By Jerome Reuter
The Night Of The Seagulls is the fourth and final installment in Amando De Ossorio’s ‘Blind Dead’ series. In my opinion, it’s to be the second best in the series. Most of the time with franchises such as this, it’s generally the first entry that holds up the best. Such is the case with this one. Tombs Of The Blind Dead is arguably one of the greatest Spanish horror films of all time, and the sequels tried to carry on with what it started., The Night Of The Seagulls, released in 1975 is a huge step up from the third entry released the previous year, Ghost Galleon. See that 2015 mark 40 years since the Templars made an appearance on screen; it’s time to take a look back at this one.
De Ossorio sets this tale in a primitive coastal town. A young doctor and his wife have arrived to take up residency. This sets up the ultimate clash of cultures. The modern world of science goes head on against the world of superstition. Which is one of the many things that makes these films so enduring, their ability to play upon folklore, superstitions, and adapt them to celluloid. The mythology surrounding the Knights Templar has taken on a life of its’ own, even centuries after the order was eradicated. Stories of devil worship, sacrifice, and corruption still linger today. In a way, they make the perfect villains. There’s no better way to say it; their reputation precedes them.
Once again, it’s the design of the Templars, and the atmosphere that carry this film. The skeletal horsemen move slowly and much like a ghost would. Whenever they appear, an eerie Gregorian chant accompanies them. In this day and age, many filmmakers could take lessons from De Ossorio’s unique blend of fear and atmosphere. Much like in Tombs Of The Blind Dead, it’s the pacing that makes this film memorable.
Back to the clash of cultures; the modern, and the primitive. Virgins are sacrificed by the townspeople to appease the bloodlust of the Templars. The Doctor and his wife, unfamiliar with local customs attempt to intervene. I think that’s what this films, as well as ‘Tombs’ serve as a commentary on. They show us the constant clash between old traditions, and new.
The ‘Blind Dead’ films are one of a kind. They’re a time capsule, and reflect an interesting aspect of European folklore. Since then, very few films have been able to match the atmospheric highs of Amando De Ossorio’s magnum opus.