Templar zombie series. The Templars were witches burned alive at the stake thousands of years ago. They are back as skeletal zombies. This one is the best of the series. Atmospheric and spooky it's worth a look. Don't expect digital effects like your modern so called horror film, but expect an actual HORROR FILM!! If you like this one check out the other Templar films, Tombs Of the Blind Dead, Return Of the Evil Dead or Fangs Of the Living Dead(not easy to find). Digital effects are destroying horror films, if your not a fan of the older stuff, go to your local video store, look in the old horror section, and rent some REAL STUFF!!
note: this review is of the US release version, titled HORROR OF THE ZOMBIES and released by Independent-International. While this is part of the famous Spanish "Blind Dead" series, it has little to do with the others and has a completely different feel. The ancient zombies do appear, but this time they are at sea in a plot that reminded me initially of THE PLAYGIRLS AND THE VAMPIRE. There's not much gore and except for one ugly sexual attack (committed by one of the human cast, not by a zombie), there's little here you couldn't show to a 12 year old. In fact, this is really an old-fashioned zombie film--an abandoned old Spanish galleon that seems to exist in another dimension is stumbled across by two young models on a publicity stunt in the sea, and it turns out to be populated by the Blind Dead. The whole film plays like an amusement park haunted house--the kind where you cruise through it in a boat and are exposed to shocking sights, zombies flying out at you, etc. I found the film wonderfully entertaining on that level. I don't really care for gore films, so I found the tame nature of the film to be refreshing. The two "stars" in the film (in other words, NOT the models or the professor who is enlisted to help in the mission) are old favorites of international b-movies, Jack Taylor (legendary for his Mexican horror films and Spanish films of all types) and the lovely Maria Perschy, and like most established actors who find themselves in these type of films, they manage to keep a straight face yet communicate that they are having as much fun as the audience. Some viewers have complained about the many cheap-looking miniatures used for the ship, but they are well-done in an old Republic Picture serial kind of way, and those who cannot go beyond today's computer generated effects need to get a little "willing suspension of disbelief" and have some fun. Overall, this is a wonderful, old-fashioned zombie film that is quite unlike the rest of the Blind Dead series in tone and in amount of gore. You can still find the VHS of the US release titled HORROR OF THE ZOMBIES for next to nothing used (mine cost 99 cents), and except for not being letter-boxed, it's supposedly the same cut as that now being sold on a new Blue Underground DVD.
I read that this is the weakest of the 4 Blind Dead movies, but it isnt
bad. I found it on the cheapo Brentwood 4 film DVD set called Horror Rises
From The Grave - in this set the film is titled Zombie Flesh Eaters. Found
in the cheapo bin at a huge chain video store inhabiting 99% of all
malls. The print is passable, but not great. The title sequence is
missing (probably to accommodate the name change), the lack of gore and
nudity make me think that this version is a TV edit, but until they
a Criterion version, this one is OK.
Typical ghost ship story, with a couple of twists. Namely the ghost ship is full of Templars. Creepy scenes with the bearded Templars running around in their grubby oilskin robes are so well done that they excuse surreally wooden dialog, huge plot holes and the all time goofiest burning toy ship in a bathtub scene you will ever see. Classic!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Plot Synopsis: Sporting goods magnate Howard Tucker sends two models in
a speedboat into the Atlantic for a publicity stunt. Contact with the
pair is lost, but not before they report being stuck in a fog & coming
into contact with a 16th Century galleon. Along with another model, his
modelling agent, a henchman & a scientist, Tucker organizes an
expedition to find the missing models. They board the galleon where
they encounter the blind zombies of the Knights Templar, who were
banished to the sea for devil-worship.
Film Review: The Ghost Galleon (known in some countries as either Ghost Ship of the Blind Dead or Horror of the Zombies) is the third film in Spanish director Amando De Ossorio's Blind Dead saga. The original film, TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD, was one of the finest zombie films that Spain has ever produced, only matched with the relatively recent effort REC.
In keeping with the series' tradition, The Ghost Galleon is less a sequel than an outright remake. As was the case with all the sequels, the rules are changed with each film here the Knights Templar are devil worshippers who are condemned to sail the seas for eternity.
None of the films in the Blind Dead series particularly stand out in terms of script quality, but the writing for The Ghost Galleon is noticeably shoddy. One may get past the idea of a platoon of zombies roaming the seas in a derelict ship, but the idea of a salesman sending a pair of models in a speedboat into the Atlantic shipping lanes for a publicity stunt is ridiculous to say the least what is the point of this? The models aren't displaying anything & only have a small boat to stay in. Not to mention the fact that the visual effects shown here are ridiculously unconvincing, with the model galleon shown in wide shots being a toy model, while the coffins being thrown overboard look like small Tic-Tac boxes painted brown & being dropped into a pond.
The characterisations are, for the most part, decidedly mixed. Jack Taylor & the scientist both switch their opinions as soon as they get on board the galleon the scientist at first dismisses the idea but later displays remarkable knowledge of the subject & has some practical skills at exorcism. Taylor, on the other hand, has a staunch disbelief of the supernatural that becomes more absurd the longer things go on even being on the ship, he still doesn't believe it.
Despite the poor writing & shonky effects, The Ghost Galleon does manage to entertain, having a modest atmosphere. The shot of the zombies rising from their coffins to the accompaniment of some chanting is undeniably creepy (although the scene might be undermined by the fact that the chanting does tend to sound hysterically funny, especially during the opening credits).
C´mon people, this film is not that bad as often said! In any case it´s much better than the awful fourth part of the series! Okay, gorehounds surely will be disappointed, because there is only one splatter scene brought on, but director Armando de Ossorio did a good job with creating a wonderful creepy atmosphere with lots of fog, half-dark pictures and middle aged monk chorales. Somehow this film even could be watched as a predecessor to John Carpenter´s classic "The Fog", because both movie are quite similar to each other in view of the mood and the style. If you like the Blind Dead-series you should not miss this one!
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