Amando De Ossorio’s inevitable Blind Dead follow-up takes us back to 13th century Portugal where the Knights Templar have been captured by outraged locals and sentenced to death. “We will return to take our revenge” may have sounded like an empty threat from a condemned man but 500 years later, on the anniversary of that fateful night, dark forces were stirring.
In the cold light of day, the townsfolk of Berzano gleefully prepare for a night of celebration: fireworks, effigies of the knights hanging by the neck and much revelry are on the agenda – a cue for the town idiot to remind us the knights will return when darkness falls.
Before long, the assembled celebrants are compelled to mobilise all forces, with pitchforks, blowtorches and all manner of rustic weaponry coming into play as the Blind Dead attack.
Although De Ossorio fails to re-capture the other-wordly atmosphere of Tombs of the Blind Dead, he does ensure you’ll have great fun witnessing another bout of bloodletting. There’s also some nice moments of humour – witness the scene involving the town’s major, his chief of police and a local tart – though there’s one sequence in particular that will wipe the smile off your face when a terrified young girl is deliberately placed in mortal danger so as to facilitate a getaway for the cowardly mayor. It’s a scene that’s a cast-iron contender for horror’s most disreputable sequences and yes, you may applaud when things don’t go quite according to plan.
With a dose of political corruption thrown into the mix, and a Night of the Living Dead-type siege taking place inside the local church, Return of the Evil Dead makes for good, unwholesome entertainment. Hell, there’s even an Almodovar in the cast so what more could you want?
Anchor Bay UK’s DVD – part of their splendid Blind Dead box set – treats us to a colourful rendition of the Templar’s second outing, offering a discernable improvement on the old Anchor Bay double-bill that can now be found on ebay. Extras are limited to a posters and stills gallery, but the box set does include a fifth disc containing an interview and documentary which will be reviewed elsewhere on this web site.