I originally intended for this to be a review of Curse of the Blind Dead, however the screener I received was a very rough cut. It contained no music, no sound effects, no audio balancing and no VFX. If it were not for the fact that this was both a zombie film and a new entry in the Blind Dead series I would have skipped this. I couldn't in good conscience treat what I saw as something ready for review and so instead I will treat this as a preview. Amando de Ossorio's 1970's series of Italian films are something quite special. Starting off with Tombs of the Blind Dead, we then got Return of the Blind Dead, The Ghost Galleon and finally Night of the Seagulls. While I am not sure how official this new entry is, it still follows many of the rules that the 70's films had.
It is medieval times and a rogue branch of the Knights Templar are planning on sacrificing a baby to a dark entity. They believe the end of the world is coming, and see the sacrifice as the only thing able to stop that from coming to pass. Before they are able to carry out their plan however they get attacked by an angry mob from a nearby village. The knights are blinded and then burned alive. A long time into the future and an unknown apocalypse has decimated the world. A man (Aaron Stielstra - Age of the Dead) and his heavily pregnant daughter are braving the hostile wasteland in order to reach a thriving settlement they heard about on the radio. However before they reach their destination they are attacked by bandits. They end up saved by a religious sect and taken to their compound. The joy of their rescue is short lived as the sect intend to sacrifice the girl's unborn child to the same entity those Templar's tired to all those hundreds and hundreds of years ago. To facilitate this process those same long dead Knights have risen. They are the blind dead, and they will stop at nothing to achieve their masters goal...
First off, despite my hopes, this was so uncompleted that it became hard to follow at times. I thought inserting these zombies into the apocalypse was a great idea. Undead and the apocalypse are natural bed-fellows, but the blind dead are not your typical modern day walking corpses. The blind dead have always looked medieval. They set themselves apart by wielding swords, riding on horseback, wearing medieval hooded robes, and of course being blind. Also, among their weaknesses is sunlight. The original series had them frozen in place when daylight appears, here they evaporate into nothingness. Not a spoiler if you are familiar with the originals as they may be gone, but it is only ever a temporary thing. What was really great about this version of the dead is that they have a supernatural element that makes them near indestructible.
Much of the film takes place in the cult's compound which to all intents and purposes looks like a medieval monastery. There are neat little touches that give a nice jarring contrast with this basic look. The walls of the dusty jail-cells are adorned with modern graffiti, instead of flaming torches lighting up the darkness you instead have flaming tin cans, and instead of a huge wooden door barring the exit you instead have a padlocked metal one. I loved this look, merging the past and future together. The special effects that were included here looked good even at this unfinished stage. Throats are slit, intestines pulled out of victims, even a spine at one point is ripped out of someone, and there was a nice part when someones head is ripped in half via the jaw. Even at this stage this all looked cool, I can only imagine how much better it would be when it is finished. The story is pretty basic, though I was pleased to see what appears to be the end of the movie is actually just the end of the second act. This story was often hard to follow as the sound hadn't been finished, meaning characters speaking in the background of scenes couldn't be heard, and sometimes there was noise that obstructed what characters were saying.
I can't say for sure if Curse of the Blind Dead is a great film or not, but even at such a rough stage I enjoyed once again getting to see this special type of undead. I found the mix of the time periods to work out really well. This is due to be released later this year by High Fliers Films, so time will tell if it is as enjoyable as the rough cut I got to see.