Return of the Evil Dead – Spain, 1973

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Return of the Evil Dead is a 1973 Spanish horror feature film written and directed by Amando de Ossorio (The Sea Serpent; Demon Witch Child; The Night of the SorcerersThe Loreley’s Grasp).

The film’s original title is El Ataque de los Muertos Sin Ojos (translation: “Attack of the Blind Dead”). It has no connection with Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead universe. It is the second entry in the Blind Dead series. As in the other three films, Amando de Ossorio also designed the Templar make-up and composer Anton Garcia Gabril scored it.

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Ossorio characterized the financing and production of the film as, “very difficult… Very complicated,” and claimed never to have been paid for the movie.

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Ossorio also described the film as having “political aspects” evidenced by the mayor (Fernando Sancho) who tries to abandon the town and save himself when the Templars attack.

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Interestingly, Ossorio also maintained that his creations were mummies, not zombies, furthermore telling Fandom’s Film Gallery that their slow motion movements were down to a “displacement in the relationship [between] time/space.”

 

There are multiple versions of the film. The uncut Spanish language version, El Ataque de los Muertos Sin Ojos, runs over 4 minutes longer than the international English-language cut, Return of the Evil Dead, and contains longer, more explicit gore sequences. Movie-Censorship.com have compared versions.

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In the United States, distributors Beyond International Pictures (possibly Hallmark Releasing Corp, using a pseudonym) tacked on a prologue and retitled the film Revenge from Planet Ape in order to exploit the success of the Planet of the Apes series, despite there being no connection whatsoever! As ad mats posted online by the scene from screen 13 attest (see below), this curious scam was still being perpetuated as late as 1977.

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13th century Bouzano, Portugal. A peasant mob has captured the Templar knights and is preparing to burn them for witchcraft and murder. One of the captured knights swears revenge on the village. The villagers burn the knight’s eyes out with torches before burning them to death.

Present day: The village is preparing for a festival celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the defeat of the Templars. The village idiot, Murdo, watches the preparations until being attacked and stoned by a pack of children. The children are run off by Moncha and Juan, romantically involved locals.

Their couple’s interlude is interrupted by peeping Murdo, who proceeds to warn them of the Templars’ impending return. Murdo then murders a young townswoman that he has kidnapped as a blood sacrifice. As the festival is in full swing the Templars, awakened by Murdo’s sacrifice, rise…

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Reviews:

“If you thought the Knights looked awesome on horses in Tombs of the Blind Dead, they spend the majority of this  film on horseback hacking and slashing at the townsfolk and boxing people into traps. The Blind Dead, overall, don’t look much different but act much more robustly. They invade homes. They smash in windows. They cavort and gallop.” The Zed Word

“Anton Garcia Abril’s monumentally macabre score is back with some minor additions. It’s effectiveness is slightly subdued by the onslaught of action-oriented horror, but it’s still one of the genres best scores, as under-appreciated as it is. The lighter cues complement the brooding, unforgettably terrifying main Templar theme.” Cool Ass Cinema

“Thankfully, this bigger production is more action packed, entertaining and just plain goofy than its predecessor.” Glenn Kay, Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide

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“Though Return lacks the charming simplicity of the first Blind Dead film, it does sustain a more gradual building of tension more successfully than Tombs (which only presented periodic attacks in isolation from each other).” Peter Dendle, The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia

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“The film lacked some of the verve of its predecessor, but was nevertheless a decent shocker.” David Flint, Zombie Holocaust: How the Living Dead Devoured Pop Culture

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” …enhanced by a judicious use of shock cuts, as in the lengthy escape scene taken by the village idiot and a young woman through an underground passage, only to find the zombies waiting for them at the other end.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

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Cast and characters:

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Filming locations:

Plaza de la Iglesia, located in the pueblo of El Vellon, Madrid, Spain

Offline reading:

Knights of Terror (this 40 page booklet is also contained in the Blue Underground Blind Dead DVD Collection)

Wikipedia | Image credits: Cool Ass Cinema

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Categories: 1970s, mummy, Spanish, zombie

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