Curse of the Blind Dead (2020) poster

Curse of the Blind Dead (2020)

Rating:


Italy. 2020.

Crew

Director – Raffaele Picchio, Screenplay – Lorenzo Paviano & Raffaele Picchio, Producers – Francesco H. Aliberti, Photography – Alberto Viavatenne, Music – Andrea C. Pinna, Visual Effects Supervisor – Luca Boni, Special Effects – Makinarium (Supervisor – Carlo Diamantini), Makeup Effects – Carlo Diamantini, Production Design – Luciano Mancini. Production Company – Mafarka Film.

Cast

Alice Zanini (Lily), Nick Stielstra (Michael), Francesca Pellegrini (Lynn), Bill Hutchens (Abel), Micky Ray Martin (Kain), Douglas Dean (Grand Master), Jennifer Mischiati (Karen), David White (Paradise Man), Gloria Dosvaldo (Women Prologue), Giulia Kapelanczyk (Paradise Girl)


Plot

In the 12th Century, a group of Knights Templar are found by villagers as they prepare to conduct a ritual involving a pregnant woman. For this, the Templars are blinded with heated irons and then burned at the stake. It is now in the near future as society has started to collapse. Michael and his pregnant daughter Lily travel on foot through the countryside in search of the refuge called Paradise. They are attacked by marauders but are saved by men from a nearby religious community. The monks grant the two of them shelter and the leader Abel makes an offer for them to stay. However, when Michael says they want to continue on, they are drugged and chained up in the dungeons. Abel takes the child from an imprisoned pregnant woman and hands it to the zombies of the Knights Templar. As Michael makes an escape, the Knights Templar zombies come slaughtering everybody.


The Blind Dead, which were the zombies of Knights Templar, appeared in a series of horror films from Spanish director Amando de Ossario during the 1970s. The first of these was Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971), one of the first Zombie Films to come out influenced by George Romero and Night of the Living Dead (1968). The popularity of this saw de Ossario go on to make a series of sequels, most of which hide under a host of different alternate titles. These consist of Attack of the Blind Dead/Return of the Blind Dead/Return of the Evil Dead (1973), Horror of the Zombies/Ghosts Ships of the Blind Dead (1974) and Night of the Seagulls (1975).

This is a revival of the Blind Dead franchise made by Italian filmmakers (although the film itself is shot in English). It is a surprise in this era filled with remakes and spurious sequels to the works of George Romero that nobody has thought of resurrecting the Blind Dead series before. Unfortunately, Curse of the Blind Dead takes an idea that is filled with exciting possibilities and promptly squanders it. There is an opening prologue where the Templars are blinded with heated brands and then burned at the stake by villagers. This does a perfectly acceptable job of creating a Blind Dead origin story. However, it is not until 40 minutes into the film – nearly half the film’s running time – before we actually get to see any Blind Dead.

Blind Knights Templar zombies in Curse of the Blind Dead (2020)
Blind Knights Templar zombies

Much of the first half of the film is taken up by something else altogether. I say ‘something else’ because there does not feel enough to be able to call it a story. The modern day scenes feature father and daughter Nick Stielstra and Alice Zanini as they journey through the woods, are attacked by bandits and then saved and taken to a religious order that lives in what looks like the ruins of a mediaeval monastery. Throughout these scenes, you are constantly trying to grasp what the situation is and why people are doing things – who the strange religious order is, why Stilestra and Zanini are on a journey, what has happened to the rest of the world. It is some twenty minutes in before we get to understand that the world is in a state of imminent social collapse (or that such has already happened) – exactly what is not clear.

The Blind Dead almost feel an afterthought to this story that the film wants to tell. Certainly, the latter half of the film has various people being pursued and bloodily slaughtered by the Blind Dead (which now look like Tusken Raiders in black monk’s robes). This is interspersed with scenes where the members of the religious order seem to want to conduct a ritual with pregnant women. Quite what the ritual is meant to do is unclear, although as the ominous fadeout would seem to indicate it has something to do with the Apocalypse/end of the world.

Italian director Raffaele Picchio had previously directed the horror films Morituris (2011), The Blind King (2016) and Mixed Blood (2016), as well as written the script for House of Evil (2017).


Trailer here


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