AKA EL BUQUE MALDITO
AVAILABLE ON DVD
RUNNING TIME: 89 mins
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, official HCF Critic
Lillian, a model, investigates the disappearance of her friend Naomi and discovers that she and another girl, Kathy are in the middle of the ocean on a boat doing a promotion. They encounter a really old ship and soon disappear. Lillian and a couple of colleagues meet a professor who tells them that the missing girls must have encountered the ghost ship that is responsible for a lot of supposed deaths. Against the professor’s wishes, they search for the girls and find the ship, which is inhabited by the Blind Dead….
The third of the Blind Dead quartet, and I used to have this 1975 effort on video many years ago under the title Horror Of The Zombies. I think I only watched it once, which gives you some idea of what I thought of it. In fact I hardly remembered any of it, except that it had some characters wandering a great deal around a ship and there were zombies in a room downstairs. Coupled with the fact that this is generally regarded as by far the worst of the four films, I approached watching this episode with some trepidation.
Well, it is indeed a poor film, though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it in parts, and it’s certainly not a total disaster. It does indeed have a great deal of footage of the main characters wandering around a ship, but what a ship! It’s a really spooky setting, eerily photographed through what looks like a blueish filter [which apparently isn’t on all versions but which I thought added to proceedings immensely] and a pretty convincing set except for some helariously bad model shots [including the worst ship-on-fire scene I’ve ever seen]. Perfect you would think for director Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead, and once again we hear Anton Garcia Abril’s eerie music, but for some reason they don’t come across as being nearly as scary here. Perhaps some of this is due to the ludicrous ways victims-to-be have to trip or crawl or stand there screaming so that the shuffling zombies can catch up with them. There is though a wonderful sequence of them rising out of the sea near the end.
The Blind Dead have a new origin here, which mixes in elements of The Flying Dutchman and even The Mummy. Their leader was a pirate who discovered the secret of eternal life and was doomed to sell the seas with his crew forever. This is quite interesting, as is the idea that the ship exists in a different dimension, but little of this is explored. The film just seems to be content to be as simple as possible and is quite fun on a basic level but could have done a lot more with the premise. Money was clearly tighter than ever on this one and I wouldn’t be surprised if that great set came from another film. Sadly De Ossorio doesn’t seem as interested in proceedings as before and doesn’t really try to compensate for the lack of money with much; he’s just going through the motions. There’s hardly any gore but of course we are subjected to another rape scene which is [of course] totally gratuitious. The general treatment of women in this series isn’t too good.
At times this comes across as a tamer remake of the first movie, just with a different setting – it has exactly the same structure for a start, and there’s even a character who has a lesbian flashback near the beginning, only this time you don’t really see anything. Generally The Ghost Galleon is okayish, but only just. Despite saying I would do shorter reviews for the sequels, I’ve still somehow managed to drag this one out to the usual four paragraphs. I guess I’m happier wasting 15 minutes rambling on for about some obscure ’70s horror movie than I am about the latest blockbuster!