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CURSE OF THE BLIND DEAD (2020)
aka THE CURSE OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR
Directed by Raffaele Picchio
Written by Lorenzo Paviano, Raffaele Picchio, Alessandro Testa, Francesco H. Aliberti, (based on short stories by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, based on characters created by Amando de Ossorio)
Starring Aaron Stielstra, Alice Zanini, Francesca Pellegrini, Bill Hutchens, Fabio Testi, David White, Jennifer Mischiati, Douglas Dean, Micky Ray Martin, Francesco H. Aliberti, Sean James Sutton, Gloria D’Osvaldo, Giulia Anna Nacca Kapelanczyk, Yoon C. Joyce
Find out more about this film here!
I can’t say I’m completely familiar with Amando de Ossorio’s BLIND DEAD series from the seventies. I know the imagery and have maybe seen one or two of them. I just recently re-watched TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD and will be reviewing that one soon, so at least I have that one in my mind to compare it to this new chapter.
CURSE OF THE BLIND DEAD seems to be occurring within the same universe as the BLIND DEAD series. There are still Templar knights rising from the grave to take on the living. While they don’t worship Satan as the knights did in the original, this sect seem to worship some kind of other worldly god not unlike that Cthulhu who is so trendy these days. CURSE begins with a retelling of the templar knights’ death which included blinding them just before burning them at the stake. But the big difference is the leap in time as after a very Zack Snyder DAWN OF THE DEAD credits sequence, we find out that the story takes place in the post-Apocalypse as a father named Michael (the very Chris Meloni-esque Aaron Stielstra) and his pregnant daughter Lily (Alice Zanini) are making their way across a barren wooded landscape to try to find a safe haven to live. They run into a seemingly kind religious community lead by zealot Abel (Bill Hutchens) who sports a wicked-awesome beard and worships the undead templar knights by sacrificing unborn babies.
CURSE OF THE BLIND DEAD isn’t a horrible movie. The actors seem convicted and perform well, though there really isn’t a huge standout aside from Bill Hutchens beard. And there appears to be some production value put into the film as the flame and eclipse effects are better than average. The practical effects are better than average and the knights look decently blind, dead, and rotting. The main problem with this film is that it seems extremely uninspired. The post apocalypse of all kinds has been explored in THE WALKING DEAD, so there really doesn’t seem to be much new to see that we haven’t seen before and done better in that overwrought TV series. So even though the acting is better than average, the story propelling them isn’t.
What I think is missing from CURSE OF THE BLIND DEAD is the simple awesomeness of what the original BLIND DEAD had in spades. It was schlocky guys in masks, capes, and tiny puppet skeleton hands slowly advancing towards their victims. Yes, it was all kinds of goofy to see these screaming, half-naked women stumbling for their lives to get away from the Blind Dead who hunted by sound, but it through the schlock, there was a certain charm that those old chillers had that this one lacks because they overcomplicated the plot of survivalist horror tropes. The awesome concept that the Blind Dead hunt by sound is completely dropped, which I think is one of the series creepier aspects. Once the carnage starts, the slo-mo shots of the Blind Dead on horseback pursuing the survivors gets the tone a little more align with the originals.
I think had the filmmakers offered up less story and simply gave us a small-scoped flick that wasn’t set during the apocalypse, CURSE OF THE BLIND DEAD would have fared better. Without the schlocky sheen of the originals, it’s just another episode of THE WALKING DEAD. There is some decent gore to be had with this one as the dead rip and slice through villagers, and the acting works most of the time. But sometimes less is more and it felt like that was the case here.