‘The Ghost Galleon’ (1974) is the third movie in Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead series and almost stands up to the previous entries. I reviewed the first movie, ‘Tombs of the Blind Dead’ last May (read that review here) and so was glad to have the opportunity to watch this third installment.
In ‘Horror of the Zombies’ (as this movie is called on various public domain DVD’s) the basic story is a publicity stunt lands two bikini clad models out in the middle of the ocean “stranded” in a boat. The thought is that they would be found by another ship and the rescuing would make headlines. But instead of being found by someone capable of starting this mediafire they are stumbled upon by an ancient galleon carrying the undead Knights Templar. After being struck by the galleon and surrounded by an impenetrable fog the ladies make their way on board this seemingly empty ship in order to try to get some answers.
After the duo is not heard from for quite some time, their employers and friends go out in search of them using their last known coordinates as a guide. They find favorable waters and no boat nor galleon, that is until a strange fog starts to encroach upon them. The rest of the story pretty much tells itself.
Like the first Blind Dead movie, the undead in ‘The Ghost Galleon’ are probably some of the most amazing looking zombies around, albeit as slow as frozen molasses when it comes to their movement speed. When they are onscreen Amando does something that only works in a few films…there is no danger music, no sound at all except from what you see on screen. Dead silence interrupted by floor boards creaking, screams and groans, footfalls shuffling and nothing else. There are definitely some eerie scenes in this movie because of it and I loved every one of them, they are what make the movie.
But for its pro’s, it has some con’s too. For one it’s dubbed (at least the version that I watched). As filmed, ‘The Ghost Galleon’ is a Spanish film and so it is dubbed in English, and some of the female voices used are a bit too masculine to match the women on screen. Also there are more than a few scenes that have a good amount of overacting.
The biggest con is a strong point for me for why I like this film but one that I think the majority of horror fans won’t get into. The buildup is slow as is the pace. It’s 33 minutes into the film before you catch a glimpse of the first undead and it takes an additional 2 or 3 minutes before he manages to drag his slow moving carcass out of his coffin and get moving. I enjoy that style of cinematography, where the action and gore is not a strongpoint but replaced with tension and creepiness (not that I don’t enjoy a good dismemberment either, don’t get me wrong). One scene where the Knights are attacking Barbara Rey’s character takes way too many minutes for what little it contains, which is that the Knights drag her down into the bowels of the ship. It ‘feels’ like ten minutes for something so simple when there are five Knights all working together and what a normal zombie would have had finished in thirty seconds. You either enjoy that type of scene or not and this movie has a lot of them.
Blanca Estrada probably gives the best performance here as Kathy, one of the two missing models, as well as Carlos Lemos, a Professor who’s interested in the mysterious galleon and its legend. With no main star to speak of, each character has to hold its own and most fail at it.
In the end this movie does not compare all that well to ‘Tombs of the Blind Dead’ and if it had come out first, I probably would not have rushed to see the others. However, riding on the coattails of the previous films and containing the awesome undead Knights Templar, silly plot or no silly plot, this movie garners at least a single viewing. It is embedded below for those willing.