Every Seven Years

[Sound of crabs eating a chopped up body]

– Crabs

I’ve got to be honest – I really have no idea what’s happening in Night of the Sea Gulls (1975) because I decided to learn Latin instead of Spanish. You’d think Latin, being a root language, would help with the translation, but – well, I didn’t really pay attention in Latin class either. So, no dice. Really, that goes for all of the Blind Dead movies, because the only versions of them I’ve seen are in Spanish with Italian subtitles. Sure, I could seek out the versions subtitled in English, but watching them this way is honestly more fun; it reminds me of the first time I saw them, in a cramped college apartment, late on a Halloween night after work with half a dozen other people, none of whom could speak Spanish either. With some things, it’s the context.

All that aside, what we have here is a classic folk horror film: we get some clearly out of place townies wandering into a dilapidated village at the base of a site of ancient sacrifice in order to start new lives – check. The villagers are sacrificing people to the restless corpses living in said site every seven years – check. Things proceed from there, as the aforementioned townies run afoul of both the villagers and the blind dead. We get some nice slow motion shots of the zombie templars rising from their tombs and riding out to claim their sacrifices.

Director Amando de Ossorio does a good job in evoking a sense of place with this one. The previous films in the series were exploitation fodder, built on oddball scenes – who can forget the sight of a band of undead templars hijacking a train, for instance? – but this one is developed at a slower pace, with more attention paid to the village and the characters who inhabit it. I might not have understood what people were saying, but I knew where they were coming from nonetheless.

I really enjoy the Blind Dead series, and while I think the first one is the best of the lot – seriously, zombies hijack a train, it’s great – Night of the Sea Gulls is as good a way to close out the series as any.

Oh, and if you’d like to check out my homage to the series, “The Riders of St. George”, you can find it in the second volume of The Casefiles of the Royal Occultist, Hochmuller’s Hound.