Night of the Seagulls (1975)

Is there a more striking visual in horror than the Blind Dead, freshly awakened from their centuries of slumber, slowly plodding their way toward their victims? Not for my peseta. Well, they don’t make those any longer. Let me rephrase: not for my euro.

Night of the Seagulls (La Noche de las Gaviotas) is the fourth and final Blind Dead film, a series which began with 1972’s Tombs of the Blind Dead and continued with 1973’s Return of the Blind Dead and 1974’s The Ghost Galleon. Like those films, this was also written and directed by Amando de Ossorio.

Ossorio would lament the fact that these films’ budgets meant the final product could never live up to the vision inside his head. The end of The Ghost Galleon,  where a boat in a bathtub is supposed to be the Knights’ dreaded ship set ablaze, is prime evidence of this.

His iconic Templar Knights would later appear in two other Spanish horror films, Jess Franco’s film Mansion of the Living Dead and Paul Naschy’s The Devil’s Cross. These aren’t official sequels, but homages.

PS – If you catch this movie and think, “I saw a movie called Don’t Go Out at Night, or was that Night of the Death Cult, and that seemed a lot like this one,” you’re not crazy. Those are some of the wild alternate titles for this movie.

Night of the Seagulls shares the same Templars we’ve come to know, love and perhaps fear while not sharing continuity with any of the previous films.

Back in medieval times, we watch a young couple get attacked by the still human Knights Templar, who kills the man and sacrifice one of the women to their unspeakable god.

Centuries later, Doctor Henry Stein and his wife Joan come to the same town, where they’re shunned by the locals. Seriously — Joan can’t even buy apples at the only store in town without some attitude.

The reason why is that it’s Templar season. Yes, every seven years, the Templars rise and demand a virgin sacrifice for seven consecutive nights. Of course these outsiders are going to screw it all up for the town by trying to save one of the girls. Luckily — or unluckily — a village idiot attempts to aid them in their question, but all he’s really good at is being struck and thrown down hillsides.

While not on any of the official video nasty lists, this movie — under the title Don’t Go Out at Night — was listed on Greater Manchester Police’s original list of titles that were worth seizing. It took over a minute worth of cuts to enable this to be released again in 1987, but the Anchor Bay 2005 release was uncut.

Your enjoyment of this film will depend on how much you buy into the Templars, who appear to a haunting theme and then slowly make their way down the beach to expose a virgin and then do away with her. Some people find this movie slow and boring. We’re not in that camp.

Scream Factory has released this on blu ray recently, so you have no excuse not to check it out!

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