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Review: Curse of the Blind Dead (2020)

Growing up, one of my favourite things to watch was any of Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead films. Given their reputation and following, it’s always surprised me that there hasn’t been an attempt to reboot the franchise. So when I heard about Curse of the Blind Dead I was interested, even if it was directed by Raffaele Picchio, whose previous film about the walking dead was the abysmal Morituris.

In the 14th century, the Knights Templar are interrupted in mid ritual by some pissed off villagers. Despite the fact they were a military order, none of them have their swords with them so they are easily taken, blinded and burned at the stake. Though not before vowing vengeance.

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Flash forward until after Armageddon. Michael (Aaron Stielstra, Landing Lake, Anger of the Dead) and his very pregnant daughter Lily (Alice Zanini) are saved from a group of bandits by members of a religious sect run by Kain (Micky Ray Martin) and Abel (Bill Hutchens, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)). However, it’s a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. They want to recreate the ritual the Templars were performing, And they’ll need Lily’s unborn child for that.

Curse of the Blind Dead sadly doesn’t live up to the originals. The Templars themselves look very different, and the new look isn’t an improvement. Their creepy slow-motion ride on skeletal horses is reduced to a few seconds here. Worst of all, there is none of the atmosphere the originals excelled in.

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Instead, Piccio gives us loads of gore wrapped around an almost non-existent plot. Ossorio’s films were certainly bloody for their time, but there was a story and characters you liked. Here all we get is a gory setup, a bit of dialogue and then a long bloody rampage. That might have worked if we cared about the cast. But since most of them are members of the cult responsible for summoning the cannibal corpses, I didn’t care.

One thing I can say for Curse of the Blind Dead, he gore is relatively well done. From the eyeless Templars at the film’s beginning to assorted stabbings, disembowellings and a spine being ripped out. The only scene that really had any effect on me though was Michael having to cut off his own thumb to get out of a manacle.

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And if you’re expecting anything resembling High Octane’s poster, forget it. Curse of the Blind Dead is set after the apocalypse, but it really plays no part in the plot. The exteriors are almost entirely shot in a forest. The bulk of the film is set in what looks like a giant basement or underground storage area.

Curse of the Blind Dead has been released in Germany on Blu-ray and DVD. I’ve seen promotional material from High Octane Pictures, (under the title Blind Dead), so a US release is apparently planned at some point. You can look for more information on the film’s Facebook page.

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