Zombie Movie Review: Return of the Evil Dead

(Also posted at http://www.revenantmagazine.com/ )

Vector image for the zombie movie Return of the Blind Dead

Vector image for the zombie movie Return of the Blind Dead

AKA Return of the Blind Dead / El Ataque de los muertos sin ojos

I figure it is about time to watch the 2nd film in the quadrilogy of Blind Dead films before I forget the whole plot of the original. After all I saw the 1st one about 3 months ago, and with my memory that may as well be 3 years.

Although this is the 2nd in the series it is as much of a sequel to ‘Tombs..’ as Evil Dead 2 is to it’s predecessor. i.e. not a sequel at all, but more version 1.5. – Take the ‘zombies’ from the 1st film, keep the setting more-or-less the same but totally ignore everything that happened in the original and just redo everything from scratch using old footage from version 1 where appropriate.

We open with a flashback to the original Templars who are in the process of sacrificing a fair maiden by stripping her, removing and eating her heart, and drinking her ridiculously bright red blood. (which I suspect was stolen from a Hammer Horror film set). This probably doesn’t go down well with the villagers who catch up with these Templars, blind them by fire and burn them alive.

Cut to present day and The Blind Dead zombies\ghosts\mummies are reanimated by the local village dribbly Murdo for some reason or another. Something to do with revenge I think, although for what is unclear. (Maybe he’s annoyed that the villagers always throw rocks at him whenever they see him, who knows?)

Presumably having watched the beginning of the film himself Murdo has found a lady underneath some hay and straps her up, strips her and stabs her in the chest, which he knows will cause the Blind Dead to rise from the grave (using the same footage as the first film). Bizarrely these zombies are still armed with swords, which is surprising considering when they were killed they promised to return for revenge, and if I were threatened by immortal beings the last thing I would do is bury them with all their weapons. Hmm.

From here on in we are treated to the spooky slow-mo zombies chasing and hacking up everyone in the nearby village (who are celebrating the anniversary of the original murder of the Templars, involving possibly the longest firework display in history). Naturally most of the villagers are slaughtered (in slow motion usually) by swords to their guts, but a few do escape and hide away in the church to wait it out, somewhat unsuccessfully. (lesson – if someone in your party gets decapitated sticking his head out an underground passage DO NOT scream in panic and stick your own head out the same hole. Although this is more common sense than learned knowledge to be honest).

Easily the films highlight comes in this church where the Mayor sends out a small 6 year old girl out to the zombies so as to distract them while he tries to escape himself. Sheer genius!

Although there is some reasonable gore here (particularly in the Spanish version) I think the original Tombs of the Blind Dead was spookier and more effective as a horror film. The zombies themselves were creepier, stalking by sound rather than slaying at random and it was generally more suspenseful. However this version does have better effects, characters and budget. Plus I think it has a higher nork count so it depends what you’re after I guess.

Gore Score C+
Norks Score C+
Overall Score C+

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