Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It Came From Netflix:Return of the Evil Dead

By Eric Polk of

Today, I debut a new segment on DBH entitled It Came From Netflix. The majority of movies I review come from this very wonderful, very inexpensive service so I figured, why not?

I begin with the 1973 film, Return of the Evil Dead. No, not an unofficial sequel to that legendary Bruce Campbell-driven trilogy, but rather the second in the Blind Dead quadrilogy directed by Amando de Ossorio. Sadly, RotED is not a continuation of the original Euroshock classic, only a separate story.

The film opens with a flashback to 13th century Portugal. A peasant mob has captured the Templar knight and is preparing to burn them for witchcraft and murder. One of the captured knights swears revenge on the village. The villagers burn the knights eyes out with torches before burning them to death. It's ahead to the present where the village prepares for a festival celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the defeat of the Templars. The village idiot, Murdo, watches the preparations until being attacked and stoned by a pack of children. The children are run off by lovers Moncha and Juan.

Back in the town square, firework technician and former military captain, Jack Marlowe, meets the mayor, Duncan, his assistant, Dacosta, and his fiancee/ secretary, Vivian. It is revealed that Jack and Vivian have personal history, establishing a tension between the four characters. Jack and Vivian take a walk, where she reveals that she purposely hired Jack to rekindle their romance. Their walk takes them to the abbey graveyard where the Templars are buried. Their romantic interlude is interrupted by peeping Murdo, who proceeds to warn them of the Templars’ impending return. After Jack and Vivian depart, Murdo murders a young townswoman that he has kidnapped as a blood sacrifice.

As the festival is in full swing the Templars, awakened by Murdo’s sacrifice, rise. At the festival Jack convinces Vivian to leave with him. Their interactions raise the ire of Duncan and Dacosta, who are a keeping a close eye on the pair.Back at the graveyard, the Templars ride down Murdo (but leave him alive) and head toward town. On their way, they come across Moncha’s house where she is in the midst of a sexual rendezvous with Juan. Juan is killed but Moncha escapes on an undead Templar horse. She stops for help at the rail station, where she persuades Mr. Prades, the rail master, of the danger by revealing her zombie horse. She runs off, as Mr. Prades tries to call the mayor.

The knights descend on the village and the festival turns into a massacre.The survivors begin fortifying the church against the undead siege, but before long, unity begins to erode. After failing once again to convince the governor of their plight, Duncan persuades Beirao to make a break for the car. He is killed in the attempt. Meanwhile, Murdo persuades Moncha to come with him into the tunnels beneath the church to escape. After Beirao’s failed attempt, Duncan tries to escape using Beirao and Amalia’s young daughter as bait. He is killed and the child is left in grave peril among the Templars. Jack and Amalia manage to save her, with Amalia sacrificing her own life in the process.

The ending is, to me, a big f-you. Thanks for watching for 88 minutes, now here's a crappy ending.ARRGH! Other than the ending, the movie is a decent, if not great follow-up to Tombs of the Blind Dead. The tension and gore are in a near-perfect state. The dead knights, of course, are the centerpiece of this scare. The slower they move, they more you're scared. If you watch the dvd, watch in the English subtitles as the Americanized version is severely edited.



Darius Whiteplume said...

I forget if I liked this one better than the first or not. I remember thinking, as you mentioned yesterday, IIRC, how cool an idea the undead horses were.

Eric Polk said...

One glaring flaw I noticed in this film, if they're blind and can only use heartbeats to find their victims, how in the hell were they able to swordfight?

Darius Whiteplume said...

Maybe they are Zatoichi zombies?

Cyberschizoid said...

I quite enjoyed this movie but definately not as good as the first one!
By the way, Dollar Bin Horror, you have been tagged in a new blogger meme!
Have fun with it!

MissSardonicus said...

I've only recently discovered your blog and I really like its whole concept! I look forward to reading more reviews of things that can be found on Netflix- it's a lifesaver for the film fan on a budget.